Their Royal Highnesses, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, today (Friday, March 31st) launched the start of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee weekend of festivities at the British Airways London Eye.
The royal couple unveiled a Golden Jubilee commemorative plaque at a special ceremony and then took a flight on the 450ft high attraction.
British Airways board member Baroness Detta O’Cathain, who hosted the visit, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Earl and Countess today to launch our celebrations. It is of particular significance to us because the Eye’s location on the South Bank was also the site of royal celebrations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which saw the creation of Jubilee Gardens and Lambeth`s Silver Jubilee Walkway.”
The Eye has pledged to raise £50,000 for HM The Queen’s five nominated charities and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s nominated charity by donating 10p for every visitor in June.
The ceremony was also attended by David Sharpe, General Manager of the BA London Eye, David Marks and Julia Barfield, founding directors and architects of the attraction, Rick Wills, Chairman of BA London Eye, and Peter Phillipson, Chief Executive of the Tussaud’s Group. The newly elected Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr June Fewtrell, joined local families from Lambeth and over 90 children from Hillingdon Primary School and Claycot Junior School in Slough, to welcome the royal visitors.
To celebrate the Golden Jubilee weekend, the world’s biggest observation wheel
will be floodlit gold overnight, from Friday 31st May to Sunday 9th June and opening hours extended from 09.30 am to midnight until June 4th for the first time.
Gold themed stiltwalkers and fairytale characters will add to the festivities on site and jugglers will perform in and around a glass walled gold cube weighing 1.5 tons.
Since it opened in March 2000, the 450ft high Eye has exceeded all visitor projections to become the top paid-for attraction in the UK. It has attracted over eight million visitors and become a symbol for both London - and Britain - worldwide.