More than 1,000 boats are sailing down the River Thames today in a flotilla tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne that organizers are calling the biggest pageant on the river for 350 years. Despite cool, drizzly weather, hundreds of thousands of people lined the riverbanks between Hammersmith and Tower Bridge in London, feting the British monarch whose longevity has given her the status of the nation's favorite grandmother.
The queen and members of her family will lead the river pageant aboard a flower-bedecked royal barge, accompanied by skiffs, barges, narrowboats, motor launches, row boats and sailing vessels from around the world. "We in Britain are experts at not letting the weather spoil our fun," says the pageant master for the flotilla. "The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing `Singin' In The Rain' as they travel down the river, and the crowd can sing along with them."