William and Kate will accompany The Queen on the Thames Jubilee pageant
JAMIE WISEMAN/AFP/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth visits the Gloriana, the royal barge in which the queen and other members of the royal family will travel during the diamond jubilee river pageant in June. (April 25, 2012)
William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will be at the Queen's side on her royal barge during the Jubilee pageant on the Thames next month, the Guardian is reporting. The June 3rd pageant is the centrepiece of the Diamon Jubilee festivities, and will feature more than 1,000 boats that will sail some 11 kilometres along the Thames River.
At the head of the procession will be the Queen on her barge, the Spirit of Chartwell (above). The luxury boat was converted for the Jubilee and renamed Gloriana by the Queen on April 25. (We've posted photos on some of the Gloriana's decorations.) The other Royals who will be on the royal barge will be the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry. (It was reported recently that a group of British heroes will also sail on the Gloriana.)
The royal barge will only travel part of the pageant route. The Queen's party will disembark and watch the rest of the procession from on board HMS President, a decommissioned Corvette that now serves as a tourist attraction. (The Guardian has a story today about security for the pageant, which will be a headache.)
Speaking of barges (and tourist attractions), the Telegraph is reporting today that the Thames pageant festivities will include the tender from the Royal Yacht Britannia. The Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 and is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh. According to the Telegraph report, the tender will take the Queen from Chelsea pier to Cadogan pier, where she will board the royal barge.
The Queen was visibly upset during the decommissioning of the Britannia (below), which had served the royal family for more than 40 years. So it's no surprise that the yacht's tender would be involved in the Jubilee celebrations.
To the surprise of almost nobody, Queen Sophia of Spain will not be attending a lunch tomorrow at Windor Castle to mark the jubilee. According to the BBC, King Carlos had already declined the invitation, as Spain's nose is out of joint over Prince Edward's planned visit to Gibraltar next month as part of the jubilee celebrations. (Carlos also recently had hip surgery after a hunting accident in Botswana.)
Spain has long claimed the tiny territory, which has been in British control since 1704. Spain officially ceded the 6.8-square-kilometre region to Britain in 1713, and a 1967 referendum there rejected Spanish sovereignty.
The Spaniards see an official visit by Prince Edward and his wife Sophie as a poke in the eye by the British, akin to Argentina's reaction to Prince William's recent tour of duty in the Falkand Islands.
Spain's royals refused to attend late Princess Diana's 1981 wedding to Prince Charles for similar reasons.
But relations with the British may be the least of the Spanish Royals' worries. Soaring unemployment, national debt downgrades and recent missteps by members of the royal family has many Spaniards wondering about the relevancy of the monarchy.
Things are also complicated for the Spanish royals for other reasons:
The Queen's trip to join in the celebrations may also have looked awkward alongside the complete absence of public celebration in Spain to mark the golden wedding of Sofia and Juan Carlos last week.
The couple are reported to be effectively separated, with Sofia reportedly spending much of her time abroad with her daughters.
Rumours that the king has a German lover have been denied by the woman in question, who has threatened to sue British newspapers who publish her name.