Britain celebrates Jubilee

It’s not every year a whole nation celebrates a 50th anniversary. But this year, the British people are pulling out all the stops to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, the 50th year since her accession to the throne.

And what better time to visit Britain.

Elizabeth became Queen when just 25. Her devotion to duty and public service has made her the centre of great public affection. She’s the most traveled monarch in British history, and as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth she’s Patron or President of more than 700 organisations.

The Queen took her responsibilities seriously from an early age, making her first radio broadcast to the children of Britain and the Commonwealth in 1940 at the tender age of 14.

The Queen continues to enjoy interacting with her subjects. Along with the Duke of Edinburgh, she characteristically threw a huge garden party at Buckingham Palace aarently 27,000 cups of tea are sipped at each royal summer garden party) in 1997 to share their Golden Wedding anniversary with other couples from around the country who had also achieved 50 years together.

Public events
To celebrate the anniversary a four-day Jubilee Holiday (June 1-4) has been declared. Special events include a concert featuring both classical and pop musicians in the grounds of Buckingham Palace (the event will be televised on the streets of London), as well as Jubilee church services and bell-ringing across the country.

 The Queen will attend a special service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, marked by a ceremonial procession and a Carnival Pageant in the Mall.

Other special events include the String of Pearls Golden Jubilee Festival from March to December, when more than 90 major buildings and organizations along the River Thames throw open their doors to visitors and mount special exhibitions and events.

Royal treasures, including the Queen’s diamond crown and Faberge jewellery, will be featured in a special exhibition opening in May at the new Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace (the expansion of the Gallery is the most significant addition to the Palace for 150 years).

Next page: Royal weddings exhibit

Royal weddings exhibit
Over at Kensington Palace – former home of Diana, Princess of Wales — a new exhibition of royal wedding gowns will also open in May. As well as the dress the Queen wore for her wedding to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, the exhibition includes gowns worn by the Queen Mother and Queens Mary, Alexandra and Victoria.

Scotland’s annual Edinburgh Tattoo in August also takes on a Jubilee theme.

And horse lovers will adore the extravaganza, ‘All the Queen’s Horses,’ at Windsor Castle in May when a cast of 3,000 will tell the story of her reign and celebrate her lifetime love of horses.

Country wide celebrations
Between May and August, the Queen will travel the length and breadth of the country, offering adoring fans a chance to catch sight of her on one of her famous ‘ walkabouts’.

The highlights of the tour is the opening and closing ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Manchester July 25 and Aug. 4 respectively (Visit for further details and to receive a free Commonwealth Games information pack).

Across the country, the Queen’s official residences and royal palaces will also be celebrating the Jubilee. Highlights include:

  • Balmoral, Scotland:
The Royal Family’s much loved summer residence inspired Prince Charles to write his children’s book, The Old Man of Lochnagar. Grounds, gardens and exhibitions are open mid-April to the end of July
  • Buckingham Palace: London: Annual Opening of the State Rooms takes place Aug. 4 – Sept. 29, and the Queen’s Gallery re-opens end of May to coincide with the Jubilee.
  • Windsor Castle, Bershire: St. George’s Chapel, within the precincts, is the resting-place of 10 sovereigns.