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The Queen’s five jubilees

Reading time: 4'14"

As the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms mourn the sad loss of their queen in September 2022 after coins and banknotes featuring her effigy have circulated for the past seven decades, here comes an unmissable monetary retrospective via a series of articles dedicated to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen’s five jubilees

Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI, and reigned for 70 years.

That is seven years longer than the previous holder of the record for longevity of reign in her country: her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

The anniversary of the monarch’s reign in office is celebrated on the second Saturday in June every year in the United Kingdom, a tradition introduced by her great-grandfather Edward VII.

In addition to this anniversary, there are also jubilees marking specific periods of reign. Over the course of 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated no fewer than five!

1 – 1977: Silver Jubilee

In 1977, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 25 years on the throne with great pomp and circumstance.

France Medal

French Fifth Republic, Politics, Society, War, 1977, EF(40-45)

Coin Isle of Man

Elizabeth II, Crown, 1977, Pobjoy Mint, MS(63), Silver

United Kingdom Medal

Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee, 1977, AU(55-58)

The Queen set off on a tour of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, receiving a warm and enthusiastic welcome wherever she went. In total, she traveled more than 90,000 km that year.

That same year, the Sex Pistols released their mocking and vindictive single “God Save the Queen”.

In London, more than a million people gathered to see the Queen’s carriage pass by. Splendid commemorative coins were issued.

Coin Canada

Elizabeth II, 100 Dollars, 1977, Ottawa, 1/2 Oz, MS(65-70), Gold


2 – 1992: Ruby Jubilee

While the Silver Jubilee had been a festive occasion, the Ruby Jubilee, celebrating 40 years on the throne, was not red but rather well and truly black.

Although this jubilee was not a cause of great celebration like in 1977, the United Kingdom minted commemorative coins and the Royal Australian Mint even issued a set called “The Royal Ladies” (currently unavailable on our website, but you can submit a request to our experts here).

The same year saw the Queen return to Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, with some events and galas also being held in the United Kingdom. One notable occasion was that of November 24, when the Queen gave her famous speech describing 1992 as an “annus horribilis”. 

Great Britain Token

2009, Château de Windsor, AU(55-58), Cupro-nickel

It should be noted that 1992 saw divorces and separations within the royal family, followed by the revelation of Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and, finally, the fire at Windsor Castle, which broke out just days before the Queen’s famous speech.

3 – 2002: Golden Jubilee

50 years on the throne!

Once again, Queen Elizabeth II undertook a grand tour across the world, covering more than 60,000 km this time.

The six official themes of this exceptional jubilee were: Celebration, Giving Thanks, Service, Involving the Whole Community, Looking Forward as Well as Back, and the Commonwealth.

Coin Canada

Elizabeth II, 10 Cents, 2002, Royal Canadian Mint, EF(40-45)

Coin Canada

Elizabeth II, Dollar, 2002, Royal Canadian Mint, MS(63), Silver

 

From left to right: The prime minister at the time, Tony Blair, and the former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath, James Callaghan, and John Major.

The weekend of the jubilee played host to a wide range of festivities and, once again, saw more than a million people gather in celebration.

4 – 2012: Diamond Jubilee!

And then 60!

United Kingdom Medal

Diamond Jubilee of her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II

United Kingdom Medal

Diamond Jubilee of her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II

Cook Islands Medal

Elizabeth II, 1 Dollar, Diamond Jubilee, 2011, MS(65-70)

Coin BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Dollar, 2012, Franklin Mint, Elizabeth II -

United Kingdom Medal

Diamond Jubilee of her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II

Prince William became the proud husband of Catherine Middleton, and the newlyweds attended the celebrations, which included fireworks, candlelight vigils, a tour of the country, a river parade on the Thames, and concerts. In the same year, London hosted the Olympic Games.

Coin France

100 Francs-15 Ecus, 1994, Paris, Big Ben, MS(65-70), Silver

Last but not least, the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster, home to Big Ben, was renamed Elizabeth Tower in honor of the Queen.

5 – 2022: Platinum Jubilee

2022 is the year of the Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms’ Platinum Jubilee, also marking the longest reign of all time (70 years) after that of the French king Louis XIV (72 years).

Coin Great Britain

50 Pence, 2019, Paddington - Cathédrale Saint Paul

Despite ailing health, she made an appearance on the balcony at Buckingham Palace and participated in a humorous video clip with Paddington Bear.

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8 at the age of 96, just over a year after her husband, Prince Philip.

Her eldest son acceded to the throne as King Charles III.

United Kingdom Medal

Queen Elisabeth II, House of Windsor, Politics, 2016

 

Translated from the French by: Michael Wright


Iconography

  • Her Majesty The Queen at the unveiling of a scented garden for the blind, Haverstoe Park, Cleethorpes – 1977 – East Riding Archives – CC license
  • Queen Elizabeth II opening the beehive – New Zealand – 1977 – Archives New Zealand – CC2 license
  • Portrait of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in state government office in Dubbo, NSW, Australia, 2022 – CC4 license – Photography by Kgboo
  • Queen Elizabeth II with her British prime ministers during her Golden Jubilee – 2002 – UK Government – CC3 license

 

Sources

Selection published on 28/09/2022