Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines have spoken of their pride at being called to take part in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant as they carry out their final rehearsals.
More than 200 personnel, supported by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums, have been carrying out a practice session at HMS Collingwood, Fareham, Hampshire.
They will then go on to represent the Royal Navy at the pageant at Buckingham Palace on Sunday June 5.
The sailors will be joined by personnel from the Royal Air Force and British Army to form the first section of the pageant titled Queen and Country.
The sailors and marines wore normal uniform for the rehearsal but will be in full ceremonial uniform for the pageant itself which will tell the story of the Queen’s 70-year reign.
As well as the UK armed forces, military personnel from across the Commonwealth including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Ghana, Belize, Jamaica and Sri Lanka will be taking part.
Sub Lieutenant Toby Blunden, 20, from Brentwood, Essex, said he was honoured to take part as his father, retired Commodore Jeremy Blunden, was the last commander of the Royal Yacht Britannia.
He told the PA news agency: “It’s a terrific experience, a lot of nerves and a lot of excitement at the same time.
“I am very proud to be representing the Royal Navy and Royal Naval Reserves.”
Able seaman (AB) Carly Holloway, 19, from Leeds, said: “It’s exciting, it’s something that will never happen again.”
AB Olivia Gray, 21, from Newcastle, said: “She’s the only monarch to have served for that period of time so it’s amazing to be at her Jubilee.”
State ceremonial training officer Warrant Officer Darren Wearing said: “A lot of effort has gone into the preparation and quite rightly so because we need to make sure everything is perfect.
“The challenge is we just want to do it justice, we want to make sure everyone is immaculate and gives a good account of themselves.
“In 1,000 years of monarchy we have never had a Platinum Jubilee and it’s potentially going to be the last so it’s exceptionally important.”
First Drill, Warrant Officer Steve Payne, who is responsible for the Royal Marines ceremonial guard, said: “I am fortunate in that all my Royal Marines do drill in their basic syllabus so time has been short as training time is valuable.
“They are now together as one and producing the goods.”