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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Prince Charles mobbed at street party as Diamond Jubilee fever grips

And Hartlepool's Maritime Experience is the venue for a day of activities including the Big Lunch inside a marquee and evening entertainment.

The big screen in Middlesbrough is broadcasting the Jubilee Pageant from the River Thames.

Other locations for Jubilee events include Toft Hill near Bishop Auckland, and the Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle.

On Monday night, beacons will be lit to join a network around the UK. They include one near the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough.

Inside too, many were celebrating – six million Britons threw a house party, crowding around the television as they watch the Queen lead the Diamond Jubilee Pageant along the Thames.

They prepared for a singalong by grabbing the National Anthem and Rule Britannia from the internet.

The music provider Spotify reported an 8,000 per cent increase in the number of downloads of the songs.

In all more than 9,500 streets were closed for the event – more than double last year's Royal wedding between.

Her dominions old and new were refusing to miss out – parties were held as far afield as British Arctic, the South Atlantic island of St Helena and in Afghanistan.

Even parts of the USA took part in the festivities.

Prince Charles and the Duchess picked perhaps the countries poshest street party to join the celebrations.

Set along Piccadilly, The Big Lunch boasted catering by the Queen's grocer Fortnum and Mason and a tea dance held by the Ritz.

As they arrived they received an enormous cheer from the 2,500 guests and then a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.

At one point Prince Charles became mobbed by well-wishers and one lady stole a few hugs before his security intervened.

Prince Charles, wearing his trademark double breasted suit, and the Duchess, dressed in a raincoat, then took their seats at the head of a row of 500 tables all decorated in union flag table cloths, paper plates and cakes.

Before they left the couple stood and sang another rendition of the National Anthem before racing off back to Clarence House to change and head of for the river pageant.

"We have to get going so we can catch the boat – can’t be late! the Duchess said.

She is the Patron of the Big Lunch movement designed to encourage neighbourhoods to come together to share lunch and a few hours of community, friendship and fun.

Dozens of related events were held across the country.

Being Britain the Diamond Jubilee had almost been turned into a sport, with a number of record attempts being made.

With 360 tables each measuring 6ft, the celebration in the seaside town of Morecambe in Lancashire was attempting to be the longest and stretched almost half a mile along the promenade.

The world's largest Union Flag has been unfurled in the big top of Gerry Cottle's legendary circus. The 40ft by 33ft flag will form a patriotic backdrop as tightrope walkers and acrobats perform in Poole, Dorset.

No fewer than twelve parties are attempting to have the longest line of bunting – which currently stands at 11,246ft 6 in (3,427.94m).

At Sandringham, the Queen’s country retreat, a record will be under way for the Most people wearing paper crowns in multiple venues.

The attempt is being led by the Caravan and Camping Club at Sandringham and will simultaneously unite over 5,000 locations across the UK.

A right royal "knees-up" is due to be staged at Battersea Park, south London.

The designer Wayne Hemingway has helped to mastermind the eclectic festival that will celebrate music, food, fashion and art from the past 60 years.

The daylong festival will also feature a village green, 1952 bandstand tea dance, outdoor cinema and Diamond Geezer pop-up pub.

Acts performing include 80s ska group The Selecter and indie rockers Noisettes, while sounds of yesteryear will be provided by all-female swing band The Bombshellettes along with other 40s and 50s-style big bands.

The event will also feature an exhibition of royal souvenirs including 100 royal teapots, a portrait of the Queen made out of balloons and a 1977 Silver Jubilee fizzy drink labelled Jubilade.

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