(LONDON) — The weather certainly wasn’t fit for a queen, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of some 1.2 million people who lined the banks of the River Thames on Sunday to watch Queen Elizabeth II float past on a royal barge to mark her 60 years on the British throne.
The barge was turned into a veritable floating garden for the Diamond Jubilee event, and was surrounded by a thousand smaller boats, including 10 carrying choirs and musicians.
The 86-year-old queen, dressed in a silver and white dress and matching coat, led a flotilla down a seven-mile stretch of the river to Tower Bridge, which was raised in her honor.
The royal family was on board as well, including Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who some say stole the show on the gray and rainy day by wearing a red-above-the-knee dress with a matching red hat.
Not everyone was thrilled about the celebration. A small group of protesters gathered at the Tower Bridge to protest what one said was the “unaccountable power of the crown.” The protestors chanted “Democracy now” but the group was drowned out most of the time by people who delivered impromptu renditions of “God Save The Queen.”
Despite the protests, The Daily Mail reports a poll conducted Saturday found seven out of 10 Brits believe the nation is better off with the monarchy.
There is now a call amongst British lawmakers to formerly rename the east tower at the Palace of Westminster “The Elizabeth Tower.” The tower is commonly referred to as Big Ben because that’s the name of the bell inside the tower, but officials would like the tower itself to honor the queen for her Diamond Jubilee.
The tower at the other end of Westminster was originally known as the King’s Tower, but was renamed Victoria Tower in honor of the late monarch.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations continue on Monday with the Queen and the royal family attending a concert. On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth will attend a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, followed by lunch and an appearance on a balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN