As Queen Elizabeth II became the only British Monarch to rule for seventy years, she marked the historic moment with a simple message, promising to continue her lifetime of service. But while her Jubilee day was quiet, it was merely the start of a year long celebration that would see millions around the world join the royal party.
Jubilees have become regular events in The Queen’s long reign but they are a relatively modern idea which only really took hold in the reign of King George III. Initially rejected by many as a frivolity, the first royal Jubilee became a huge success. It was a beguiling mix of pageantry, religious devotion and popular celebrations including street parties that has been copied in the Jubilees that followed.
Queen Victoria enjoyed two successful celebrations, including Britain's first Diamond Jubilee, which helped re-establish her popularity and consolidate the Monarchy. King George V turned to the joy of a Jubilee to re-invigorate his country as it recovered from war and economic woes. In the reign of his granddaughter, Elizabeth II, Jubilees have been transformed into modern media events celebrated globally.
In A History of British Royal Jubilees, we trace the ever evolving story of these popular celebrations, bringing each of them to life and looking at how they changed the image of royalty and the country itself. This is the story of how Jubilee celebrations have become vital to the success of Britain’s Royal Family and to its place at the heart of a nation.