Camden canal boat gets a wave from the Queen during Diamond Jubilee flotilla

While most people watched the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations from the comfort of their own home, a group of salty Camden seadogs had front row seats.

Volunteers from the Pirate Castle in Oval Road, Camden Town, were among the 1,000-plus throng of boats on the River Thames on Sunday (June 3).

Aboard the good ship Pirate Prince, the team of six were invited to take part in the water pageant with their barge – and the day did not disappoint.

Volunteer Hazel Saunders, 53, of Herbert Street in Kentish Town, said: “It was just a fantastic day and so very exciting.

“It was an amazing sight as there were hundreds of boats and the sense of fun was brilliant.

“On the actual day we had to get going at 6am and make our way to Barn Elms reach and muster there.

“It was incredible seeing all the people – some of who had camped the night – and the support we got was fantastic.

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“It was just a shame that the weather was so bad. We were meant to be dressed as pirates but we had to have coats on so we looked more like anoraks.”

Unbowed by the rain, the team got their heads down and ensured their part in the four hour journey was a success.

Ms Saunders said “We did pass by the Royal boat with the Queen and saw her. As we passed she waved and Prince Phillip saluted the Sea Scouts to the left of us.

“To be honest it was quite hard to enjoy it and take it all in and we had too much to worry about keeping pace with the other boats.”

After the exhausted team finished their part in the parade, they made their way back to West India Quay for a well earned drink before setting off for Camden on Monday morning.

“It was just such an exciting weekend but in truth it was nice to get the boat back on inland waterways as it was quite choppy waters out there,” said Ms Saunders said.

“If there is another jubilee celebration in 10 years time we would be privileged to take part again. It was so patriotic and so much fun.”