How Queen Elizabeth II Celebrated Her Last Three Jubilees

Queen Elizabeth II marks a unique milestone in the over 1,000-year history of the British monarchy this year as she is the first queen (or king) to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, ruling for over 70 years.

Elizabeth passed this milestone on February 6, 2022, 70 years after she learned that her father King George VI had died while she was on a royal tour in Kenya in 1952. The new queen, aged just 25, immediately returned home to Britain.

The seven decades of her reign have seen the queen act as head of state through many turbulent times in modern British history. The Cold War and the Falklands conflict, the end of empire and deadly pandemics have all occurred while she has been queen, to say nothing of the more personal problems such as the death of Princess Diana, the fire at Windsor Castle and scandals linked to Prince Andrew.

Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Balcony Waves
Queen Elizabeth II has celebrated her Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilee's with regal aplomb and public events which echo those planned for the Platinum Jubilee. (L) June 7, 1977. (C) June 4, 2002. (R) June 5, 2012. Fox Photos/Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images/Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Despite at times allowing the public to see how she truly felt—her annus horribilis speech in 1992 and tears shed at the decommissioning of the royal yacht Britannia being two such examples—Elizabeth II remains highly popular in Britain with her stoic and dutiful nature being widely praised.

The queen has celebrated three major jubilees during her reign, the Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. All have been marked with national celebrations such as foreign and domestic tours, services of thanksgiving and Buckingham Palace balcony appearances

Here, Newsweek looks at just how Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her landmark jubilees ahead of the long weekend of celebrations planned for the 70-year anniversary of her reign.

Silver Jubilee, 1977 (25 years)

The queen entered her 25th year on the throne in February 1977, a period of social and economic upheaval in Britain. Despite this, the anniversary, which had last been celebrated in 1935 by the queen's grandfather King George V, was marked with a large program of celebratory events.

The date of her accession to the throne was the first jubilee event to be marked with church services around Britain and the Commonwealth paying tribute to and giving thanks for the queen's reign.

Following this, the monarch and Prince Philip embarked on a two-month tour of the Commonwealth taking in visits to Fiji, New Zealand, Australia and India among others. Later in the year a second part of the tour was undertaken in Canada and the Caribbean.

Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee 1977 Celebrations
Queen Elizabeth II marked her Silver Jubilee with a river progress through London (L) 1977, and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral (R), June 7, 1977. Serge Lemoine/Getty Images/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A U.K tour was also undertaken in the three months that the queen was at home which included visits of 36 counties—more than any monarch in British history has visited in that amount of time.

The central celebrations of the anniversary known as the "Jubilee Days" took place in early June to coincide with the monarch's official birthday parade known as the Trooping of the Colour. The queen has two birthdays—her real one on April 21, and an official celebration, generally on the second Saturday of June.

A special bank holiday was scheduled for June 7, 1977, which saw a service of thanksgiving take place at St Paul's Cathedral, attended by the queen as well as by the extended royal family and world leaders.

A river progress followed on June 9, tracing the route of a similar journey undertaken by Queen Elizabeth I to Greenwich and on June 11 the Trooping of the Colour took place with a Buckingham Palace balcony appearance that followed.

In a special mark of commemoration for the Silver Jubilee the British government named a newly constructed line of the London Underground railway network the "Jubilee Line."

Golden Jubilee, 2002 (50 years)

Whereas the Silver Jubilee had come at a time of social and economic upheaval for Britain, the Golden Jubilee came at a time of great personal upheaval for Queen Elizabeth II.

On February 9, just three days into her 50th year on the throne the queen's only sister, Princess Margaret, died after a long illness. The loss of her sister was compounded for the queen when her 101-year-old mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, also died just one month later.

Despite this, a full year of commemorative events took place with the central weekend of London-based celebrations planned around the queen's official birthday in June.

Another tour of the Commonwealth was undertaken by the queen and Prince Philip iwith the couple traveling over 40,000 miles by air to Australia, Canada and the Caribbean.

Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee 2002
Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee celebrations included a pageant which took place along The Mall with Prince Philip. June 4, 2002. Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

In addition to the Trooping of the Colour ceremony and balcony appearance, a jubilee pageant took place along The Mall in London which culminated in another balcony appearance in front of thousands of well-wishers who turned out to see the queen.

A special "Party at the Palace" pop concert took place in the gardens of Buckingham Palace with performances from Elton John, Shirley Bassey and Ozzy Osbourne. The concert brought with it another jubilee honor for the queen who was awarded the first gold disk presented to a member of the royal family as sales of the concert's soundtrack sold 100,000 copies within a week of release.

For the traditional jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, the queen arrived in style in the Gold State Coach, which was made in 1760 for King George III and used by every successive monarch at their coronation.

Part of the central celebrations also included a dinner at Windsor Castle to which the queen invited monarchs from other European royal families.

Golden Jubilee Sovereigns Dinner Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II (C) invited the reigning sovereigns of Europe to celebrate her Golden Jubilee at Windsor Castle, June 17, 2002. Among the group include Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, King Carl Gustav of Sweden and King Harald of Norway. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Diamond Jubilee, 2012 (60 years)

The queen's diamond jubilee took place in a period of wider national celebrations happening in the year after the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton as well as the year in which the London 2012 Olympics were held.

A large-scale river pageant was one of the central events planned to mark the occasion with a flotilla of boats and barges processing down the Thames in London with the queen and Prince Philip, along with other members of the royal family, watching on.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee 2012
Queen Elizabeth II made a jubilee balcony appearance after the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral with Prince Charles and his family. June 5, 2012. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Outside Buckingham Palace, a Diamond Jubilee concert was held with performances from Paul McCartney and Grace Jones took place after which Prince Charles made a dedicatory speech opening with the line, "Your Majesty, Mummy."

The following day the service of thanksgiving took place at St Paul's Cathedral after which the queen appeared on Buckingham Palace's balcony with Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall as well as Kate Middleton, Prince William and Prince Harry.

An element of sadness cast a shadow over some of the events as Prince Philip was hospitalized following the river pageant, which saw the aged consort stand in the rain for hours. The prince made a quick recovery but did not attend the concert of thanksgiving service. The Diamond Jubilee marked the beginning of the prince's journey towards retirement in 2017.

Buckingham Palace Diamond Jubilee 2012
Crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. June 5, 2012. PETER MACDIARMID/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
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