David Cameron has paid tribute to the Queen as she prepares to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee with a pageant on the river Thames.

"It's hugely important, the Queen has given incredible service 60 years on the throne, a lifetime of service, she has never put a foot wrong," the prime minister said.

"She's hugely popular and respected here and around the world; it's an opportunity to give thanks and say thank you for the incredible service she has given."

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In a separate tribute in this week's House Magazine, Cameron said he owed the Queen a "huge debt" for the wisdom she had shown him over the past couple of years.

"Six decades of service have given her an acute sense of what matters, what is permanent, and what is in Britain’s best interests. As her previous Prime Ministers have found, those insights are extremely useful," he said.

"She is quite simply a remarkable person and a towering figure in our history. Long may she reign."

The Queen has seen no less than 12 prime minister over the course of her reign.

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  • Winston Churchill

    Winston Churchill was initailly sceptical of the new young Queen, calling her "just a girl".

  • Anthony Eden

    The Queen and Eden disagreed heavily over the Suez crisis calling him 'mad' over his decision to intervene militarily

  • Harold Macmillan

    Macmillan was "astonished by her grasp of detail" but also noted that she was irritated when treated like a woman

  • Alec Douglas-Home

    A shared love of dogs allowed the two to develop a close relationship

  • Harold Wilson

    Wilson described his visits with the Queen as "going to see mother".

  • Edward Heath

    Edward Heath, far right, clashed repeatedly with the Queen. A former courtier recalled how that Queen was never comfortable with him. At an event in 2002 at Buckingham Palace that the Queen held to honour all of her surviving Prime Ministers, Heath dozed off.

  • James Callaghan

    Callaghan was very secretive of his meetings with the Queen and it is claimed that the two indulged in 'flirtatious banter'

  • Margaret Thatcher

    The Queen's relationship with Thatcher was tense and the Queen allegedly referred to her as "that lady"

  • John Major

    Major appreciated the ability to talk to the Queen about anything, even things he did not feel comfortable talking to his ministers about.

  • Tony Blair

    The Queen was devastated when Blair decommissioned the Royal Yacht Britannia. She was also very critical of his close relationship with George W Bush

  • Gordon Brown

    Brown took great care to follow traditional protocol around the Queen

  • David Cameron

    Cameron has recently praised the value of his weekly meetings with the Queen saying that he appreciates her views which are capable of seeing through the politics.