By DEBORAH ARTHURS
God bless her and all who sail in her! The Queen visits the Gloriana, the first royal barge to be built in 100 years, at Greenland Pier in East London
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh today braved heavy rain and driving winds to name a spectacular barge built to mark the Jubilee.
The royal couple travelled to the East London dock where Gloriana is currently moored, awaiting the moment when it will make its way to Wandsworth Bridge on the Thames from where it will lead the Jubilee pageant on 3 June.
Dressed in a bright red coat and hat that cut a swathe through the morning's gloom, the monarch descended a gangway at Greenland Pier on the Thames in London's Docklands before boarding the Gloriana. Although the Queen was warmly dressed in her deep red coat and hat, the Duke was bare headed - and seemed conscious of the weather.
Special commission: The Gloriana, a 88ft handbuilt rowbarge, is to lead the procession from Wandsworth to Tower Bridge, powered by 18 oarsmen
At one point he could be heard advising the Queen to keep under cover after she had been to inspect the stern of the boat, which bears royal symbols and the vessel’s name. Lord Sterling, who organised public celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, and is behind the project, thanked them for attending.
'It’s very much appreciated, in this inclement weather, that you have troubled to come,' he said.
He told reporters: 'The barge is looking very special. It will be a lasting legacy of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.'
Majestic: The Queen seemed pleased with the craft, which was designed to resemble vessels in Canaletto's famous painting of an 18th century river pageant on the Thames
The 94-foot vessel, decorated with gold leaf and ornately carved, harks back 200 years to when kings and queens travelled by water in opulent style.
The design, inspired by the boats from Canaletto's famous 18th Century painting of a Thames pageant, incorporates sweet chestnut wood taken from the Duchy of Cornwall estate.
The million-pound rowbarge, painstakingly hand built over four years by 60 craftsmen, will be one of the star attractions in this summer’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 4 June, and will lead a 1,000-strong flotilla of boats with the Queen and the Duke travelling at its heart.
The first royal barge to be built in 100 years, Gloriana will be powered on the day by 18 oarsmen, including Britain's greatest Olympian, Steve Redgrave.
Maiden voyage: The boat passed through Richmond as it took to the water for the first time on 19 April
Test run: The royal barge was rowed along the river Thames last week in a test voyage ahead of its role in June's pageant
Later, the Queen paid a visit to Greenwich, where she formally reopened the Cutty Sark, five years after it was devastated by fire.
After surviving the roughest seas and the devastating blaze, the 'spectacular' Cutty Sark was unveiled by the Queen after a £50 million restoration project.
The world's last remaining tea clipper has been restored to her heyday when she carried goods from around the globe back to England.
It has been 55 years since the Queen first opened the maritime attraction to the public, and today she returned to repeat the ceremony - but in a dramatic new setting.
Richard Doughty, director of the Cutty Sark Trust, described the vessel as 'spectacular' and said:
'We have a ship fit for the Queen and we're very proud Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh have come to open the site.
Reopening the famous vessel: Hundreds of spectators braved the rain turned up to see the Queen and Prince Philip unveil the restoration of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich today
'Fifty-five years on from when she first came, it's a very different experience, offering a light environment in the Cutty Sark's new elevated position.'
The director said the wealth of positive public feeling towards the clipper was overwhelming when residents were given a free tour of the vessel at the weekend - 'people have invested love in this ship to put it back together again', he said.
The clipper is now displayed in a stunning setting, lifted more than 11ft (3.4m) above its dry berth in Greenwich, south east London, and is once again a major landmark passed by runners who took part in Sunday's marathon.
The space under the three-masted vessel is home to an interactive museum where visitors can learn about its history.
Stunning: The Cutty Sark has a dramatic new setting, raised high above its dry dock, with a new visitors' museum underneath
Prince Philip has a long association with the ship, co-founding the Cutty Sark Society in 1951 to safeguard the vessel.
He came to Greenwich soon after the fire to assess the damage for himself and Mr Doughty said that the Duke had given up his association with a number of bodies when he turned 90 last year but maintained his relationship with the society, now a trust.
'That shows the depth of commitment he has for this ship he helped to save,' he said.
The director added that Philip had given staff valuable advice fromlessons he had learned after the devastating fire at Windsor Castle in 1992.
Queen Elizabeth II with the Queen Mother during a visit to the National Maritime Museum in 1937, as a treat shortly after her 11th birthday
He said: 'He gave us moral support and some very practical advice in terms of how to get the best from consultants and contractors and other sorts of challenges we might encounter.'
The Queen also unveiled a plaque to mark Greenwich becoming a royal borough, an honour bestowed to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
The monarch and Philip arrived just as driving rain that had lashed the ship and the hundreds of well-wishers began to stop.
The royal couple took their place on a dais and listened to an orchestral and choral suite commissioned by Greenwich to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and composed by Errollyn Wallen.