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ROYAL WAVES: Queen Elizabeth and her family sailed down the Thames on the royal barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, as part of the first major event to kick off the monarch’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. The flotilla in honor of the queen’s 60-year anniversary on the British throne, featuring 1,000 boats, was the biggest royal river spectacle to be staged in 350 years, since the days of King Charles II and his consort, Catherine of Braganza.
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The Queen, dressed in a white dress and matching coat with silver and gold embroidery by Angela Kelly, was all smiles as she arrived on the barge with husband Prince Philip. With her were Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who was wearing a cream Anna Valentine coat and dress and a matching hat by Philip Treacy. Already on the Spirit of Chartwell, braving the drizzle, wind and dark skies, were Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the latter wearing a bright red Alexander McQueen ensemble from 2011, and a matching hat by Sylvia Fletcher from James Lock & Co. Kate Middleton’s family — Michael, Carole, Pippa and James Middleton — also took part in the flotilla on a paddle steamer called the Elizabethan. The seven-mile journey down the Thames attracted crowds in the thousands on bridges and up and down the river banks, whooping and cheering for the Queen and waving Union Jack flags. The event was billed as a highlight of the four-day Diamond Jubilee weekend that will culminate on Tuesday with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and an open carriage procession to Buckingham Palace.