Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilees: Celebrations Of A Record-Breaking Reign | HistoryExtra - Deepstash

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Royal jubilee celebrations

Royal jubilee celebrations

Royal jubilee celebrations have a long history, despite that only a few British monarchs have lived long enough to reach a major milestone.

  • October 1809 was the 49th anniversary of George III's accession, at the height of the Napoleonic wars.
  • Queen Victoria celebrated Golden and Diamond Jubilees marking 50 and 60 years of her reign.
  • George V's silver jubilee in May 1935 marked 25 years of George V as the King.
  • In 2022, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her platinum  jubilee. No other British monarch has ever reigned for 70 years.

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1977: The silver jubilee

1977: The silver jubilee

The success of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's 25 years on the throne was not a foregone conclusion. 

The country was in an economic crisis and bailed out by the International Monetary Fund. There was a sentiment of political instability and discontent. The exposure of the affair between Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn, a landscape gardener and baronet, caused ribald headlines, and the Labour government was reluctant to spend money on a celebration.

Huge crowds greeted her enthusiastically. "I am simply amazed: I had no idea," the Queen was overheard saying repeatedly.

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2002: The golden jubilee

2002: The golden jubilee

The 50th anniversary of the Queen’s accession followed a decade of shocks to the monarchy: the divorces of three of her children, and the fire at Windsor Castle,  whereafter the Queen wished to pay income tax for the first time. These events led to questioning both the monarchy’s popularity and its long-term viability.

After the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother at the age of 101, the public reaction revealed respect and affection for the monarchy. These are some events that contributed to another successful jubilee celebration.

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2012: The diamond jubilee

2012: The diamond jubilee

The diamond jubilee was not tentative testing of the monarchy’s popularity. Yet, to prevent criticism of the cost at a time of recession, some elements of the celebrations were privately sponsored.

Overall, the Queen’s jubilees proved an increasingly successful element in promoting the monarchy’s popularity.

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2017: The sapphire jubilee

2017: The sapphire jubilee

The 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession passed without publicity. The chief reason for the lack of ceremony is that the date of her accession is also the anniversary of her father’s death, which the Queen liked to spend in private.

George  VI was found dead in bed in 1952, having unexpectedly suffered a heart attack in his sleep. Elizabeth II was on tour in Kenya when she succeeded to the throne.

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