During the summer months The Queen embarked on a large scale tour, having decided that she wished to mark her jubilee by meeting as many of her people as possible. No other Sovereign had visited so much of Britain in the course of just three months – the six jubilee tours in the UK and Northern Ireland covered 36 counties. The tours continued throughout England and Wales – in Lancashire over a million people turned out on one day – before culminating in a visit to Northern Ireland.
Official overseas visits were also made to Western Samoa, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the West Indies. During the year it was estimated that The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled 56,000 miles.
The climax of the national celebrations came in early June. On the evening of Monday 6 June, The Queen lit a bonfire beacon at Windsor which started a chain of beacons across the country. On Tuesday 7 June, vast crowds saw The Queen drive in the Gold State Coach to St Paul’s Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving attended by heads of state from around the world and former prime ministers of the UK.
Afterwards The Queen and members of the Royal Family attended a lunch at the Guildhall, in which The Queen made a speech. She declared, ‘My Lord Mayor, when I was twenty-one I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God’s help to make good that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgement, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.’
An estimated 500 million people watched on television as the procession returned down the Mall. Back at Buckingham Palace, The Queen made several balcony appearances. Street parties and village parties started up all over the country: in London alone 4,000 were reported to have been held.
The final event of the central week of celebrations was a river progress down the Thames from Greenwich to Lambeth on Thursday 9 June, emulating the ceremonial barge trips of Elizabeth I. After The Queen had opened the Silver Jubilee Walkway and the new South Bank Jubilee Gardens, the journey ended with a firework display, and a procession of lighted carriages took The Queen back to Buckingham Palace for more balcony appearances to a cheering crowd.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness visited Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia and Canada as well as every region of the UK, from Falmouth in Cornwall to the Isle of Skye
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Appeal was set up in 1977, and gave the nation an opportunity to show its affection for Her Majesty and its gratitude for her dedicated service over 25 years. The Queen chose that the Appeal should focus on raising funds to support young people and, in particular, on encouraging and helping young people to serve others in the community. The Queen’s Silver Jubilee Trust (now operating simply as The Queen’s Trust) has made grants of over ?80m, funding projects that help young people help others. Its emphasis is in education and personal development, in and out of school, in low-income communities across the UK. For more information, please visit
The Golden Jubilee
A packed programme of events took place in 2002 to celebrate fifty years of The Queen’s reign. Six key Jubilee themes shaped events: Celebration, Community, Service, Past and future, Giving thanks and Commonwealth.
The Queen and The Duke charmdate giriÅŸ of Edinburgh undertook extensive tours of the Commonwealth and the UK, leading to an extraordinarily busy year for the royal couple.