Excitement continued to build in a sweltering London today ahead of the weekend’s Jubilee celebrations, as the Tower Bridge swung open to allow vessels through for a rehearsal of Sunday’s riverboat pageant on the Thames.
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, playing the part of the Royal Barge, looked on.
It was revealed today that policing for the riverboat pageant is set to be the biggest single security operation ever undertaken by London’s Metropolitan Police force.
The Evening Standard is reporting that the boats on the river will be protected by an inner screen of Royal Navy vessels, marines, and specialist armed police in speed boats. More than 13,000 police and security officials will line the Thames. At the centre of the security cordon will be the royal barge carrying the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry. The pageant will represent the first time in history so many senior royals have traveled together in one craft.
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 Royal Navy said 10 vessels, including off-shore raiding craft carrying commandos, will be part of the pageant. The Met is deploying 23 boats and specialist firearms officers.