So I thought I’d look a bit more into it and learn about this celebration, and we all know that the English are not skimpy when it comes to celebrate big.
Especially now, when everybody is planning a trip to London!
When we say The Diamond Jubilee, we are referring to the fact that Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has been on the throne for 60 years.
What’s a jubilee?
A jubilee is simply a milestone inside a timeline. Traditionally, people celebrate the silver jubilee when they reach the 25th anniversary (for example, a marriage).
There’s also the golden jubilee for the 50th anniversary, the diamond jubilee for 60 years and the platinum jubilee for 70 years.
Who is Queen Elizabeth II?
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the current monarch head of the British Monarchy.
Though the Monarchy no longer directly rules the United Kingdom, they are still a very important figure for the British people and their culture.
She was the eldest daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI).
(And that’s another quite interesting story that I’ll leave for a later post.)
Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, after the death of his father. She herself was born in 1926, so she was only 26 when she took the crown, and just a few years after World War II.
I found it surprising that in her youth she was a bit of a bad-ass. At age 18 she was appointed Counsellors of State so that she could stand in for his father in case he was absent.
In 1945 she joined the British Army as an honorary Second Subaltern, where she trained as driver and mechanic, which I wouldn’t expect a princess to do.
Today she is the head of state of the United Kingdom and of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries that used to be British colonies.
The head of state would be the equivalent of a president in other countries. In the UK the government is led by the Parliament, led in turn by the Prime Minister. The Queen is consulted in certain state matters.
Understanding the United Kingdom
I’ve had to ask this many times. Fortunately I have my friend Carl to explain it to me.
Even though they are fairly autonomous regions, they are not independent countries though their names are sometimes used as country names, which is incorrect.
The Republic of Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom and therefore is not subject to Queen Elizabeth II.
England, in the true sense of the word, is not a country.
It gets very confusing because people born in the UK are called British. So I would say somebody born in Northern Ireland could be British, even though he wasn’t technically born in Great Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Why is The Diamond Jubilee important?
Well, aside from the fact that the Queen has spent a lifetime as monarch and that poor Prince Charles may die and not become king ever, Elizabeth II is only the second monarch to reach this milestone.
Indeed, famous Queen Victoria is the only other monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee in 1897.
The 2012 Diamond Jubilee emblem
There was a national contest for children between the ages of 6 and 14 to design the emblem of the jubilee, and the winner is Katherine Dewar (age 10), from Chester.
I just love it, it’s so playful and fun. It kind of puts a spin on rigid monarchy.
When is the Queen Diamond Jubilee?
The main events will take place on the weekend of 2-5 of June. There are so many events, it would be impossible to mention them all.
People are encouraged to host their own Diamond Jubilee street party! And there is advice for that!
On Saturday June 2nd the Queen will attend the Epsom Derby
On Sunday 3rd the Queen will attend the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant where the Queen will lead a thousand boats through the River Thames.
On Tuesday 5th the Queen will attend the Service of thanksgiving and carriage procession along with other members of the Royal family.
Many of the countries of the Commonwealth Nations will have their own celebrations and there will be celebrations all over the UK during 2012.
Oooh, I think visitors to London during those days are in for a very especial celebration! Of course, it will be painfully crowded; everything will be shockingly expensive… but if you can, go!
It’s not like we’re going to see other British Diamond Jubilee any time soon!
Have you been in London during one of these grand celebrations before?
What was it like, for instance, last year’s Royal Wedding?
Did you know the Queen was so old? (And she still looks great, doesn’t she?)
Share your comments in the field below or join us in Facebook!
Practicalities and Resources
- The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – celebrations and events.
- Transport for London – advice on travelling during Jubilee weekend.
- The Royal Collection – Jubilee exhibitions.
- National Portrait Gallery – The Queen: Art and Image.
- Victoria and Albert Museum – Cecil Beaton.
- The Diamond Jubilee Facebook Page.
- The Diamond Jubilee Twitter feed.
- The Diamond Jubilee in YouTube.
- The Diamond Jubilee in Flickr.
- Official website of the British Monarchy.
- BBC video.
- Even more information.
- And as you might expect, there are two apps for that! The Diamond Jubilee app and the Illustrated Diamond Jubilee app!
- What is the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England?
- The Difference between the U.K., Great Britain, England, and the British Isles
- The Queen’s Role.