Cunard Line is delighted to announce that the world-famous Red Arrows will be an extra highlight of the company’s Three Queens Diamond Jubilee Event in Southampton to celebrate the 60 years of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign, on Tuesday 5 June 2012.
In what is expected to be the biggest celebration outside London over the extended bank holiday weekend, all three ships of the Cunard fleet will sail up the Solent in formation for the first time on the morning of 5 June, in preparation for a day of special tributes, celebrations and displays for the enjoyment of the ships’ passengers and residents of the city of Southampton and beyond. This will be the first time the aerial display team will have performed over Cunard’s homeport of Southampton and the Solent, with the action being focused above the Marchwood area of the docks. The display will begin around 1800 hours and conclude almost 25 breathtaking minutes later.
Her Majesty The Queen has long been associated with Cunard, being the only person to have attended the naming of all three Cunard Elizabeths, beginning in 1938 with the original Queen Elizabeth, then 1967 when she launched Queen Elizabeth 2 and 2010 when she named Queen Elizabeth.
The combined sight of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria together with a seven-aircraft Red Arrows squadron will create both an outstanding spectator experience and a fitting commemoration of Her Majesty’s 60 year reign.
The ships will approach the port soon after first light on Tuesday 5 June, sailing in single file up the Solent, with a flotilla of small boats expected to welcome them in.
As Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria tie up at their berths, Queen Mary 2 will follow on, turning in the upper swinging ground and then passing each ship in turn, with crew lining the foredeck of all three vessels, and the ships’ whistles sounding in salute of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
After the Red Arrows display, as darkness falls, the celebrations will culminate in an evening spectacular where all three ships will be brought within close proximity of each other, and a fusillade of fireworks and special effects will light up the evening sky beyond them.
Queen Mary 2 will then lead Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in single file down the Solent as all three ships set out on their celebratory Diamond Jubilee voyages.
Mayflower Park will provide the best vantage point for those interested in seeing the arrival of the fleet, the fireworks, and the departure of Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. For the Red Arrows display, Hythe Marina and Town Quay will also offer good viewing.
Peter Shanks, President and Managing Director of Cunard says:
“Seeing Cunard’s three Queens in formation in the Solent for the very first time is set to make for a spectacular start and finish to a very special day in Southampton to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee – but the addition of the Red Arrows to the celebrations brings an extra frisson of excitement, as the epitome British professionalism at sea is matched by the embodiment of British daring and discipline in the air. Cunard is delighted to bring the first ever Red Arrows display to Southampton on this auspicious occasion. We are looking forward to giving both our passengers, and the residents of the Southampton area, the chance to be part of a truly remarkable experience that they will feel proud to talk about for years to come”.
Royston Smith, Leader of Southampton City Council, says:
“The addition of the Red Arrows display to Cunard’s Three Queens Diamond Jubilee Event on Tuesday 5 June adds the finishing touch to a spectacular day for people in the Southampton area. The city will really be hitting the high notes with something new, extraordinary and memorable as a celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 year reign.”