Kids of all ages gear up for patriotic weekend of Jubilee parties in a sea of red, white and blue

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Marylebone, London, children from Hampden Gurney Primary enjoy a Jubilee street party.

Marylebone, London, children from Hampden Gurney Primary enjoy a Jubilee street party.

The Union flags are out in force as patriotic partygoers young and old gear up for a weekend to remember, and there’s little chance a spot of rain will dampen their enthusiasm for the Queen’s Diamond jubilee.
Up to a million people are expected to line the banks of the River Thames and nearby open spaces on Sunday to watch a majestic 1,000-strong flotilla sail through London on Sunday.
Flotilla will include narrow boats, steam boats, rowing boats, barges and around 40 Dunkirk ‘little ships’ that evacuated Allied troops from French beaches in 1940.
Stars like Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John will perform at a concert on Monday.
Almost six million Britons plan to throw a Jubilee party this weekend, according to a study.
Forecasters predict a return of the Royal jubilee and coronation weather ‘curse’ returns with rain of up to two inches of rain.

Blast-off for Jubilee celebrations as 21-gun salute is fired from Royal Navy warship in front of cheering crowds (who aren’t going to be put off by a forecast of weekend rain)

  • 2,000 military personnel carried out a full dress rehearsal at the crack of dawn ahead of Tuesday’s State Procession
  • Bring a brolly as rain is forecast for the Thames River Pageant on Sunday and the State Procession on Tuesday
  • Six million are expected to take to the roads at start of four-day weekend getaway while a further 2million head abroad.

Wet weather forecasts have failed to dampen spirits as the Diamond Jubilee celebrations were today launched in dramatic fashion as the Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond fired a 21-gun salute as it sailed into Portsmouth Harbour.

Hundreds of onlookers waved flags and cheered as the Type 45 destroyer returned to its home base accompanied by a diamond formation flypast of four navy helicopters, two Merlin and two Lynx.

As the warship fired its salvo, the navy saluting gun overlooking the harbour entrance at Fort Blockhouse, Gosport, Hampshire, fired 21 times in return. HMS Diamond was then carefully led into the harbour by two RN patrol vessels – HMS Raider and HMS Blazer. After berthing at Portsmouth Naval Base, a street party was held on the ship’s flight deck for the 190 crew and guests.

HMS Diamond’s commanding officer Commander Ian Clarke said: ‘It is a real honour for HMS Diamond to salute Her Majesty the Queen as she celebrates not only 60 years on the throne but 60 years as head of the armed forces.

‘By happy coincidence, 2012 is an important year for HMS Diamond as we sail for our maiden operational deployment in a couple of weeks’ time.

‘When we came in this morning we had not realised how many people there would be – it was a really emotional moment for us.’

 

GUIDE TO THE FOUR-DAY WEEKEND: THE DIAMOND JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS ITINERARY

What’s on in London this weekend:

  • Saturday, June 2:

1pm: The second day of the Epsom Derby will be attended by Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. Organisers expect more than 200,000 people to attend the horse-racing event. Katherine Jenkins will sing the National Anthem and the Red Arrow will perform an air display.

All afternoon: Hyde Park Jubilee Family Festival will feature food and music for all ages.

  • Sunday, June 3:

11.30am: Start of the Thames Jubilee Pageant as more than 1,000 vessels muster between Hammersmith and Battersea bridges.

2pm: Queen arrives at Chelsea Pier to board the Royal barge

2.40pm: Jubilee bells mark the official start of the pageant.

5.30pm: Last vessel in the pageant, Symphony, passes Tower Bridge

  • Monday, June 4:

7.30pm: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert in front of Buckingham Palace featuring performances by Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Renée Fleming, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Sir Elton John, Grace Jones, Sir Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Sir Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Sir Cliff Richard, Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and Stevie Wonder.

10.30pm: 4,000 beacons will be lit round country with the Queen lighting last one – the national Beacon – followed by Firework display at Buckingham palace.

  • Tuesday, June 5:

9am: The National service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral led by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family.

10.30am: The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are driven from St Paul’s to Mansion House reception.

12.45pm: The Queen attends a Westminster Hall lunch with 700 guests, including Kate and Prince William.

2.20pm: The State Procession begins as the Royal carriage leaves Westminster Hall for Buckingham palace while a 60-gun salute is fired.

2.40pm: The Royal carriage arrives at Buckingham Palace.

3.30pm: Royal Family appears on Palace balcony and watches RAF fly-past and a cascade of rifle fire interspersed by the National Anthem

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