Hythe Eye 8:58am, 12 April 2012
The 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 minutes later. 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.