LONDON, June 3, CMC – Government leaders and diplomats representing Queen Elizabeth’s Commonwealth Caribbean realms, including St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas, joined in Sunday’s celebration of the monarch’s 60-reign in a royal pageant along the River Thames in heart of the British capital.
“A sight to behold,” texted Douglas by mobile phone from aboard the vessel Sarpedon among the 1000-strong flotilla that saluted the queen, accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, their son Prince Charles who is next in line to the throne, and other members of the royal family. The text message was relayed by the prime minister’s press office in Basseterre.
The pageant of vessels drawn from Britain, the Commonwealth and around the world sailed past the queen who was ferried by royal barge to begin the review.
The event, though marred by a persistent downpour and murky grey skies, saw thousands converge on the historic waterway as the iconic Tower Bridge raised its to welcome the flotilla.
St Lucia’s governor general Dame Pearlette Louisy, British Virgin Islands’ premier Dr. Orlando Smith are among Caribbean dignitaries in London to attend the celebrations of Elizabeth’s accession to the throne upon the death of her father, George VI in February 1952. She was anointed queen in a glittering coronation in June 1953, the first globally broadcast event in a 60-year reign unprecedented in public attention and visibility.
The Royal party will walk past a Guard of Honour of Chelsea Pensioners before they board the tender to HMY Britannia. The tender will proceed to Cadogan Pier where the Her Majesty and Their Royal Highneses will board the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell. They will be met on board The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The celebrations continue on Monday with a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace featuring British and Commonwealth musicians.
On Tuesday, Elizabeth will take part in a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral with a formal carriage procession between the church in central London and her residence, Buckingham Palace.
The government of Barbados said it will close public offices early to allow civil servants to join in the celebrations.
Nine of the 16 Commonwealth realms in which Elizabeth the Second is queen, who is represented by a locally appointed governor general, are in the Caribbean. Five other island nations are British dependent territories.