Early this morning, I slipped out of the house and down to the river just a block away to the Cadogan Pier, where overnight the royal barge that would carry the queen and her family had magically appeared. Gloomy and rainy, there was not much promise of seeing the Jubilee flotilla without umbrellas, but stranger things have happened in this city of unpredictable weather.
The police van stationed itself outside our front door, and policemen started checking the undersides of cars for security reasons--I knew this was not an ordinary day.
As I prowled around, I found others who were ready to celebrate
and who were hoping to lower those "brollies" for a better view.
The crowds began to gather along the Chelsea Embankment, and I staked our claim along the river, and soon was joined by friends. The rains paused and we held our breaths, playing games and eating snacks for 3 hours until the parade began.
The balconies behind us were full of party goers, and this group had a "special" guest!
Everyone was holding their breath that the rain had really stopped.
And then with great fanfare and bells, the Jubilee Flotilla began, commencing with the arrival of Gloriana, rowed by 18 oars, both men and women rowing. Built in just 18 weeks, it is a cross between a gondola and Viking longboat,
and has been donated to the queen to be a lasting legacy of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Then rowing boats from every country of the British Commonwealth,
and others full of color (could this be rowers from the Red Hat Society?)
A special tribute with all oars up to the Queen who was soon to follow.
The Royal Squadron came in one by one, led by Princess Anne in uniform on the Trinity House No. 1 Boat followed by
the magnificent Royal Barge carrying the Queen, Prince Phillip, William, Kate, and Harry.
Transformed from a luxury travel barge to a splendid Royal Barge
for the occasion, it was beautifully decked out with flowers from the queen's palaces.
Still no rain, dare we say it, and next comes the Havengore, which once carried the body of Sir Winston Churchill to his funeral, but for this happy occasion transported the Duke of York, Edward, and his two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. Keeping them company was the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and other members of the royal family.
Boats with bands, symphonies, choirs and bagpipes entertained us all through the afternoon.
Boats of all shapes,
and colors floated by,
including this one which turned out to be one of our favorites. Reminded us a little bit of Mardi Gras or the Rose Bowl Parade. SO fun!
And up to the minute that we walked back to the house for refreshments, the rain stayed away. Our luck was in being at the beginning of the flotilla, because as you have probably seen on the news coverage, it poured through the last hours of the parade.
What a classy lady you are Queen Elizabeth--we are enjoying celebrating you, Your Majesty, and amazing at your legacy of 60 years. Reign on, but please not Rain on because we have more celebrations for yet 2 days to come.