Chapter Two - The Procession
At 12 noon on Tuesday 12th June, The President of The Republic of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki and Mrs. Mbeki were welcomed by HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at the start of a State Visit to the UK. This article is the second chapter of a two part record of the event. Chapter One is available here.
Following the welcoming ceremony, the procession commenced, leaving the park and proceeding along Datchet Road.
The first sight of the procession as it made its way past the Castle was as two mounted police rounded the corner of Thames Street to be followed by the first division of the Sovereign's Escort. Nervous glances over their shoulders suggested that the procession was perhaps lagging behind, and indeed the First Division of the Sovereign's Escort was a good way ahead of the second such that they slowed considerably as they reached the top of Thames Street.
Following behind the first two divisions of the Sovereign's Escort were seven open Landaus. The first, the 1902 State Landau, carried the Queen and President Mbeki.
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, now 80 years of age.
Now passed by the third division of the Sovereign's Escort followed by the third carriage, an Ascot Landau, carrying The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Lord Vestey, Master of the Horse.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Countess of Airlie
Minister for Defence, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Minister for Minerals and Energy
and The Viscount Brookeborough
Two further carriages followed carrying Professor Kader Asmal, Minister for Education, Mrs Asmal, Ms. Thoko Didiza, Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs and the Honourable Mary Morrison. The last carriage carried Mr Ngconde Balfour, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr. Essop Pahad, Minister in The President's Office, Mrs Pahad, and Mrs Ann Grant, High Commissioner at Pretoria.
The Ascot Landaus were followed by the Fourth Division of the Sovereign's Escort and finally by the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery with six gun carriages thundering up the hill, dust flying in the distance!
The event was indeed a great spectacle and we heartily recommend it to anyone with an eye for such things. June 6th 2002 sees the Jubilee of The Queen's Accession to the Throne. (1952-2002). You can be sure that the event will be celebrated with every bit as much celebration, pomp and ceremony throughout that month not just in Windsor but in London and around the country. You would be very welcome!
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