Pageant and big lunches celebrate Queen's Jubilee

Thousands of people are gathering along the Thames in spite of the wet weather to honour the Queen for 60 years of service to the nation.

A spectacular regatta has been planned, including a flotilla of around 1,000 boats.

The Queen will be accompanied by other members of the Royal family in the lead barge.

Churches across the nation are taking part in the celebrations with street parties as part of the Big Lunch in honour of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Yesterday, thousands of people took part in a Diamond Jubilee gala at the official residence of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Up to 1,000 people were expected at the event, which included music performances and a fireworks display.

Dr Sentamu said: "The thing about the Queen is she's just an ordinary English person with a great sense of humour.

"If you're not very careful, she could pull your leg without you realising she's pulling your leg. She has no airs and graces. And behind her is Prince Philip, who is always cracking jokes. Her and Prince Philip together - oh my goodness."

He continued: "She has a real devotion to duty, sense of responsibility, a love of God and a love of the people and of this great nation. Those things combined make this a great celebration."

Churches will also be joining in the celebrations by lighting up beacons.

On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury will preach at the thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral.