Platinum Jubilee: How Her Majesty celebrated Jubilees during 70 years on throne


From the Silver Jubilee back in 1977 to her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the joyous Diamond Jubilee of 2012, millions of patriotic Brits have taken to the streets for Union Jack festooned tea parties

Queen Elizabeth on the Royal Jubilee tour of Scotland in 1977
Queen Elizabeth on the Royal Jubilee tour of Scotland in 1977

This year, the Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years on the throne.

To mark this historic achievement, people the length and breadth of Britain are being urged to help throw the biggest ever thank-you party for our beloved Queen, who turns 96 in April.

But Sunday, June 5, won’t be the first time the streets have been adorned with banners and bunting to celebrate Her Majesty’s long and glorious reign. From the Silver Jubilee back in 1977 to her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the joyous Diamond Jubilee of 2012, millions of patriotic Brits have taken to the streets for Union Jack-festooned tea parties, spirit-lifting street parades and large-scale celebrations and raised a toast – sometimes in a chintzy themed glass – to Elizabeth II.

With another right royal knees-up on the way, we look back at highlights from jubilees of the past…

Queen Elizabeth II at Covent Garden Opera House, London, during celebrations for her Silver Jubilee
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mirrorpix)

And with iconic merchandise from chintzy mugs adorned with pictures of the Queen, regal tea towels and flag-stamped side plates, there’s nothing not to love about a Jubilee.

With another right royal knees-up on the way, here are some of the highlights from the Queen’s Jubilees of yore.

Silver Jubilee, 1977

As many as 10 million people party in the streets to mark the Queen’s 25 years on the throne. Thousands of events were organized across the country, with 4,000 held in London alone.

The Royals kicked off the weekend of nationwide celebrations with a glittering trip to the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden for a spectacular Silver Jubilee Gala in May 1977.

Kids celebrating the Silver Jubilee
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Crowds of Londoners and tourists reflected the goodwill of the nation as they cheered for the radiant monarch, who donned a tiara and sparkling jewels for the occasion.

The official celebrations began days later on June 6 when the Queen lit a beacon at Snow Hill, Windsor, watched by 300,000 onlookers. It sparked a chain of 102 set aglow bonfires around Britain.

Crowds cheered as the Queen arrived in an open-top Land Rover along with Prince Philip and her two youngest sons, followed by Prince Charles, Princess Anne and husband Captain Mark Phillips.

A torch was also lit to be flown to Australia, where it would spark a chain of 3,000 bonfires Down Under.

Elsewhere, thousands partied on the Mall. The next day, vast 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 .

As well as street parties across the country, complete with Union Jack bunting and trestle tables by the dozen, patriotic punters got behind the horse-loving monarch at the Epsom Derby with a frenzy of flutters on Royal Plume and Lucky Sovereign.

Golden Jubilee, 2002

Street parties were thrown in Britain and around the world as far away as the Antarctic as millions of royal fans celebrated the Queen’s first 50 years on the throne.

Tables lined a street in Devon for two miles and one partygoer in Bristol spent three days painting a 30ft Union Jack on her house.

Jubilee celebrations at Combe Martin in Devon
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At a party in Jubilee Street in Stepney, East London, 500 residents enjoyed a multicultural celebration, while in Coronation Avenue, Gateshead, another 500 revelers gathered to mark the occasion.

More than 80 street parties in Bristol ran alongside another 50 events organized by the council, and in Marlborough, Wilts, 1,200 chairs were laid out for a giant tea party. Jubilee fever swept beyond Britain, with servicemen and women also celebrating as far away as Afghanistan.

In London, a Party at the Palace marked the Golden Jubilee on June 3.

The Queen and Duke Of Edinburgh watch fireworks at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2002
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An audience of 12,000 – including teenage Princes Harry and William – watched in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Another million watching on giant screens outside as they waved their Union Jacks in retirement.

At home a TV audience of around 200 million tuned in to watch a multitude of stars.

The celebrities performing included Brian May of rock group Queen, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Atomic Kitten, Ozzy Osbourne and Tom Jones.

Residents dance to music at a street party in East London
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Diamond Jubilee, 2012

Up and down the country an estimated six million revelers celebrated 60 years’ reign with street gatherings and tea parties.

Prince Charles and wife Camilla made a surprise visit to a party in Piccadilly, taking pride of place at a giant picnic table, while 3,000 people sat down to lunch.

Rain meant lots of parties for the event – ​​dubbed the Big Lunch – were moved indoors, with a Birmingham event winding up in the city’s cathedral.

The Red Arrows fly over Buckingham Palace in 2012
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In London, a flotilla of 1,000 boats took to the river as part of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Around 1.2 million people lined the banks to cheer them on.

Buckingham Palace partied once again, with thousands gathering on The Mall and in royal parks, while millions watched at home. Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney performed on stage, joined by Dame Shirley Bassey, JLS and Kylie Minogue.

Gary Barlow masterminded the event and performed along with Cheryl, while Robbie Williams delivered a raucous Let Me Entertain You. Comic Rob Brydon got lots of laughs while Prince Charles became emotional on stage, calling Her Majesty ‘Mummy’.

A street party in Leicestershire celebrates the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
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PA)

Events finished with a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral – which Prince Philip missed as he was in hospital with a bladder infection – and a Royal appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

As the Red Arrows put on a stunning display, the crowd sang God Save the Queen.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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