Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over her United Kingdom for sixty years. She came to the throne on February 6, 1952 with her coronation taking place on June 2, 1953.
She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) back in 2002.
Doing the same thing (whatever that may be) for 60 years is a pretty big deal, and with respect to being a British monarch, it's something that's only been achieved once before by Queen Victoria back in 1897.
Apparently, the Brits reckon this is a very good reason to throw a huge party too. So, to mark Liz's 60 years on the throne, there's a Diamond Jubilee going on in Britain all year with celebrations centred around an extended weekend of free activities in early June.
The four day holiday in honour of the Diamond Jubilee will coincide with the Queen's Official Birthday on Monday, June 4th. Highlights of the weekend will include a “glorious river jamboree,” a concert at Buckingham Palace organised by the BBC and more.
“At high water” in the afternoon of Sunday June 3rd, up to a thousand boats will assemble along the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats alongside pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be decorated with crews and passengers in the thousands “turned out in their finest rigs.” The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will take part as well as historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.
On Monday June 4th, the BBC will host a star-studded concert set against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace. With a line up to include Shirley Bassey, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Ed Sheeran, the concert will be the centrepiece of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations and promises to be one of the most spectacular shows ever staged in the UK. Broadcast live on BBC One and Radio 2, the concert will also be open to ticket-holding members of the public. A ballot to apply for entry is available online at the BBC's dedicated Diamond Jubilee webpage.
Jubilee beacons, a “Big Lunch” and a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral will also commemorate this momentous occasion.
Image Credit: Chris Osburn (Author)