Byline: Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — The flotilla of boats that sailed down the River Thames June 3 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee set a new world record for the Largest Parade of Boats.
The World Records Academy on June 6 reported that the flotilla of 670 boats, which traveled down the Thames, surpassed the previous Guinness World Record of 327 boats set in Bremerhaven, Germany, last year.
In a colorful salute to Britain’s maritime past, an armada of tugs, pleasurecraft, narrow boats, kayaks, gondolas and dragon boats followed the flower-festooned royal barge with the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, aboard down a 7-mile stretch of London’s river at a stately 4 knots.
Also in the flotilla were more than three dozen “Dunkirk Little Ships,” private boats that rescued thousands of British soldiers from the beaches of France after the German invasion in 1940 — a defeat that became a major victory for wartime morale.
River processions were once common in London. The last comparable royal pageant was held for King Charles II in 1662, when diarist Samuel Pepys recorded boats so numerous he could “see no water.”