Monday, June 11, 2012

the first diamond jubilee

While Queen Elizabeth II marked her 60th year as monarch of England and the British Commonwealth last week,, it is remarkable to note that she is only the second in the long ling of English kings and queens to have done so.  The first one to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was none other than Queen Victoria.

Elizabeth II
image source: Cruise International
Victoria I
image source: BBC News
BBC News provides a peek into the 19th century Diamond Jubilee celebration with the informative article by Andy Sully: "Queen Victorian and Britain's First Diamond Jubilee."

Similar to the current Royal Family at this moment, Victoria and the institution of the monarchy was high in public opinion at the time of her Jubilee.  Colonies such as Kenya, Rhodesia, Zanzibar, the New Hebrides, and Somaliland had been added to the Empire.  Military troubles in places such as the Sudan were gradually being taken care of.  And although England was starting to lag behind in economic growth to the likes of the United States and Germany, it was still a significant part of a strong, global economy.

Taking place on June 22, 1897, the Diamond Jubilee celebration for Queen Victoria took place all over the world.  It was a bank holiday in England and India, and public artwork, free feasts for the poor, and even free ale and tobacco provided by tea magnate Sir Thomas Lipton allowed people of all social classes to participate in the festivities.

The highlight of the day included a six-mile procession from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London.  This procession included members of the Royal Family and government leaders of the self-governing and Indian states, accompanied by the British Army, Royal Navy, and colonial troops from Canada, India, Africa, and the Antipodes.

image source: BBC News
As the queen herself wrote about the procession: 
"No-one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those six miles of streets... The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching.

"The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with joy."
The aging Queen herself  could not participate much in the overall festivities due to arthritis, so the focus of the celebrations was more so on the greatness of the British Empire, according to Sully's article.

Read the article "Queen Victorian and Britain's First Diamond Jubilee" by clicking on the link.  It will be well worth the read.

1 comment:

  1. Did you watch any of the current diamond jubilee celebrations? The flotilla was quite interesting.