A four-day bank holiday to mark the 60th year of the Queen's reign will include a 1,000-stong flotilla along the River Thames

Photo courtesy of Malcolm Oliver.

A 1,000-strong flotilla will sail along the River Thames in celebration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee next year. The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant, which will take place 3 June 2012, will be one of the main events of a four-day bank holiday weekend marking her 60-year reign.

The Queen will head the fleet, which will include vessels from the UK, Commonwealth and around the world.

This is the first major public event marking the jubilee to be announced. London Mayor Boris Johnson said the pageant would not only provide a “terrific focal point” for the commemorations, but would “demonstrate to the world London’s pride in its heritage and traditions”.

“I cannot conceive of a more fitting celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne than a majestic flotilla of vessels, large and small, winding their way along the iconic River Thames and showcasing our proud maritime history,” he said.

The flotilla is expected to be seven-and-a-half miles long and will feature a mix of private and commercially owned historic and modern boats – ranging from rowing boats and sailing ships to steamers, wooden launches and larger motorised craft. The public will also be invited to take part with their own vessels.