UK: Royal Navy Heads Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Parade
Some 2,500 personnel from the three Forces, led by the Royal Navy, paraded and mustered for the Queen at the first of this summer’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. They marched around the historic Berkshire town before forming up in the grounds of Windsor Castle for a drumhead service which concluded with an impressive fly-past.
Sailors from 16 ships and submarines, all Naval bases and establishments, plus five Fleet Air Arm squadrons, Mike Company Royal Marines and the Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth represented the Senior Service – just some of the 2,500 men and women from across the Forces on parade for the Queen.
Proceedings opened with RAF Typhoons flying a ‘diamond nine’ formation over Windsor Castle, before the parade marched through the Castle Quadrangle before the Queen.
Heading through the town, the parade was cheered along by thousands of well-wishers before mustering in a specially-built arena in the grounds of the castle.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh made their way along the parade route in a State Bentley to join them.
Already assembled in the audience were other members of the Royal Family, foreign royals, the heads of three Services, ministers, and more than three thousand Service personnel, their families and veterans.
A drumhead service preceded speeches by the Chief of the Defence Staff and Her Majesty.
“I know I speak for all those who have the privilege to wear her uniform, when I offer my heartfelt thanks to Her Majesty for her dedication to the Armed Forces, and to our country,” Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards told the Queen.
Her Majesty responded by addressing the 2,500 personnel formed up before her:
“It is a tradition of very long standing that the sovereign, and members of the Royal Family, are intimately associated with the armed forces and have been proud to serve in all three services.
“We are very proud of the selfless service, and sacrifices made by Servicemen and women and their families in recent years.
“It is very gratifying to celebrate and take pride in successful achievements, but the real test of character is the ability to maintain morale and a positive spirit in bad times as well as when things are going well.”
As well as a hearty ‘three cheers’ from all personnel assembled, throughout there was the appropriate musical accompaniment from six Forces bands for the event under the charge of Lt Col Nick Grace – Principal Director of Music Royal Marines, is also the Queen’s senior music director, taking charge of all massed band events.
Saturday’s parade at Windsor was the biggest massed band event for many years, comprising bands from all three services.
To close the celebrations, a magnificent 78-aircraft flypast from all three Services took place including Fleet Air Arm Lynx, Sea King and Merlin helicopters; the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight; RAF Hercules, VC10 and Tornados; Navy and RAF Hawks flying in an “E II R” formation and Tucano training flying in a “60” formation; and finally, to add a spot of red, white and blue to proceedings, the Red Arrows.
Naval Today Staff , May 22, 2012; Image: Royal Navy