News story

Armed Forces' role in the Diamond Jubilee weekend

From Royal Navy vessels accompanying the Royal Barge to Army gun salutes and RAF military bands, all three Services will play a key role in …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

From Royal Navy vessels accompanying the Royal Barge to Army gun salutes and RAF military bands, all three Services will play a key role in the central weekend celebrations.

General Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, said:

I am delighted that so many members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces have the opportunity to be part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Our Service personnel have a unique relationship with the Queen, and I know that those taking part, and their families, will remember these celebrations with great pride.

The whole of the Armed Forces will be celebrating in their own way, wherever they are serving around the world.

The military elements involved are:

Saturday 2 June

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will perform the Coronation Day Gun Salute.

Sunday 3 June

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Accompanying the Royal Barge containing Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will be several vessels of the Royal Navy.

These will be two Royal Navy P2000 boats, two Royal Navy picket boats, two rigid inflatable boats from HMS Diamond, and four off-shore raiding craft from 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines.

A Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines will follow the royal section of the pageant in a separate vessel.

The Honourable Artillery Company will fire a Gun Salute for the Queen as the Royal Barge passes the Tower of London.

Tuesday 5 June

Step-lining outside St Paul’s Cathedral for the Service of Thanksgiving

Personnel from all three Services will line the steps into St Paul’s Cathedral for Her Majesty’s arrival at and departure from the Service of Thanksgiving.

Military musicians inside St Paul’s Cathedral

The State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry, the Band of the Welsh Guards, and the Royal Air Force Fanfare Trumpeters will perform at the Service of Thanksgiving.

Sovereign’s Escort

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (The Life Guards and The Blues and Royals) will provide a Sovereign’s Escort of nine officers and 109 ‘other ranks’ for Her Majesty The Queen for the carriage procession from New Palace Yard to Buckingham Palace.

The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry will ride along the route ahead of the procession.


The processional route will be lined with more than 1,000 personnel and military musicians from all three Services. These will include officers and other ranks from:

  • ships, submarines, the Fleet Air Arm and land establishments of the Royal Navy
  • the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards of the Household Division, and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment, from the Army
  • the Queen’s Colour Squadron (63 Squadron RAF Regiment), from the Royal Air Force.

Bands in support of the street-liners

Tri-Service bands will line the processional route alongside the street-liners. These will be:

  • a Band of the Royal Marines
  • the Bands of the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards of the Household Division
  • a Band of the Royal Air Force.

Gun Salute

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will perform a Gun Salute from Horse Guards Parade to coincide with the carriage procession.

Guard of Honour and ‘feu du joie’

A Guard of Honour of three officers and 101 other ranks from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards will be on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s return in the carriage procession. When Her Majesty appears on the balcony, the Guard of Honour will perform a ‘feu du joie’.

Translated as ‘fire of joy’, a feu du joie is a ceremonial celebration whereby a salute is fired by rifles in rapid succession along a line of troops and back again, interspersed with bars of the National Anthem.

The feu du joie was last performed in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s 80th birthday, following the Queen’s Birthday Parade in 2006.

Military personnel involved on the day will wear their respective Service ceremonial clothing.

Further details of Armed Forces’ involvement in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will be announced in due course.

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Published 22 March 2012