Five-time Olympic rowing Sir Steve Redgrave let others pull their weight as he cruised among the flotilla of boats which honoured the Queen's 90th birthday with a pageant down the River Thames.

He was onboard the million-pound royal rowbarge Gloriana which led a flotilla of around 50 craft.

Powering the 10 tonne vessel was a crew of men and women, who were both able-bodied and adaptive rowers as Sir Steve, 54, said that his "rowing days are over".

He said: "I am getting a hard time because I have a glass in my hand rather than an oar. We are in the lead because no one is allowed to overtake us.

"Any time of being on the Gloriana is memorable because it is such a fantastic vessel.

"I do not have grandchildren yet, but being on the Gloriana on the Queen's 90th birthday is something which I would hope to be able to tell them some day."

Spectacular scenes were created by the range of boats on the water, including a boat from each of the decades in which the Queen has been monarch.

The Havengore - which carried Sir Winston Churchill's coffin at his state funeral - was among the historic vessels which took part in the procession. There were also fire service ships.

Oars were raised on the Gloriana as Tower Bridge was opened for the event. Sir Steve described it as "a very impressive sight" adding: "The waves were quite big but for a boat like the Gloriana, it was not too bad. I am just glad I was not in my rowing boat."

A burst of Land Of Hope And Glory was sung as the Gloriana reached Tower Bridge.

Another moving point in the procession, arranged as part of three days of celebrations, was seeing the Dunkirk Little Ships join the Gloriana as it reached Parliament, according to Sir Steve.

God Save The Queen was sung as the flotilla reached the Tower of London.