This year, Her Royal Majesty, The Queen of England is celebrating 60 years of reign. Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 6, 1952 and her coronation took place on June 2, 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. The only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee (60 years) was Queen Victoria in 1897. Although there will be celebrations in May, most of the royal pageantry and public events will be over the extended weekend of June 2-5, 2012.
Recently, on March 20, 2012, The Queen made a speech to Parliament marking her Diamond Jubilee. She noted her thanks to Prince Philip, her husband and Duke of Edinburgh, as being “a constant strength and guide” during her tenure and accepted the gift of a stained-glass window from Parliament, which will be installed in Westminster Hall. She also celebrated “the professional and voluntary service given by millions of people across the country who are working for the public good.”
With keen insight into the value of travel and cultural exchange, in her speech The Queen also said, “My own association with the Commonwealth has taught me that the most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.” This observation reinforces why many of us travel, confirming that personal experiences are at the core of understanding and appreciating other cultures and lifestyles.
To that end, June will be an exciting time to visit London. Many events will give those of us fascinated with royalty an opportunity to see The Queen in person, although don’t expect to get close enough to shake hands. Short of the unlikely event of having an audience with Her Majesty, a visit to England this summer will give travelers a taste of British culture at its best.
Diamond Jubilee Pageant – On May 10, 11 and 13, the private grounds of Windsor Castle will be the sight of three nights of dance and musical performances, plus military and equestrian displays from around the world.
Parade and Muster at Windsor – On May 19, Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh will review nearly 2,500 troops from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force as they parade through Windsor Castle and the town.
2012 Investac Derby – The first event of the main Diamond Jubilee weekend will be on Saturday, June 2 at Epsom Downs Racecourse. The Queen has always enjoyed horseracing and will attend this annual event.
The Big Jubilee Lunch – The Eden Foundation began the Big Lunch four years ago with the goal of getting as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. This fourth instalment is sanctioned as Diamond Jubilee event and on Sunday, June 3, communities, groups of friends and neighbors all over the country will be throwing parties large and small to have lunch together.
Thames River Pageant – On Sunday, June 3, up to a thousand boats will muster on the River Thames during the afternoon high tide. Her Majesty will then lead the procession of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
Concert at Buckingham Palace – A concert organized by the BBC will be held at Buckingham Palace on Monday June 4. It will be attended by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and other Members of the Royal Family. 10,000 tickets for members of the public were made available through a national ballot, which has now closed.
Jubilee beacons – On June 4, thousands of beacons will be lit around the world on to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 year reign as head of the Commonwealth.
Service of Thanksgiving – On Tuesday, June 5, The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will attend a national Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Diamond Choir, made up of 40 children aged 10-13, will sing at the service. Boys and girls from across the UK, who regularly sing in a church or school choir, auditioned for the privilege.
Carriage Procession – On the afternoon of June 5, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and other Members of the Royal Family will travel from Westminster Hall to Buckingham Palace along a processional route by Carriage. Shortly after their arrival, the Royal Family will appear on the Balcony and a RAF Fly-past will take place.
Through extremely well-connected travel suppliers, Covington Travel can arrange some of the very best viewing locations for Diamond Jubilee events, customized sightseeing and accommodations in the most exclusive hotels in the UK. Contact our Britain Specialists to make your plans for attending the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this summer.