More than 1,000 boats sailed down the River Thames on June 3, 2012 a flotilla tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne. organizers are calling it the biggest pageant on the river for 350 years.
And this from 350 years ago an eye witness account from the Diary of Samuel Pepys on the event of King Charles II and his new Queen, Catherine of Braganza's Thames pageant.
Creed and I walked down to the Styll Yard,1 and so all along Thames Street, but could not get a boat: I offered eight shillings for a boat to attend me this afternoon, and they would not, it being the day of the Queen's coming to town from Hampton Court. So we fairly walked it to Whitehall, and through my Lord's lodgings we got into Whitehall garden, and so to the Bowling Green, and up to the top of the new Banqueting House there, over the Thames, which was a most pleasant place as any I could have got; and all the show consisted chiefly in the number of boats and barges; and two pageants, one of a King, and another of a Queen, with her Maids of Honour sitting at her feet very prettily: and they tell me the Queen is Sir Richard Ford's daughter. Anon came the King and Queen in a barge, under a canopy, with 10,000 barges and boats I know, for we could see no water for them, nor discern the King nor Queen.
And so they landed at Whitehall Bridge, and the great guns on the other side went off. But that which pleased me best was that my Lady Castlemaine stood over against us upon a piece of Whitehall. But methought it was strange to see her Lord and her upon the same place walking up and down without taking notice one of another, only at first entry he put off his hat, and she made him a very civil salute, but afterwards took no notice one of another; but both of them now and then would take their child, which the nurse held in her arms, and dandle it. One thing more; there happened a scaffold below to fall, and we feared some hurt, but there was none, but she of all great ladies only ran down among the common rabble to see what hurt was done, and did take care of a child that received some little hurt, which methought was so noble. Anon there came one there booted and spurred, that she talked long with; and by and by, she being in her hair, she put on his hat, which was but an ordinary one, to keep the wind off; but it became her mightily, as everything else do. I went away, not weary with looking on her, and to my Lord's lodgings, where my brother Tom and Dr. Thomas Pepys were
Celebration on the Thames, Antonio Canaletto, Giovanni Antonio Canal (October 28, 1697 – April 19, 1768 better known as Canaletto oil on canvas, circa 1748
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This image is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris), in this case Antonio Canaletto (October 28, 1697 – April 19, 1768), and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from the last day of that year. +sookie tex
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