Gratitude, respect and pride, these words sum up how I feel about the people of this country and the Commonwealth – and what this Golden Jubilee means to me.
The central focus for the year was the Jubilee weekend in which began with a classical music concert in the gardens at Buckingham Palace. There was a Jubilee Church Service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral which followed a Ceremonial Procession from Buckingham Palace. Events culminated in a pop concert at Buckingham Palace with performers including Paul McCartney, Bryan Adams, Elton John and Shirley Bassey. The evening ended with a spectacular fireworks display and The Queen lighting the National Beacon, the last in a string of 2,006 beacons which had been lit in a chain across the Commonwealth.
During a lunch at Guildhall, London, on , Her Majesty made a speech in which she thanked the nation for their support throughout her reign:
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.
The Queen’s 80th birthday
The Queen turned 80 on and celebrated her official birthday on . A number of events took place to celebrate the birthday, both around Her Majesty’s actual birthday on 21 April and her official birthday on 17 June.
A unique Children’s Party at the Palace was held at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the magic of books. 2,000 children were invited, and a stage performance – during which The Queen made a cameo appearance – was broadcast live on the BBC.
Trooping the Colour marked Her Majesty’s official birthday as it does every year, but to mark the special occasion, a spectacular flypast and a ‘feu de joie’ (fire of joy) were added to the traditional celebrations.
Services of Thanksgiving were held at St George’s Chapel in Windsor and at St Paul’s Cathedral, and the latter was followed by a lunch at Mansion House in London.
The Queen celebrated with others of her generation who had similarly led a life of service and dedication at a ‘Service over sixty’ reception hosted by Her Majesty, which celebrated guests over the age of sixty who have made a significant contribution to national life, as did the Help the Aged Living Legends Awards at Windsor Castle. And on e day as her were invited to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen spent her actual birthday meeting the crowds on a walkabout in Windsor before attending a private family dinner at the newly restored Kew Palace, followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
Diamond Wedding anniversary
Events to mark the anniversary included a Service of Celebration at Westminster Abbey followed by the unveiling of a new Jubilee Walkway panoramic panel in Parliament Square.
The couple also returned to the location of their honeymoon: Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Prince Philip’s uncle, Earl Mountbatten, to recreate the photographs which had been taken 60 years previously.
The Diamond Jubilee
The Diamond Jubilee was marked with a spectacular central weekend and a series of regional tours throughout the UK and Commonwealth.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled as widely as possible across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visiting every region during 2012 whilst other members of the Royal Family visited all of the Commonwealth realms (countries where The Queen is Head of State) between them. Visits included The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Tuvalu.