A special extended bank holiday weekend will provide an opportunity for communities across the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone of Her Majesty The Queen becoming the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
During the four-day weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June, celebrations across the nation will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service.
The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other Monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. The Queen has links – as Royal Patron or President – with over 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations. These vary from well-established international charities to smaller bodies working in a specialist area or on a local basis.
Then known as Princess Elizabeth, she was born on 21st April 1926 not in a royal residence or even a hospital, but at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, a London townhouse where she lived with her father and mother, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Queen was not born to be Queen – at this point, as the daughter of the King’s younger son, she was not expected to take the throne. She was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace and was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.
After her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936, her father King George VI took the throne and Elizabeth became heir presumptive. On her 21st birthday, in a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, Princess Elizabeth dedicated her life to the service of the commonwealth saying, “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.”
Princess Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip, when attending a wedding they were both guests at. The couple’s engagement was announced on 9th July 1947 and they were married in Westminster Abbey on the 20th November of the same year.
On 6th February 1952, King George VI died following a prolonged illness, and Princess Elizabeth immediately acceded to the throne becoming Queen Elizabeth II. After receiving the news while staying in Kenya on a Commonwealth tour, she returned immediately with Prince Philip. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953 conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. The Queen’s 96th birthday marks an unprecedented age for a British monarch, in a year in which she has also become the first monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee of 70 years on the throne. The next longest-lived monarchs were Queen Victoria and George III, who lived to the age of 81, and were the only other monarchs to have lived into their 80s.
Photo Credit: Jacob King, PA Wire, PA Images