2 Jun 2012

Diamond Jubilee celebrations across UK

Home Affairs Correspondent

A 41-gun royal salute echoes across London to mark the start of the the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, as the Queen attends Derby Day at Epsom.

Derby Day – one of the highlights of the racing calendar – is rarely missed by the Queen who joined 130,000 racegoers for the social occasion.

Many of the spectators waved Union flags for the Diamond Jubilee and lined the Queen’s route into the stand named in her honour and opened by the monarch in 1992.

Unlike in last year’s race, the Queen does not have a horse entered in the Derby, or the other six featured races.

Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins sang the national anthem as the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth played and when it ended, a huge cheer went up.

In Scotland, The Queen was given a 21-gun royal salute at Edinburgh Castle to mark the anniversary of her coronation.

The regiment is honoured to be firing a 21-gun royal salute today, as the nation celebrates Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. Lieutenant Colonel James Cook

Tourists at the castle, on top of the Royal Mile, gathered to watch the ceremony which followed entertainment from a military brass band. The salute was made by the 105th Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers).

Lieutenant Colonel James Cook said: “The regiment is honoured to be firing a 21-gun royal salute today, as the nation celebrates Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

“The royal salute provides a great occasion for the gunners to display their professionalism and pride in conducting such an honour in Scotland’s capital city.”

Elizabeth tower?

Elsewhere a campaign for the tower housing Big Ben to be renamed in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has moved a step closer after it was revealed that many MPs support the proposal.

Forty have signed a Commons early day motion calling for the east tower at the Palace of Westminster to be formally named the Elizabeth Tower.
The motion was tabled by Conservative Tobias Ellwood and has the backing of all three main party leaders.

Labour leader Ed Miliband wrote on Twitter: “On Diamond Jubilee weekend, welcome news the Clock Tower looks like being renamed Elizabeth Tower.”

The extended bank holiday weekend will feature a River Thames pageant on Sunday, the following day pop music legends will entertain the royals and Jubilee beacons will light up hilltops across the country.

At St Paul’s Cathedral a service of thanksgiving is the highlight on Tuesday which ends with the Queen standing on Buckingham Palace’s balcony greeting the tens of thousands expected to fill The Mall.

Prime Minister David Cameron, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and other senior royals will join prominent individuals from the UK and abroad at many of the events.

Soldiers of the Honorable Artillery Company fire blank rounds during a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London in front of Tower Bridge (Getty)