Queen quietly marks day she came to Throne in 1952
LONDON — To celebrate the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee Monday, marking 65 years on the British throne, there were new coins, a new stamp, gun salutes, and a reissued portrait taken by a famed photographer.
The only thing missing? The queen, who, in keeping with past practice on the anniversary itself, planned to observe the day privately, with a quiet reflective commemoration at her estate in Sandringham, in eastern England. It is to her, after all, the day her beloved father, King George VI, died.
Grander celebrations are in the works for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022. What is the jubilee? Royal jubilees commemorate the life and reign of monarchs. The Queen, 90, the world’s longestreigning monarch, is the first British sovereign to hold a Sapphire Jubilee.
The events were relatively muted compared to the Silver (25 years), Gold (50 years) and Diamond (60 years) Jubilees, which were celebrated with large-scale festivities across Britain. There was a Ruby Jubilee to mark Elizabeth’s 40 years as queen, but that anniversary was also low-key.
Few British monarchs have reached the 50-year milestone. King George III and Queen Victoria marked their Golden Jubilees with huge celebrations.
How did the queen celebrate the day?
The Queen spent the anniversary at Sandringham, and there will be no broader celebrations in coming days, as there had been for previous jubilees. She was apparently in “good spirits” at a church service Sunday, local news outlets reported.
There have been concerns about the queen’s health since she missed church services Christmas Day and New Year’s Day because of what Buckingham Palace described as a heavy cold. Those absences were the first time in about 30 years that she had missed a holiday service.
The Queen made her first public appearance this year on Jan. 8, after a month’s absence. She celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, in 2012, with a series of events, including a floating pageant on the River Thames and a tour across Britain. The last time she was in Canada was in 2010. She has made three official visits to Hamilton (1951, 1959 and 2002). How did Britons celebrate? A traditional 41-gun royal salute was held at Green Park in London. That was followed by a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.
A 2014 portrait of the Queen taken by the British photographer David Bailey, wearing sapphire jewelry given to her by her father as a wedding gift in 1947, was published as part of the commemoration. The Royal Mail issued a stamp worth 5 pounds (about $6.25) and coins have been cast by the Royal Mint.
Prime Minister Theresa May congratulated the Queen on behalf of the nation, calling her an “inspiration.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out a tweet: “Today marks the Queen’s 65th anniversary on the throne — her #SapphireJubilee. Warmest congratulations & best wishes on behalf of Canadians.”
The Queen on Coronation day in June, 1953.
A 2014 photo released Monday as an official portrait for the jubilee.