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UK prepares for Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations

BuckinghamPalaceThe UK is currently stepping up preparations for one of the major events of London 2012 - the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The celebrations for the monarch's 60-year reign will centre around the extended weekend of 2-5 June. The Jubilee will be marked by a range of unique events, both official and informal.

The festivities will kick off in mid-May, when Windsor Castle will host three nights of entertainment. Dancers, musicians, military and equestrian displays from around the world will wow visitors to the royal palace, and will whet the appetite for the celebrations in June.

Thames River Pageant

Perhaps the most exciting event during June will be the Thames River Pageant. On Sunday 3 June, over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in tribute to Her Majesty The Queen.

Organisers of the River Pageant expect one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the Thames. From small rowing boats to larger tourist vessels, all boats will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jack Flags, their crews and passengers sporting their Sunday best. There will also be an abundance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other attractions. The flotilla will be bolstered with passenger boats carrying up to 30,000 flag-waving members of the public for this floating celebration of Her Majesty's 60-year reign.

The opening ceremony of London's Olympic Games will be just six weeks away and the public on the riverbanks and bridges will cheer the many boats that have travelled from far and wide to represent UK port cities and Commonwealth countries. Downriver of London Bridge, there will be a gun salute and the flotilla will passes through a spectacular avenue of sails made by traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships.

Street parties and park events

The weekend's official celebrations will be complemented by a wealth of street parties, which will bring neighbours together in all corners of the UK.

Taking their cue from the success of the festivities during the weekend of Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton, organisers have already begun planning more elaborate ways to pay tribute to The Queen. Details of parties in your area are sure to emerge in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for news!

In addition, many of London's parks will host events that will attract thousands of visitors. Battersea Park, for instance, will be transformed into "an immersive world of eccentric British culture", bringing together artists, designers, chefs and bakers on 3 June. Crowds will be entertained by live music, a mock village fete, and even a classic car boot sale!

Jubilee Beacons

Another eye-catching event will be the lighting of the Queen's Jubilee Beacons - a network of over 2012 fires spread across the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth.

The lighting of the beacons, which will take place on 4 June, will spread the excitement beyond the confines of London, and will provide focal points around which revellers can gather to celebrated the monarch's reign.

Service of Thanksgiving

On 5 June, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will attend a national Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral, London. The Royal Family will subsequently embark on a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, where they will make a balcony appearance.

10,000 members of the public will get the opportunity to enjoy the day's events free of charge from seats in place around the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace. The ballot for tickets closes later this week (20 April), so do hurry if you hope to attend!

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee will be marked by festivities around the UK. How will you celebrate the event in June? Let us know on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages!