Sir Francis Chichester today (Friday) knelt before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich and was tapped lightly on each shoulder with a 400-year-old sword in the first knighting ceremony ever televised live in Britain.
Sir Francis Chichester today (Friday) knelt before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich and was tapped lightly on each shoulder with a 400-year-old sword in the first knighting ceremony ever televised live in Britain. Sir Francis' triumphant welcome to London ended his epoch solo voyage round the world.
Sir Francis and Lady Chichester took Gipsy Moth - showing signs of wear and tear from the long ocean voyage - up the River Thames this morning to Greenwich under auxiliary power.
He stepped ashore at the Royal Naval College wearing his familiar peaked cap to meet the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Almost before the crowd of several thousand in the college quadrangle realised it, the 65-year-old yachtsman had knelt on a special stool and received the accolade.
Sir Francis stood up again and the Queen placed a crimson ribbon bearing the insignia of Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire round his neck.
The Queen used the sword that Queen Elizabeth I used to knight the first English sea-captain to circumnavigate the world, Sir Francis Drake, in 1581.
Then the Queen walked across a gangplank to Gipsy Moth and spent 15 minutes inspecting the yacht with Sir Francis. The Duke of Edinburgh, a keen sailor, needed no such aid.
Sir Francis and his family then sailed on up the Thames and under the famous Tower Bridge - whose centre was fully raised in his honour - to the ancient Tower of London. Fireboats, tugs and other ships all showed or sounded their welcome.
Huge crowds, cheering and shouting, lined the route of a ceremonial drive that took the Chichesters to Mansion House and an official welcome from London's Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Bellinger.