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Britain Launches Celebrations For Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Abseilers beside the River Thames secure a giant canvas displaying a photograph showing the Royal Family during the 1977 Queen's Silver Jubilee.
Britain has kicked off four days of festivities for Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

Gun salutes across Britain launched celebrations at noon local time on June 2, marking the exact anniversary of the queen's coronation, while the sovereign herself was to attend the annual Epsom Derby horserace.

Tens of thousands of people were awaiting the queen at the racecourse.

A recent poll showed about 80 percent of Britons want the country to remain a monarchy.

On June 3, a pageant of about 1,000 boats will sail through London on the Thames with the 86-year-old queen in a barge bedecked with flowers.

The queen acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI, and was crowned the following year on June 2.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

PHOTO GALLERY: The reign of Queen Elizabeth II in pictures