Giant Royal Family photo greets Jubilee flotilla
A boat passes a giant image hanging from a building on the south bank of the River Thames in London showing Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Family -- Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Earl Mountbatten, Prince Phillip, Mark Phillips and Princess Anne -- standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Queen's 1977 Silver Jubilee. (AP)
The Royal Family doesn't get much bigger than this.
A giant -- 100 metres by 70 metres -- canvas with a 35-year-old photograph of the Royal Family was unveiled Friday morning on the River Thames, a not-so-subtle reminder of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations taking place June 3 on London's famed waterway.
The image shows the Royal Family, from the 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations, covers the front of Sea Containers, a former office building that is now being converted into a luxury hotel.
It took eight workers 45 hours to piece together the photograph, which weighs two tonnes, according to the hotel developer. (To get an idea of the size, it's as long as a CFL football field and about 10 metres wider).
The mammoth canvas serves the dual purpose of hiding the hotel construction and decorating the route of the thousand-boat flotilla which will sail on the Thames to mark Queen's Elizabeth's 60 years on the throne.
The photo shows the Queen while Prince Philip; their sons Charles, Edward and Andrew, daughter Anne with then-husband Mark Phillips, and Earl Mountbatten (Philip's uncle, who was killed by the IRA in 1979). The photographer is unknown.
"When this Silver Jubilee photo was taken 35 years ago, the South Bank was an unvisited stretch of the Thames -- not the centre of business, tourism and culture that it is today," said Jonathan Ofer, managing director of The Deerbrook Group, which manages assets for the hotel owner.
The Thames River Pageant will cover 11 kilometres and pass under 14 bridges, including London Bridge. The last time there was a Diamond Jubilee -- Queen Victoria's in 1897 -- there was one one bridge crossing the Thames. The Royal Family will be riding the route on the Gloriana.