By NICK ENOCH
Tower Bridge has gone red, white and blue in preparation for its starring role in the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics
Tower Bridge has gone red, white and blue in preparation for its starring role in the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
A new system using 3,800 LED lights was tested this week, allowing the bridge to gleam 'diamond white' for the weekend — at no cost to the taxpayer after a deal was struck between Mayor Boris Johnson, the City of London Corporation and London 2012 sponsors EDF and GE.
It will form the backdrop to Sunday’s pageant on the Thames, with the Queen reviewing 1,000 boats from the deck of the royal barge as it is berthed at HMS President, the Royal Navy’s riverside base in the capital.
A new system using 3,800 LED lights was tested this week, allowing the bridge to gleam 'diamond white' for the weekend
In preparation for the summer of celebration which will see both the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic games the iconic landmark was given a makeover and a spruce up worthy of being paraded in front of the eyes of the world.
The first test will be the Royal Jubilee Pageant on Sunday which will see the Queen and six senior members of the royal family travel down the Thames on the royal barge.
They will be accompanied by a flotilla of vessles of all shapes and sizes.
The pageant will conclude with a flypast of nine Navy helicopters in a diamond formation, led by a Second World War Swordfish biplane.
The display comes at no cost to the taxpayer after a deal was struck between Mayor Boris Johnson, the City of London Corporation and London 2012 sponsors EDF and GE
The bridge is set to shine like never before during the celebratory summer of 2012
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The helicopters — Sea Kings, Lynx and Merlins — will fly two rotor spans apart at a height of 700ft.
Flypast director Lt-Cdr Barney Wainwright said: 'The pilot will be concentrating very carefully on his formation position. The pilots were briefed only last week by the admiral not to be distracted.'
Tower Bridge swung open today as ships old and new took to the Thames ahead of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee river pageant this weekend.
A small flotilla of vessels representing the Royal Navy's Royal Barge Honour Guard - including specialist armed police in speedboats - passed under the raised bridge as sailors from HMS Hurworth looked on.
British artists: Farmers Tom and Ivor Robinson spray the Union flag on to a fluffy lamb using a stencil
Meanwhile across the country, Jubilee fever has taken hold, with Woburn Safari Park celebrating with bunting, Union flags and even tea parties for its animals.
At a Darlington dog rehoming centre, a litter of puppies were given royal names to mark the occasion.
One enterprising farmer got his lambs involved by spray-painting them with the national flag. Back in London, HMS Hurworth acted the part of the Royal Barge but it will all look quite different on Sunday.
Also on the water was the Phoenicia - a replica of a 600BC trading vessel - which sailed through on its return from Sardinia.
Skippered by British adventurer Philip Beale, it was built in 2008 in the style of an ancient trading ship believed to have achieved the first circumnavigation of Africa.
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Mr Beale's ship - which has also just completed a voyage tracing the Phoenician-Cornish tin trade route - is due to become a floating museum at nearby St Katharine's Dock.
On the day, ten naval vessels will surround the Queen's Barge, while almost a thousand other boats will take part in the procession.
Security for the pageant will be extremely tight, with Scotland Yard saying it is the biggest ever security operation for the Queen.
Police frogmen will carry out underwater searches while bridges and river banks will be monitored and all the boats taking part will be searched, the Evening Standard reported.
The Phoenicia, skippered by Philip Beale, passes under Tower Bridge
That's mint! A woman puts her hands next to the 60 Crowns coin created to celebrate the Jubilee. The coin is made of 60oz of fine silver and the crown is plated gold set with 60 diamonds
Smiling: Her majesty the Queen as she leaves the Caledonia Club in London after a regimental lunch today. She wore a stylish lavender and mint green outfit