Queen's Diamond Jubilee boat launched
The Gloriana is to take to the waters today as the plans for the Queen's riverboat tour continue.
A 94ft wooden rowbarge, the Gloriana Royal will lead the special river pageant on June 3rd as more than 1,000 boats sail the River Thames in honour of the Queen's 60 years on the throne.
Built in a top secret location in West London, the boat was tested on water for the first time this week and has been designed to look like one of the crafts depicted in Canaletto's painting of an 18th century river pageant on the Thames.
The vessel will sail up the river with a total of 18 oarsman including Olympic rower Sir Steven Redgrave, with the Queen and Prince Philip following behind in The Spirit of Chartwell - a river cruiser that has been re-fitted for the big event.
Lord Sterling has played a key role in the river boat project and told the BBC the idea for the water pageant had been suggested by the Prince of Wales.
He also explained the building of the boat has been subject to a tight time scale in order not to disappoint those planning to watch the maritime spectacular.
"No-one's really built anything like this for 200 years and the way we've built it, it will last for 200 years if looked after," said Lord Sterling.
"This has been a huge project. Something of this type would normally take a year or so to do it but we've done it in far less."
People staying in central London hotels over the Diamond Jubilee weekend will be able to enjoy a number of special events in addition to the boat pageant including a special procession through the city by the Queen on Tuesday June 5th.