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01.06.2012 Europe

Queen Elizabeth 11 - Diamond Jubilee: Final Preparations Under Way

The official picture of the Queen on her accession to the throne in February 1952.The official picture of the Queen on her accession to the throne in February 1952.
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Union jacks and bunting are being put out across the UK, as final preparations are made for the weekend's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Earlier, a rehearsal of Tuesday's carriage procession between Westminster Hall and Buckingham Palace took place.

And crews of the 1,000-strong flotilla that will escort the royal barge along the Thames on Sunday were briefed.

Events are planned across the UK over the next four days to mark 60 years since the Queen came to the throne.

Last-minute preparations are under way for the many street parties, outdoor concerts and fairs being staged for the royal celebration:

The Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond marked the start of celebrations with a 21-gun salute in Portsmouth

The Woodland Trust released a list of 60 new, large woodland areas designed to celebrate the Queen's reign

Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams issued a video tribute to the Queen, praising her sense of humour

Final preparations for the Jubilee concert got under way, with a stage constructed on the roof of Buckingham Palace, where pop band Madness will perform their hit Our House

Services are running on nearly all London Underground lines at the weekend but Transport for London advises people to check before they travel

The weather forecast is expected to be poor for the official celebrations in central London

In the early hours of Friday, members of the armed forces and the Household Division were among the 2,000 servicemen and women rehearsing the carriage procession - one of the final events of the Jubilee celebrations.

The BBC's Daniela Relph said the full ceremonial rehearsal had been a display of the pomp and pageantry expected during the Jubilee celebrations.

Soldiers rehearsed their three cheers for the Queen and the national anthem was played, she added.

Major Andrew Chatburn, the ceremonial officer for the Household Division, said the rehearsal had been 'spectacular'.

The state ceremonial training officer for the Royal Navy, Warrant Officer Paul Barker, said it had gone 'very well'.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will be joined by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry for Tuesday's event.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who will join the royals for the celebratory events during the weekend, paid tribute to the Queen's 'extraordinary energy' and 'devotion to her people', in an interview with Sky News.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the weekend's festivities would celebrate 'everything that is best about our country' and praised the Queen's 'selfless dedication to duty'.

Preparations have also been continuing for the BBC's Jubilee concert, which will be held in front of Buckingham Palace in the area surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial on Monday.

Artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John, Jessie J, JLS and Ed Sheeran are due to perform.

The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC One HD and on BBC Radio 2 in the UK and to millions around the world.

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