More than a million spectators braved cold and wet conditions to watch the once-in-a-lifetime spectacle of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee flotilla.
The record-breaking pageant sailed through the heart of the capital where jubilant crowds gathered to acknowledge the Queen’s 60-year reign and celebrate the country’s maritime heritage.
The number of revellers passed the expectations of organisers, who said an estimated 1.25 million people lined the banks of the Thames.
And Guinness World Records hailed the event a world record as 670 verified boats completed the pageant route
The persistent rain left performers in the pageant and the public soaked and bedraggled, but the Queen was greeted by a sea of red, white and blue as she looked out from her royal barge surrounded by her family.
She braved the rain without an umbrella and stood beneath an ornate canopy to review the flotilla from her royal barge.
One skipper of a Dunkirk “little ship”, Ian Gilbert, 61, from Shepperton in Surrey, summed up the mood of the occasion, describing it as unique.
He said: “This isn’t going to happen again in our lifetime. I don’t think anyone will put a show like this on again in our lifetime.
“We’re particularly proud because we had the biggest contingent of any association and I think that shows the importance of these little boats to the country.”
At the heart of the flotilla was the Queen’s royal barge where she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
Around them were other members of the royal family on various vessels and hundreds of tugs, narrowboats, pleasure cruisers, historic vessels, rowing boats and music barges.