TODAY | June 01, 2012
>>> on the grand festivities planned for the queen's diamond jubilee which honors of course her 60 years on the throne.
>> nbc's special correspondent meredith vieira is in the tower, actually at the tower of london , not in it. meredith, good morning.
>> reporter: no. i've been a good girl, i have. you know, we mentioned earlier that one of the most breathtaking sights this weekend will be the flotilla on the thames talking about 1,000 vessels traveling seven miles and our special correspondent will be rowing one of them. you lucky devil.
>> i'll have one of the best seats in the house. in fact more than a million people are expected to line the banks of the river thames . of course the star attraction will be the queen and the young royals aboard the festive barge.
>> reporter: it's promising to be an event most may not witness again in a lifetime. a real, live royal pageant on the river thames , with bells and whistles. this hasn't been seen for some 200 years. this is the spirit of chartwell. she is going to be the center piece of the river pageant for the queen's diamond jubilee and she is going to be home for the day to the royal family . fit for a queen, unsinkable, they say, and fitted out to give the feel of a luxurious train on water. originally glass panes, restored pullman arm chairs. and pieces reclaimed from classic cruise liners . hand made thrones, seven tons of flowers. it will hold some 300 guests. the boat's owner was invited but he won't be onboard on the big day .
>> it took me a long time to work out how to write the e-mail to say, courteously, i think i prefer to watch it on the television.
>> reporter: turns out he grew up in an orphanage near windsor castle . you had visits from the -- secret visits from the royal family when you were so young.
>> reporter: is this almost like giving back?
>> they came to see us very often and i think this is time for us to pay back. you know? i don't have a cloak but i have a boat so i can lay that down.
>> reporter: to find out more about the queen's personal connection with boats and the navy, i met lord admiral west at the iconic admiralty building. so this really was the center of the universe when britannia ruled the waves.
>> this is the admiralty boardroom. it was used from about the mid 1700s right through until -- i used it as first sea lord in the 2000s .
>> reporter: the queen's father, prince philip , and prince charles were all naval officers .
>> she loves, loves boats and the sea and feels very much the salt in her veins because of her family. for centuries the royals in particular would move from their royal palace in beautiful, gilded craft. those links i think are very important to recreate.
>> reporter: well it has been recreated. the gloriana, a golden gift from the nation. it'll be up front in the flotilla on sunday. you need some strength to move this. a bit bigger than my skiff. a lot more gold as well. time to get a practice run in. i wouldn't want to let the queen down on her big day .
>> you know, i was teasing you before, but this is really serious business and now that they're predicting they're forecasting bad weather possibly for sunday, that could be trouble.
>> well, you know, the technicalities of a thousand boats, all shapes and sizes, lots of bridges in london, narrow arches, height problems, to keep all of that in a very fine flotilla, everyone in order, is going to be hard. they are predicting heavy, heavy rains. it is going to be quite cold so for people like myself in little row boats it is going to be hard. if everyone can pull it off it really will be a sight to behold.
>> if it is raining very hard can they postpone it?
>> no. i mean it's -- this has been months if not years in the planning to create this event, the complex its. it has to go ahead. of course we've got the queen on the spirit of chartwell with the whole family onboard. security is very high.
>> we wish the best obviously. good luck to you. thank you very much.
>> thank you very much. we have much more coming up including a big concert after