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'The Queen's Favourites': Platinum Jubilee to feature puppet procession with corgis and swans

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Ahead of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee Pageant, an arts company in Coventry has been hard at work putting the finishing touches to their puppets and costumes which will feature in the Queen's procession.

Outdoor events company Imagineer, were commissioned for one of the procession's tableaux, entitled 'The Queen's Favourites'.

Director Jane Hytch said the royal commission came as a "total surprise", but that the job was a "huge honour".

The parade, touching on more personal aspects of the 96-year-old queen's life, will wind through central London to Buckingham Palace on June 5.

These are a few of the Queen's favourite things

Adrian Dennis/
Imagineer designer Trudy Rees-Marklew makes a prop in the shape of a swan in the company's workshop - Adrian Dennis/

"When we were given the Queen's favourites ... we thought about what does she love outside of all her duties?" said artistic director Kathi Leahy.

Dogs and horses were the obvious choices.

In particular, Leahy focused on the Queen's most famous canine companions, the short-legged, big-eared corgi.

A pack of 20 corgi puppets, mounted on wheels, will be the stars of the show. The lead puppet is named Susan, after the first corgi given to the then-Princess Elizabeth by her parents for her 18th birthday.

From canine to equine

AFP
Jane Hytch, CEO of Imagineer, stands atop a ladder beside a 10-metre high puppet of Lady Godiva - AFP

The parade also has a special place for horses, another of the Queen's great passions.

It will bring to life 10 of her most beloved horse companions: from Peggy, the Shetland pony given to her by her father King George V when she was four, to Burmese, the mare she rode several times during annual "Trooping of The Colour" ceremonies to mark her birthday.

Some of the horses are depicted with gears, in a tribute to Coventry's rich industrial past.

As well as the animal puppets, a giant Lady Godiva puppet, created for the 2012 London Olympics, will also take part in the parade.

It pays tribute to the 11th-century figure who, according to legend, rode naked through the city on horseback to persuade her husband the Earl of Mercia to lower taxes.

The procession, bringing together 140 cast members, will also evoke the annual counting of swans on the Thames. By ancient tradition, all swans in England belong to the crown.

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