Jubilee pictures: How Queen celebrated Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees

Queen's letter to the nation on her Platinum Jubilee

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The Queen is the first British monarch to mark her 70th year on the throne. In June this year, the Queen’s reign will be celebrated over a special four-day bank holiday weekend. As part of the festivities, Platinum Jubilee Beacons will burn across the country.

Today, an event will mark the arrival of the Commonwealth of Nations’ Globe, which will be used in the lighting of the Principal Beacon at Buckingham Palace this summer.

The globe will be put on display for members of the public to view at London’s historic landmark, the Tower of London, before it will serve its main purpose at the Platinum Jubilee weekend.

The lighting of the beacons will kick off the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on Thursday June 2.

Thousands of beacons will be lit by communities, charities and different groups throughout the regions of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories.

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In recognition of her 70 years on the throne, there are plans for 70 beacons to be lit along the 73 mile length of Hadrian’s Wall.

Beacons will also be lit in all capital cities of the 54 Commonwealth nations.

Other scheduled events for the bank holiday include the Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), a Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign and the Derby at Epsom Downs.

The extended weekend is set to be the biggest celebration of the monarch’s reign in history, but by no means does that mean Her Majesty has celebrated her previous Jubilees quietly – here we take a look back at her Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilees.

Silver Jubilee, 1977

The Queen’s 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne was celebrated on her Silver Jubilee with large-scale parties throughout the UK and the Commonwealth nations. 

February 6, the actual anniversary of her accession, was commemorated with church services throughout the month.

The Sovereign spent the weekend following her Accession Day anniversary at Windsor with her family. 

During the summer of that year, the Queen embarked on a tour of the UK and Northern Ireland; she said she wished to meet as many people as possible.

No other monarch had visited so much of Britain in the course of just three months. The six Jubilee tours covered 36 counties; beginning in Glasgow, the tours continued throughout England and Wales – in Lancashire over one million people turned up to see the Queen – before concluding in a visit to Northern Ireland.

Her Majesty also made official overseas visits to Western Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the West Indies. 

During that year, it was estimated that the Queen and Prince Philip travelled 56,000 miles.

The culmination of the national celebrations came in early June. 

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On June 6, the Queen lit a bonfire beacon at Windsor, which started a chain of beacons across the country.  

The following day, crowds gathered to see the Queen drive in the Gold State Coach to St Paul’s Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving – attended by heads of state from around the world and former prime ministers of the UK.

During a lunch with members of the Royal Family at the Guildhall, Her Majesty made a speech. She declared: “My Lord Mayor, when I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God’s help to make good that vow. 

“Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgement, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”

Approximately 500 million people tuned in to watch the procession return down the Mall. 

Large-scale parties happened all over the country; according to the Royal Family website: “In London alone 4,000 were reported to have been held.” 

The final event of the celebrations was a river progress down the River Thames from Greenwich to Lambeth, mirroring the ceremonial barge trips of Queen Elizabeth I.

Her Majesty opened the Silver Jubilee Walkway and the new South Bank Jubilee Gardens, before a firework display and a procession of lighted carriages took the Queen back to Buckingham Palace, where she was greeted with a cheering crowd. 

Golden Jubilee, 2002

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrated 50 years on the throne. 

The events were shaped by six key themes: Celebration, Community, Service, Past and future, Giving thanks and Commonwealth.

Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh carried out extensive tours of the Commonwealth and the UK; they visited Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia and Canada as well as every region of the UK, from Falmouth in Cornwall to the Isle of Skye, an island in Scotland.

Again, the central focus of the celebrations was the Jubilee weekend in June.

It kicked off with a classical music concert in the gardens at Buckingham Palace, followed by a church service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. 

Events climaxed with a pop concert at the Palace, which included performances from Paul McCartney, Bryan Adams, Elton John and Shirley Bassey. 

The evening ended with a fireworks display and the Queen lighting the National Beacon, the finale in a string of 2,006 beacons which had been lit in a chain across the Commonwealth. 

During a speech at the London Guildhall, the sovereign said: “I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you ‒ here in Guildhall, those of you waiting in the Mall and the streets of London, and all those up and down this country and throughout the Commonwealth, who may be watching this on television. 

“Thank you all for your enthusiasm to mark and celebrate these past fifty years.”

Diamond Jubilee, 2012

In celebration of 60 years on the throne, the Queen and Philip travelled as widely as possible across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visiting every region throughout the year.  

Between them, other members of the Royal Family visited all of the Commonwealth Realms, including: Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall’s trips to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s visits to Tuvalu and Malaysia.

Similar to this year, Britons were given an extra bank holiday to mark the occasion on June 5, and the Spring Bank Holiday was moved to June 4 to create a four-day bank holiday weekend.

The celebrations began with the monarch’s visit to the Epsom Derby, an event she attends every year. 

On the Sunday, street parties took place throughout the country and people were encouraged to have “Big Jubilee Lunches” to share food with neighbours and friends as part of the celebrations.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant saw up to 1,000 boats assembled on the Thames from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world; this was the largest flotilla seen on the river in 350 years.

However, heavy rain during the event meant that the commemorative air force flyover that was planned had to be cancelled.

On the Monday, 10,000 people descended on the Palace for the Diamond Jubilee Concert and accompanying afternoon picnic. Performers included Will.i.am, Stevie Wonder, Grace Jones and Kylie Minogue. 

Afterwards, the Queen lit the National Beacon: one of 2,012 that were lit by communities and individuals throughout the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth. 

A day of celebrations in central London included a service at St Paul’s Cathedral followed by two receptions, a lunch at Westminster Hall, a Carriage Procession to Buckingham Palace and finally a balcony appearance, flypast and Feu de Joie, a rifle salute fired by soldiers.

In 2015, the Queen became the longest reigning British monarch. 

In a speech to mark her achievement, she said: “Prince Philip and I are very grateful for the warmth of your welcome on this occasion. Many including you, First Minister, have also kindly noted another significance attaching to today, although it is not one to which I have ever aspired. 

“Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones; my own is no exception. 

“But I thank you all, and the many others at home and overseas, for your touching messages of great kindness.”

 On her Accession Day anniversary this year, Her Majesty renewed the pledge she had made in 1947, at the age of 21, that her “life will always be devoted to your service.”

The Platinum Jubilee weekend is a chance for the UK to reflect on the Queen’s 70 years of dedicated service.

From June 2-5, communities across the country will celebrate the unprecedented anniversary and show gratitude for the historic reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

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