The Queen's jubilee ... what a blast

By Andy McSmith

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery took to London's streets yesterday, looking as if they had stepped out of a film about the Crimean War, as part of the ceremonies to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It was a big day for the troops in their gorgeous black, gold and red uniforms.

Onlookers lined St John's Wood High St in north London in their hundreds to watch as the troops left their nearby barracks for the last time, to move permanently to Woolwich, south of the river. On their way, they stopped off in Hyde Park to fire a 41-gun salute.

It was not the only salute fired off yesterday, but it was the loudest. The basic salute, like the one fired at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour yesterday, is 21 guns, but because Hyde Park is a royal park, they added 20 extra.

It was an even bigger day for the Queen, who marked 60 years on the throne. The only British monarch to have reigned for longer was her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Her day began with a visit to King's Lynn, near her Sandringham estate. She also visited a school in the nearby village of Dersingham, but had to cancel the planned walkabout because of the weather.

In Aberdeen, whisky that has been maturing on the Balmoral estate since the year that her father, George VI, died was decanted yesterday, to be sold for charity at £100,000 ($189,550) a bottle.

- Independent

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