Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee: Celebrating 60 years since accession

07:15 06 February 2012

Queen Elizabeth II church in Norfolk ahead of her Diamond Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II church in Norfolk ahead of her Diamond Jubilee

The Queen celebrates 60 years of service to the nation and Commonwealth today - her Diamond Jubilee.

For six decades the monarch has been an enduring figure in the life of the country as head of state.

February 6 - Accession Day - will be celebrated simply in Norfolk with a visit to King’s Lynn town hall and the nearby Dersingham Infant and Nursery School.

Her 60 years as queen will be marked by a series of regional, national and international events during 2012, culminating in a four-day long Bank Holiday weekend in June.

A spectacular River Thames pageant featuring a 1,000-strong flotilla and a St Paul’s Cathedral service of thanksgiving are some of the highlights of the weekend.

Britain’s head of state already has the status of being the longest serving monarch after Queen Victoria.

And like her great-great-grandmother, who reigned for more than 63 years, her many years on the throne have helped define an era.

When she acceded to the throne as a young woman following the death of her father, George VI, on February 6, 1952, the country was almost unrecognisable from today.

Britain was still gripped by rationing and the country bore the scars of six years of war.

Five years earlier, during a visit to South Africa, on her 21st birthday - April 21 - she had vowed to serve the Commonwealth.

She said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

The Queen, now in her 85th year, has remained true to her pledge and dedicated herself to the nation and beyond.

Over the decades Britain has undergone major transformations from technological advances like computers and supersonic flight to developments in society and the political landscape.

During her reign she has seen 11 prime ministers come and go with David Cameron her 12th, while Barack Obama is the 12th US president to hold office over the same period.

The Queen endured her “annus horribilis” in 1992, the year the Prince of Wales separated from Diana, the Duke of York split from Sarah, and the Princess Royal divorced Captain Mark Phillips.

And she faced the criticisms that followed the death of Diana in 1997 when she was accused of remaining too long in Balmoral rather than returning to London - the focus of public grief.

But her Golden Jubilee in 2002 was a momentous occasion and showed there was still a strong feeling of support for the Queen.

Public affection for the monarchy has been boosted over the past year following the marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the interest Catherine has generated in the royals.

The Diamond Jubilee is likely to be a high-water mark in the life of a woman who became Queen as a young woman and remained true to her ideals.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Friday, July 31, 2015
Brazil Day in Trafalgar Square is always a colourful event (Picture: Fernando Arroteia)

The Olympic Games are heading to Rio in 2016 (yes, we can’t believe it will be four years since London 2012 either) and the hype is already building. Join thousands in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Brazil Day and get a taste of what the vibrant country has to offer.

Friday, July 31, 2015
The cuddly toy 'mum' helps Edward to practise clinging and climbing as he would naturally (Photo: ZSL London Zoo)

A baby two-toed sloth is being hand-reared by keepers at ZSL London Zoo - and the pictures and video of him cuddling with his teddy-bear surrogate mum are almost too cute to bear.

Friday, July 31, 2015
Thornton Way in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Two women were attacked and made hostages in their own home in a terrifying raid on their Hampstead Garden Suburb house.

Friday, July 31, 2015
One of the men can be seen with a shotgun

This is the terrifying moment a masked gang armed with a shotgun and crowbars broke into a house in Gidea Park – after pulling up in a Porsche.

Friday, July 31, 2015
A 20-year-old has died after falling down a chimney at Great Cumberland Place, W1 (Picture: Street View)

A 20-year-old man died last night after falling backwards down the chimney of a seven-storey building metres from Marble Arch, police said.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Get your hands on some fresh trainers!

Need some new shoes to head to work or some new heels for a night on the cobbles? London24 has teamed up with online retailer Sole Trader to offer £100 worth of shoes to one lucky reader.

Read more
Take in the stunning sites of London from the summit of the O2!

Up at The O2 has teamed up with London24 to give one lucky reader the chance to experience urban mountaineering this summer with an exhilarating 90-minute climb across the roof of one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Read more
Terrific tea, creamy cakes and splendid sandwiches at Mews of Mayfair.

Celebrate a truly quintessentially British tradition with the chance of winning a luxurious Afternoon Tea for two people at Mews of Mayfair, complete with a glass of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

Read more