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King-size photo of UK royals unveiled on Thames

LONDON -- A giant photograph of Queen Elizabeth II and her family, 100 meters (328 feet) wide and weighing two tons, was put up Friday beside London's Thames river ahead of celebrations for her diamond jubilee.

The 70-meter-high image of the queen, her husband Prince Philip and their children, dating from 35 years ago, was erected on the Sea Containers building to honor her 60 years on the throne — and mask building work going on inside.

The black-and-white photograph shows the queen waving to crowds at her silver jubilee in 1977, and will stay in place near Blackfriars Bridge in central London until the end of June, said a statement from Sea Containers.

The photograph took eight abseiling men 45 hours to put up, Sea Containers said, adding it was “the largest ever photograph of the Royal Family.”

Britain will celebrate the jubilee with a four-day public holiday and series of festivities on June 2-5, including a pageant of 1,000 boats and ships on the river.

“When this silver jubilee photo was taken 35 years ago, the South Bank was an unvisited stretch of the Thames — not the center of business, tourism and culture that it is today,” said Jonathan Ofer, managing director of the Deerbrook Group, asset managers for building owners Archlane Ltd.

“It is the owner's tribute for this very special occasion, when on Sunday 3rd June the jubilee flotilla passes by and the country celebrates 60 incredible years of everything that makes Britain great,” he added in the statement.

It will also mask redevelopment as the building is converted into a luxury hotel.

But not all Londoners were impressed by the new temporary landmark.

The Londonist blog drew a parallel with communist North Korea, saying it was “reminiscent of Pyongyang leader-worship,” while London-based blogger Jon Worth labeled it “ghastly.”

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People pass over Blackfriars Bridge as workers help to hang a giant image from a building on the south bank of the River Thames in London showing Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, fifth left, and from left the royal family, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Earl Mountbatten, Prince Phillip, Mark Phillips

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