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The BBC's Peter Hunt
"It promises to be an interesting spectacle"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"Security is as tight as it could possibly be"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Pageant to honour Queen Mother
Horse Guards Parade
Rehearsals on Horse Guards Parade
A spate of security alerts causing chaos across London will not disrupt the Queen Mother's 100th birthday pageant, say police.

A controlled explosion took place in Ealing, west London, after a coded warning, while police blew up a suspect bag in Whitehall just hours before the pageant along Horse Guards Parade.

Major John Petrie, one of the organisers of the birthday parade, said the security alerts were designed to disrupt the event.

But police would not comment on the likely aim of the bomb scares.

Mr Fry said: "It's too early for me to speculate on that. What I can assure the public is that every security arrangement is in place for this afternoon's peagant and we are determined that it will not be spoilt by anyone."

Sheep and chickens

Final rehearsals for the "biggest 100th birthday party in the world" are taking place, with 7,000 participants running through the 60-minute programme ahead of its 1700BST on Wednesday.

The pageant will feature an eclectic mix of marching bands, carnival floats, choirs, race horses, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, camels, dancers, Aberdeen Angus bulls, sheep and chickens.

And the celebration boasts the biggest 100th birthday cake and the biggest 100th birthday card.

The Queen Mother's party on London's Horse Guards Parade, ahead of her birthday on 4 August, also stars pets close to her heart - corgis and dachshunds, her favourite breeds.

Royal watcher Terry Hutt
Mad about Ma'am: Terry Hutt has been camping out since Tuesday
One of her corgis is leading part of the parade.

The spectacular finale will see one million rose petals raining down on the Queen Mother and the 12,400 spectators.

The Queen Mother is due to arrive for the hour-long pageant in a carriage with a Household Cavalry escort.

Royal salute

She will take the royal salute and inspect the military and Commonwealth participants from her carriage.

After a march-past, there will be a parade of the century, featuring floats, the Finchley Children's Music Group and celebrity guests including wartime favourite Dame Vera Lynn. Hinge and Brackett and The Wombles.

The Queen Mother on Tuesday at Clarence House
The Queen Mother at a parliamentary tribute
Hot on their heels will come a parade by the Queen Mother's charities - about 320 groups with which she has campaigned over the years, including the Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Royal British Legion, Mothers' Union and Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

A massed choir including singers from St Paul's Cathedral, Lloyds of London and the City, Christchurch and Magdalen Colleges at Oxford University and the Royal College of Music will perform.

In addition, 25 youngsters from the Royal School of Deaf Children will "sing" in sign language.

Most living holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross bravery awards will parade in open Rolls-Royces.

Children dressed as cake

Veteran actor Sir John Mills will make a short address followed by the appearance of the Queen Mother's giant, imitation 100th birthday cake.

Thirty children, dressed as pieces of cake, will emerge from the 25ft-high "cake" and hand real cakes to the audience.

Then comes the presentation of the big birthday card signed by everyone taking part in the pageant.

The Queen Mother will celebrate her actual birthday with an appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

Terry Hutt, 65, has been camping outside the entrance to Horse Guards Road since 1000 BST on Tuesday.

Dressed from head to toe in red, white and blue, he said: "Being part of it is a lot different to sitting in your armchair watching it on your telly."

The retired carpenter from Waltham Abbey, Essex, added: "I first met the Queen Mum during the Blitz when I was five years old. I've looked up to her ever since."

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See also:

18 Jul 00 | Talking Point
Queen Mother: Your birthday tributes
15 Jul 00 | Scotland
Picture tribute to Queen Mother
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