Queen celebrates Diamond Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years on the throne for the Queen

Elizabeth II is celebrating 60 years as Queen this Bank Holiday weekend.

While this isn't really a ‘travel' event for British gap year backpackers, it's a big deal for travellers visiting the UK. The Diamond Jubilee represents what will almost certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a monarch reaching 60 years on the throne.

A four-day extravaganza of events is taking place between Saturday 2 and Tuesday 5 June. The celebrations include official Jubilee concerts, picnics and a multitude of public appearances.

At the close of the Jubilee Concert on Monday - which will feature acts such as Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, Elton John, Tom Jones, JLS, Jessie J and Ed Sheeran - more than 4,000 beacons will be lit in the UK and around the world to mark 60 years of the Queen's reign.

For many the highlight of the royal celebrations is expected to be the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a huge procession of more than 1,000 boats on the Thames. The boats will escort the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh aboard a royal barge and float through heart of London.

The Thames Pageant is likely to be spectacular, with musical barges carrying choirs and orchestras included among the thousand vessels. From a fixed viewing point, the floating procession is due to take 75 minutes to pass by.

While the four days of celebrations are expected to be safe for travellers coming to Britain the police are taking no chances. More than 5,500 police officers and 7,000 private stewards are expected to be on duty in London during the Diamond Jubilee.

The royal celebrations are planned to culminate in a carriage procession from Westminster to Buckingham palace on Tuesday. Thousands of well-wishers are expected to pack the Mall to see the royal family pass by.

The Diamond Jubilee is expected to unite millions of Brits across the country in an outpouring of national pride, with hundreds of communities coming together to plan street parties.

Whilst many in the UK do not support the existence of the monarchy, there's no doubt that a positive national mood is building in anticipation of a four-day weekend - especially among those shrewd enough to book off the other three working days this week.

Are you excited by the Diamond Jubilee celebrations? Or are you a staunch Republican and planning to avoid them? And have you been where the Queen's been?

Photo by Pete Souza (Creative Commons)