By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Monday June 4, 2012
Jubilee pageant: Rain fails to dampen
It aimed to evoke the extravagant “water triumphs” of yore, a spectacle on the Thames to rival a Canaletto painting.
There was certainly water, too much, in fact, as driving rain drenched the diamond jubilee river pageant, the grandest procession the Thames has borne.
But to the estimated 1 million people crammed along the river’s banks, the 1,000-boat flotilla, with the Queen at its heart, was an undoubted triumph.
The armada was accompanied along the Thames by cheers from damp spectators, swaddled in rainwear and bunched under thickets of umbrellas. It was a very British occasion in all respects.
The 20,000 participants battled wind-whipped waters. Especially valiant were the rowers and kayakers following the Gloriana barge at the head of the £12m flotilla, and the soaked choir who managed a rousing rendition of Rule Britannia at the pageant’s end. The flypast of Royal Navy helicopters in diamond formation, which was supposed to provide a finale, was cancelled.
Aboard the royal barge, the lavishly decorated river cruiser Spirit of Chartwell, the Queen, with a pashmina wrapped around her shoulders and discreet rug to hand, waved at the crowds for an hour and a quarter. She shunned the specially constructed mini-thrones and opted to stand for most of the time.
Her highlight, judging from the beaming smile, was when Joey, the War Horse puppet, reared on the roof of the National theatre as the royals passed.
The Queen disembarked, no doubt with some relief, by Tower Bridge, where, back on terra firma and under a rain canopy, she watched the rest of the flotilla pass by. (Source: The Guardian)