Thames flotilla will mark UK Queen's jubilee

Thu Jun 2, 2011 7:25am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Queen Elizabeth's 60 years on the British throne will be celebrated next year with four days of events including a flotilla on the River Thames and a concert at Buckingham Palace, royal officials said on Thursday.

The 85-year-old, who last month became the second-longest reigning British monarch in more than 1,000 years, acceded to the throne on the death of her father George VI on February 6, 1952.

She will overtake Queen Victoria, who ruled for much of the 19th century, to become the longest reigning monarch in September 2015.

Festivities to mark the diamond jubilee will begin on Saturday, June 2 when the monarch will attend the Epsom Derby horse race.

The following day will see the "Big Jubilee Lunch" when people will be encouraged to get together with their neighbors and friends to share a meal, possibly at street parties or picnics.

On the same day, up to 1,000 boats will also assemble on the Thames in London for the biggest flotilla seen in modern times with the queen at the head in the royal barge.

Events will continue on Monday and Tuesday which have both been designated as public holidays.

A BBC concert will be staged at Buckingham Palace on June 4, with tickets available through a public ballot, and a network of 2,012 beacons will later be lit across the United Kingdom.

On June 5, there will be a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral with a carriage procession headed by the queen.

Buckingham Palace said they expected other events to take place across Britain and the Commonwealth over the weekend.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison)

<p>Britain's Queen Elizabeth smiles as she walks around the English Market in Cork May 20, 2011. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton</p>