The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is a multinational celebration throughout 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952. She is today queen regnant of 16 sovereign states, 12 of which were British colonies or Dominions at the start of her reign.
Queen Victoria is the only other monarch in the histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a few other Commonwealth realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee, which she did in in 1897. Following the tradition of jubilees past, a Diamond Jubilee medal is being awarded in various countries and holidays and events will be held throughout the Commonwealth. Plans were discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011.
Commonwealth-wide and beyondEdit
In February 2012, a senior advisor was quoted as saying the Queen set two guidelines for the planning of her jubilee: the use of public funds should be minimised, and people should not "be forced to celebrate".
At the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which was officially launched in the UK on 6 February 2012. Chaired by former British prime minister Sir John Major, the trust is intended to support charitable organisations and projects across the Commonwealth of Nations, focusing on areas such as cures for diseases and the promotion of all types of culture and education. In early 2012, Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard announced the Australian Crown-in-Council would make an A$5.4 million contribution (approx £3.5 million) to the Diamond Jubilee Trust. The New Zealand Crown-in-Council later made a $1 million donation to the fund. The Canadian government announced in April that former prime minister Jean Chrétien would be Canada's representative to the trust.
The first major event of the jubilee celebrations was the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, also branded The World Comes to Windsor, a cavalcade held at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen's visits to and tours of over 250 countries and her passion for horses. The show, which featured 550 horses and 1,100 performers from around the world, was performed on the evenings of 10, 11, 12 and 13 May, after the daytime events of the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show had taken place. The Queen attended the final night.
On 18 May, the Queen hosted an informal lunch at Windsor Castle for more than twenty current or former monarchs from other countries. In the evening of the same day, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall hosted a dinner that most of the monarchs also attended, although the Queen herself was not present. Criticism was directed at the presence of the King of Bahrain at the lunch, because of alleged repression of protests against the government of Bahrain in that country in 2011. In London, protesters against the King assembled outside Buckingham Palace during the dinner, although he did not attend that event.
On 2 June, Google displayed a Google Doodle for the Diamond Jubilee featuring the Queen's profile, corgis and diamonds.
The River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was held on 3 June; a maritime parade of 1,000 boats from around the Commonwealth — the largest flotilla seen on the river in 350 years — together with other celebrations along the river banks. Heavy rain started during the event, and the commemorative airforce flyover at the end was cancelled due to very low cloud base and bad visibility at ground level. The event was attended by various governors-general from the Commonwealth realms other than the UK.
Members of the Royal Family, governors-general, and prime ministers from the Commonwealth realms attended various events on 4 and 5 June: A reception was held at Buckingham Palace before the Diamond Jubilee Concert; a service of thanksgiving took place the following day at St. Paul's Cathedral, also attended by 2,000 other guests; a reception was held at London's Guildhall; and a luncheon took place at Lancaster House, hosted by the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Another reception solely for governors-general was held by the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The Queen's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was hospitalised with a bladder infection on 4 June and thus was not able to attend any of the official events. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, stated after visiting his father that the latter was watching the celebrations via Skype.
The lighting of thousands of beacons across the Commonwealth took place on 4 June. The number of beacons was originally set at 2,012; by the closing date for registrations, approximately 4,000 had been submitted in the United Kingdom alone. The first beacon of the Jubilee was lit on the grounds of Apifo'ou College in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga, by Tongan girl scouts and boy scouts using coconut sheath torches. Other nations including Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, India, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and several Caribbean states took part in the beacon lighting. The world's most remote beacon was lit in Tristan da Cunha in the south Atlantic, using invasive, non-native plants to fuel the fire. In the United Kingdom, British servicemen and women wounded in battle and individuals representing charities will carry beacons to the summits of the UK's four highest peaks. One beacon was lit at Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park in Kenya, where the Queen was at the moment of her accession to the throne. The Queen lit the beacon outside Buckingham Palace at 10:30 pm, by inserting a large, specially made, diamond-cut crystal into a receptacle. The lighting proceeded until the final beacon was lit in Canada eight hours later.
Quentin Bryce, the Governor-General of Australia, announced that the Diamond Jubilee would be celebrated "with a host of national and community events throughout the Commonwealth." In that vein, it was said in late 2011 that the government of Queensland was planning to declare a holiday in June 2012 to mark the jubilee and that Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, would tour the country.
A detachment of the New South Wales Mounted Police represented Australia at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant held at Windsor.
The Prince of Wales attended a Jubilee reception for all living Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients in London in which he welcomed new Australian member Corporal Ben Roberts Smith VC to the celebrations.
During the central Jubilee weekend in London, the Australian Governor-General, Quentin Bryce was present at the Saint Paul's Cathedral thanksgiving service. The Governor-General also attended a dinner hosted by the Queen at Buckingham House for all Commonwealth Governors-General.
The Royal Australian Mint announced in August 2011 that it would be releasing a silver proof 50-cent coin to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
A special ecumenical service to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne was conducted in St James' Church, Sydney. The invited preacher was Cardinal George Pell and the Governor of New South Wales, Marie Bashir, was the guest of honour.
The Anglican Church of Australia held a service of Prayer and Thanksgiving to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane on the 20th of May 2012. The service was welcomed by Phillip Aspinall, Anglican Archbishop of Brisbane and the Homily was given by Mark Coleridge, Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane. The guest of honour was the Governor of Queensland, Penelope Wensley, and Ian Walker, MP represented the Government of Queensland.
Paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Australia in the Australian House of Representatives in Canberra on 6 February 2012, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated the Queen was a revered figure in Australia. Gillard also announced that she would on 4 June light a beacon atop Parliament House and a street in the parliamentary triangle in Canberra would be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace. Meanwhile, Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett announced on 28 May that a new waterfront development in Perth would be named Elizabeth Quay in her honour. By coincidence the Jubilee Weekend coincided with the inaugural Western Australia Day Public Holiday in Western Australia.
Prince Harry toured The Bahamas. There, he attended a reception for youth leaders and met with Governor-General of the Bahamas Sir Arthur Foulkes. The Prince attended an outdoor ceremony where children's schools, clubs, and associations presented themselves and delivered a speech at Government House, where he stated "I stand before you with a deep sense of pride at being asked to convey to you a message of good wishes from The Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee." He also took part in maritime exercises organised by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and toured Harbour Island.
To mark Elizabeth II's 60 years as Barbados' monarch — as Queen of the United Kingdom between 1952 and 1966 and as Queen of Barbados thereafter — the country hosted the Queen's youngest son and his wife, Earl and Countess of Wessex between 23 and 24 February. The tour began with Their Royal Highnesses arriving, aboard RFA Fort Rosalie, at the Deep Water Harbour of Bridgetown. At the port, Barbadian military personnel were given inspection. The Earl read to a joint sitting of the Parliament of Barbados a written message from the Queen, in which the monarch stated she has taken note of the level of development Barbados had achieved during its 45 years of independence and called the country a model small state for others around the world. Parliamentary officials responded with thanks to the Queen for her service to the country and Barbadians and invited her to the island to celebrate the 375th anniversary of the establishment of the Barbadian parliament in 2014. The visiting royal couple opened an exhibit at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, and an official state dinner and reception was held at Government House in the evening.
The following day, the Countess visited the Albert C. Graham Children's Development Centre at Ladymeade Gardens, while the Earl presented eight Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Awards to Barbadian youth at a dedication ceremony. Directly following, the couple travelled together to a ceremony to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, where a plaque was unveiled at the Kensington Oval cricket stadium. Other events included Their Royal Highnesses lunching with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at his residence, Ilaro Court, and touring several areas of Bridgetown that were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 2011.
As in other Commonwealth realms, a set of commemorative Diamond Jubilee stamps were released by the Barbados Postal Service. An ecumenical thanksgiving service was held at the St. Mary's Anglican Church in Bridgetown on 3 June and a beacon lighting at the Garrison Savannah the following day, where an official Trooping of the Colour was performed by the Barbados Defence Force and military tattoo performed by the Royal Barbados Police Force. Members of the Barbados Boys Scout Association with high honours were chosen to aid in the actual beacon lighting.
In Belize, the Governor-General-in-Council and the Belize Tourism Board organised a tour of the country by Prince Harry, between 2 and 3 March 2012, as part of the country's celebrations of Elizabeth II's 60th year as monarch of Belize, first as Queen of the United Kingdom and then, after 1981, as Queen of Belize. Harry visited Belmopan and San Ignacio where ceremonies and events had less emphasis on state protocol. In the capital, Harry unveiled a series of commemorative stamps issued by the Belize Postal Service, attended the city's street festival, and dedicated a street as Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard, where he delivered a speech on the sovereign's behalf. The following day, the Prince journeyed to the OAS Adjacency Zone on the Belize-Guatemala border, where he participated in a cultural programme and toured an immigration facility. He also visited Xunantunich and there met children involved with the Belize Special Olympics Programme and presented a canoe to the Ruta Maya Organization in commemoration of the diamond jubilee. Harry further visited the Price Barracks, where he met members of the Belize Coast Guard Service and Belize Defence Force and laid a wreath at the monument to British soldiers killed while on service in Belize.
Forethought about the anniversary began as early as April 2007, when then-Secretary of State for Canadian Heritage (now Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) Jason Kenney requested that the various lieutenant governors begin preparations for the jubilee. Three years later, the question of a national holiday to mark the jubilee was raised in the media and a series of official announcements were made by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The Secretary to the Queen, Kevin S. MacLeod, was charged by the Governor General-in-Council to head the Diamond Jubilee Committee (DJC)—a 14-member group of individuals drawn from the provincial and territorial governments, non-governmental organisations, officials from the Departments of Citizenship and Immigration, National Defence, and Canadian Heritage (DCH), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police—which is overseeing the organisation of the country's fêtes for Elizabeth II's 60 years as Queen of Canada. Similarly, Premier of Alberta Ed Stelmach in February 2011 tasked the Alberta Chief of Protocol and the Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta to form and head a committee to develop plans for Alberta's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. As with other royal events, the DCH will play a large role in organisation and planning. $7.5 million of resources granted to the DCH in the previous budget approved by the federal parliament has been allocated for federal jubilee celebrations, education and awareness, and distribution to community groups; $2 million is for events in the Queen's honour and $3.7 million is allocated for the Diamond Jubilee medal. The total amount was reduced by Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore from the DJC's original estimate of $8.8 million.
A corbel within the Sovereigns' Arches of the federal parliament's Senate foyer was sculpted into a rendition of the Queen and unveiled on 9 December 2010 by Governor General of Canada David Johnston. The Royal Canadian Mint also issued an "extensive set" of coins to mark the anniversary. Further, the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery (RRCA) in 2011 presented the Queen, their captain-general since 1952, with a diamond and gold brooch, made by Birks & Mayors in the form of the regiment's cap badge, and announced the creation of The Captain General's Diamond Jubilee Bursary Award for educational activities of members of the RRCA and family.
During her tour of Canada in mid-2010, the Queen on 3 July dedicated the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens outside her official residence in Manitoba and there planted an Amber Jubilee Ninebark shrub, the cultivar having been created specifically for the Diamond Jubilee. At Rideau Hall in Ottawa, she also on 30 June unveiled a commemorative stained glass window showing herself and Queen Victoria with their respective royal cyphers and renditions of the Centre Block of the Canadian parliament during the reign of each monarch. The window, a gift from the Senate, was installed above the Senate entrance to the Centre Block and dedicated by the Governor General on 7 February 2012.
Diamond Jubilee WeekEdit
A Diamond Jubilee Week began on Accession Day (6 February) 2012. That day, the Queen's personal standard for Canada was unfurled in Ottawa, both at the monarch's residence Rideau Hall and on Parliament Hill, as well as at provincial royal residences and legislatures across the country; permission was granted by the Queen to break the usual protocol of flying the banner only where the sovereign is personally present. At noon on the same day, the Peace Tower carillon played a tribute to the Queen. The Prime Minister and the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada issued statements commending the Queen for her six decades of "dedicated service to our country, to the Commonwealth and to the world."
Also on 6 February, the first of the 60,000 Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals to be distributed to citizens and permanent residents were handed out; 60 individuals were given theirs personally by the Governor General at Rideau Hall. Federal Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Plamondon, along with other members of the Quebec separatist Bloc Québécois, refused his medal and stated the money being spent by the Crown on jubilee events and markers was a waste. Citizens for a Canadian Republic claimed that day that the government's spending of money on the Queen's jubilee was to be expected "from the personality cult dynasties of North Korea or Syria, not Canada." The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society claimed it will stage "counter-celebrations".
In Nova Scotia, the provincial government announced the establishment of educational programmes, related to the Queen and her role in Canadian government, and the one-time award of the $2000 Diamond Jubilee Award Scholarship to 60 Grade 12 students in the province. There and in other provinces, various events were held on Accession Day and other days during the week.
After the end of Diamond Jubilee Week, further governmental events took place in Canada and abroad: At the opening of the British Columbia legislature on 14 February, the province's lieutenant governor, Steven Point, along with Premier Christy Clark and parliamentary officials, presided over a ceremony at the parliament buildings that marked the Diamond Jubilee. The Speaker of the Senate, Noël Kinsella, and Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, were received by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 21 February 2012, where they presented a loyal address to the sovereign. And Lieutenant Governor of Ontario David Onley mounted at the viceregal suite at the Ontario Legislative Building an exhibition entitled 60 in 60, to "show six decades of Her Majesty's devotion and service to Canada."
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, toured parts of the country in May, making stops in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. In an editorial he wrote for The Globe and Mail, Charles stated he wanted his activities during the tour to reflect the jubilee's "central theme of service to others" and expressed that he was "returning to Canada in this special Jubilee year, to renew my own pledge of service and to encourage others to consider how they might contribute their own particular talent". In that vein, he in all three provinces visited with people associated with his organisation The Prince's Charities Canada and presented Diamond Jubilee Medals to recipients.
The couple arrived at Saint John Airport on the evening of 20 May. The following day, they were formally welcomed to Canada by the Governor General and met at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown with young Canadian Forces veterans and mentors involved in the Military Entrepreneurship program before moving on to Saint John. There, they undertook a walking tour of Prince William Street to observe heritage projects and meet the 2002 Committee for the Prince of Wales Municipal Heritage Leadership Prize, participated in a citizenship ceremony, attended Victoria Day events, and opened the Diamond Jubilee IT Centre at Hazen-White-St. Francis School. They then flew on to Toronto to meet with emergency workers and their families and observe the annual fireworks show at Ashbridges Bay that marks Victoria Day and the Queen's official Canadian birthday.
On 22 May, the couple attended an event at Queen's Park, hosted by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. After, the Duchess of Cornwall visited The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, of which she is colonel-in-chief, laying at the armoury a wreath in memory of fallen Canadian soliers, while the Prince of Wales saw the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University, toured the construction site of the athletes' village for the 2015 Pan American Games (where Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty announced a portion of Front Street running through the village would be named Diamond Jubilee Promenade), visited theYonge Street Mission, and met with the national leadership of the Assembly of First Nations. The couple also attended a luncheon hosted by the government of Ontario and participated at Fort York in a Canadian Forces event commemorating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, the Prince there wearing his uniform of a lieutenant-general of the Canadian Army.
They arrived in Regina on 23 May and marked the centenary of Saskatchewan's legislative building, participated in a reception held by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan at Government House, toured the First Nations University of Canada, and visited an environmentally friendly water purification plant. In the evening, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attended at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Depot Division Drill Hall a performance of the Regina Symphony Orchestra, of which Prince Charles is patron. There, the Prime Minister announced that Charles was to be appointed Honorary Commissioner of the RCMP, taking the post from his mother, the Queen, who was to become the RCMP's Commissioner-in-Chief.
New Democratic Party MP Pat Martin, an open anti-monarchist, stated in the House of Commons that the tour was "a bread-and-circuses routine" intended to distract from cuts to the federal civil service. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore, said the tour would be the "least expensive for taxpayers" of those that had taken place since 2009.
After performing in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle, members of the equestrian Musical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) on 23 May, at the Queen's request, took part in the Changing of the Guard as they formed the Queen's Life Guard outside Buckingham Palace for 24 hours. Said by the contingent's commander to be a "way for Canada and the Mounties to salute her Majesty the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year", it was the second time the RCMP had performed the task, the first being in 1897 (when the force was named the Northwest Mounted Police), as a part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria.
In the federal parliament on 31 May, a loyal address to the Queen was passed. The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba held a Diamond Jubilee garden party at the province's Government House on 26 May. The Royal British Columbia Museum on 1 June opened an exhibition of approximately 100 Cecil Beaton photographs of Elizabeth II throughout her life.
In the United Kingdom, Canada House, the location of the Canadian High Commission to that country, held a Big Jubilee Lunch on 3 June and two beacons were lit on the building's roof the following evening, the night of the Diamond Jubilee Concert. Governor General Johnston attended both events and Prime Minister Harper was at the latter. Harper was also granted an audience with the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 5 June, after which he, the Governor General, and Queen Elizabeth unveiled a new portrait of the sovereign commissioned by the federal Crown-in-Council. The image depicts Elizabeth wearing her insignia as Sovereign of the Order of Canada and Order of Military Merit and standing in Rideau Hall beside a desk upon which is a copy of the Constitution Act, 1867 (granted Royal Assent by Queen Victoria and patriated by Queen Elizabeth), and a vase embossed with the Canadian Diamond Jubilee emblem; behind the Queen is the Canadian natonal flag and George Hayter's 1837 state portrait of Victoria. The creation of this portrait by Toronto painter Phil Richards is the subject of a National Film Board of Canada (NFB) documentary directed by Hubert Davis, which will be released in the fall of 2012 as part of the NFB's Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Collector’s Edition.
A team of Canadian and British mountaineers reached the summit of Mount Barbeau, in Canada's arctic, by 3 June and there held a tea party in celebration of the jubilee. From the summit, they sent a loyal greeting to the Queen via satellite, to which the monarch promised to reply.
The Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan will hold a garden party at Government House on Canada Day and a conference on the Canadian Crown will be conducted on 25 October. Communities across Canada are also planning events to mark the jubilee.
Prince Harry toured Jamaica between 5 and 8 March 2012, participating in various events marking his grandmother's Diamond Jubilee as Jamaica's queen regnant, first as Queen of the United Kingdom, between 1952 and 1962, and subsequently as Queen of Jamaica (Jamaica will also thus be concurrently celebrating 50 years of independence). During the tour, the Prince partook in military exercises with the Jamaica Defence Force, visited Bustamante Hospital for Children and, in Trelawny Parish, visited Water Square, Falmouth Pier, and the William Knibb Baptist Church, where he paid respect at the William Knibb memorial. The Prince attended an event for the charity Rise Life, ran with Usain Bolt at the latter's training ground at the University of the West Indies, Mona. There, he was also named an Honorary Fellow of the university. A Jamaica Night reception was held at the Royal Caribbean Hotel in Montego Bay and Governor-General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen hosted a dinner at King's House as a combined celebration of the Diamond Jubilee and Jamaica's 50th anniversary of independence. The Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, stated the tour was intended to "highlight the country's tourism developments on the North Coast and the important work being done in the area of youth and children".
The Governor-General and his wife travelled to London, United Kingdom (UK), to partake in various events there in June, including a reception held by the High Commissioner of Jamaica to the UK.
In New Zealand, the Clerk of the Executive Council, Rebecca Kitteridge is overseeing the organisation of that country's celebrations of Elizabeth's 60 years as Queen of New Zealand.
Sir Jerry Mateparae, the Governor-General of New Zealand, unveiled New Zealand's Diamond Jubilee emblem and announced a full programme would be announced in due course. New Zealand Post and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand announced in January 2012 the release a silver proof dollar coin to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the following month the Ministry for Culture and Heritage added Crown-related entries to Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and an essay on the jubilee to NZ.History.net.nz. The Governor-General-in-Council also launched, via the Ministry of Health, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Research Grant, "seeking to purchase research projects that transfer knowledge from initiatives with proven effectiveness, into practice in the health sector".
The New Zealand Army Band took part in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant held at Windsor. The Band also took part in the changing of guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Jubilee.
The Prime Minister, John Key, moved a motion in the House of Representatives congratulating the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee on 7 February.
Other Caribbean and West Indies realmsEdit
The Queen's realms throughout the Caribbean and West Indies are planning a number of Diamond Jubilee events. Using RFAFort Rosalie, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, will visit other Caribbean realms, including: Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, and Saint Lucia.
Saint Kitts and NevisEdit
Historical re-enactments were put on in Saint Kitts and Nevis for the Earl and Countess of Wessex, who arrived on 3 March 2012. There, the couple met with Governor-General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, and other dignitaries, watched cultural shows (including the performance of a calypso song about the Queen), and the Earl unveiled a plaque commemorating the Diamond Jubilee and officially designated the Basseterre Valley Park as the Royal Basseterre Valley Park. They also visited Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and the children's ward of the JNF Hospital and the Children's Home before attending a state dinner and fireworks display at Port Zante.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex arrived in Saint Lucia on 21 February 2012 and there participated in Independence Day celebrations and attended receptions held by the Governor-General of Saint Lucia. They also visited the Association of Saint Lucia and the Saint Lucia School of Music.
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesEdit
In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a Diamond Jubilee Celebrations Committee was established to oversee events staged to mark, between February and June 2012, the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II's accession as queen regnant of the country, from 1952 to 1979 as Queen of the United Kingdom and thereafter as Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The committee head, former Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste, stated the aim was to "showcase what we have to offer, as well as our loyalty to the Parliament..." The Earl and Countess of Wessex, aboard RFA Fort Rosalie, arrived for their tour of country on 25 February and visited the restored Botanic Gardens St. Vincent and planted a Pink Poui tree, attended an official lunch at Government House, and planted Royal Palms on the Grenadines.
Trade unionist Noel Jackson said he heard displeasure expressed by Vincentians towards the royal tour and that "a lot of people were cursing." Senator Julian Francis, the General Secretary of the governing Unity Labour Party, stated the public reaction to the presence of the royal couple "confirmed to me that we could not have won the 2009 referendum on a republic. The outpouring of the people in St. Vincent to come and greet Prince Edward yesterday confirmed to me that people, in the majority in St. Vincent, still want the monarchy... It was like a carnival in town yesterday."
A Diamond Jubilee Lecture has been set to be delivered in March, a flower show and tea party will be held at Government House on 4 and 5 May, a stamp exhibition will be mounted at the National Trust headquarters and an exhibition of photographs of the Queen in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the National Public Library. A Queen's Birthday parade will take place, as will a Diamond Jubilee Beacon Event on 4 June, part of the wider plan to light such beacons at the same time across the Commonwealth.
In the United Kingdom, national and regional events to mark the Diamond Jubilee are being coordinated by the Queen-in-Council and her Royal Household at Buckingham Palace. As with the Golden Jubilee in 2002, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for coordinating the Cabinet-led aspects of the celebrations. Events are being planned so as to keep the use of tax money to a minimum; most funds used to fund celebrations are being drawn from private donors and sponsors. Only the cost of security is to be borne by Her Majesty's Treasury. The British logo for the Diamond Jubilee was selected through a contest held by the BBC children's programme Blue Peter; the winning design, announced in February 2011, was created by ten-year-old Katherine Dewar. Drupal, a free open-source content management system, was used for the official website.
On 5 January 2010, the Lord President of the Council and Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced that an extra bank holiday would take place on 5 June 2012. By moving the Spring Bank Holiday (the last Monday in May) to 4 June, this will result in a four-day holiday in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. As national holidays are a devolved matter, Scotland's first minister confirmed that the bank holiday would be held on 5 June in Scotland. Some economists later theorised that the holiday could reduce the country's gross domestic product by 0.5% in the second quarter of the year, though this would be partially offset by increased sales for the hospitality and merchandise sectors.
Many events were staged in London during the bank holiday weekend. The River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant was held on 3 June. The Diamond Jubilee Concert, with a preceding afternoon picnic in the palace gardens for the 10,000 concert ticket holders, was held the following day, in front of Buckingham Palace, and featured acts representing each decade of the Queen's 60 year reign.
Street parties were permitted to take place across the country. Special community lottery grants, called The Jubilee People's Millions, are being offered by the Big Lottery Fund and ITV.
The final day of the official Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations included a morning Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, attended by the Queen and members of the royal family. Will Todd's anthem The Call of Wisdom, commissioned especially for this event, was performed by the Diamond Choir made up of about 40 children from all around the UK. The Service of Thanksgiving was followed by two receptions, a lunch at Westminster Hall, a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace and finally a balcony appearance, a feu de joie and a flypast by the Red Arrows and historic aircraft, including the last flying Lancaster bomber in Britain.
The anti-monarchy campaign group Republic criticised the allocation of funds for jubilee events while cuts were made elsewhere, warned that schools could be in breach of the law by celebrating the jubilee without teaching about republican perspectives, and accused the BBC of bias in favour of the Queen. The group held a protest at the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.
To mark the jubilee, the Queen has bestowed Royal Borough status on Greenwich, in southeast London. In addition, a competition was held to grant in 2012 city status to towns and either a lord mayoralty or lord provostship to one city. City status was awarded to Chelmsford in England, Perth in Scotland and St Asaph in Wales. Armagh was awarded the Lord Mayoralty. The Olympic park in East London, created for the 2012 London Olympics, will be named the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park following the Olympics. Further, the Woodland Trust has made plans to establish 60 Jubilee woodlands during 2011 and 2012, one of which is to be 500 acres and the remainder 60 acres each.
A stained glass window, paid for by MPs and members of the House of Lords, was unveiled in the Queen's presence at Westminster Hall in March 2012. In addition, a majority of MPs have endorsed a proposal to name the clock tower of Westminster Palace that houses Big Ben, the Elizabeth Tower.
On Accession Day, 6 February, a 62-gun salute was mounted on the banks of the River Thames, near the Tower of London and the Queen made a visit to Norfolk, one of the first places the monarch visited after acceding to the throne. Later in the month, Queen Elizabeth attended a multi-faith (Bahá'í, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Zoroastrian) reception held at the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lambeth Palace, in honour of the jubilee.
The Queen addressed both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall on 20 March 2012. Also in March, the Royal Commonwealth Society launched the Jubilee Time Capsule to mark the jubilee. The British Broadcasting Corporation and Andrew Marr created the television documentary The Diamond Queen, in which various members of the Royal Family and current and former politicians spoke about the sovereign and her life. The documentary was criticised by the campaign group Republic, which argued that it breached BBC guidelines on impartiality.
At Buckingham Palace, a display of the Queen's diamonds will be opened to the public. On 4 June, the bells in each of the 34 church bell towers along the River Welland valley will ring in succession, ending with the ringing of the bell at Fosdyke 60 times.
On 19 May, the Queen attended the Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade and Muster, the British Armed Forces' own tribute to the monarch, in Windsor Castle and nearby Home Park. The first time all three services had assembled for the Queen for such an event at the same time, it featured military reviews and a 2,500 strong military parade through the town, as well as a military flypast featuring 78 aircraft.
On 19 May 2012, The Queen attended the Diamond Jubilee Armed Forces Parade and Muster at Windsor Castle. The parade featured 2600 Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force soldiers, sailors and airmen. This was followed by a Drum Head Service and a Royal Air Force fly past.
Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, toured the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in March 2012. On Montserrat, he met participants in the Sailability BVI programme, including Special Olympics medallists, and staff and associates of the Eslyn Henley Ritchie Learning Centre, BVI Technical and Vocational Institute, BVI Services, and the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, will visit the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, between 11–13 June 2012, and Montserrat. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation expressed "upset and concern" about the couple's tour of Gibraltar, which Spain claims as Spanish territory.
Other Commonwealth countriesEdit
Visits are planned by Princess Anne to Zambia and Mozambique, while the Duke of Gloucester will make official visits to Uganda and Malta. In Asia, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, will visit India, while Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will make visits to Malaysia and Singapore.
South Africa, one of the original Dominions at the time of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, left the Commonwealth while ruled by the Apartheid Era National Party Government on 31 May 1961, and rejoined on 1 June 1994 after the first democratic election. Two significant functions to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in South Africa will be held in Cape Town.
The British Consulate in Cape Town, in conjunction with the Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust will host a firing of ancient muzzle loading cannons at East Fort in Hout Bay, which once formed part of the multiple defences of the historic Cape of Good Hope. The fort was established during the period of Dutch control of the Cape in 1781 and was greatly extended after the British took over the Cape in 1795 and subsequently in 1806 The Hout Bay and Llandudno Heritage Trust has restored the Fort’s original Swedish made 18 pounder muzzle loading cannons dating from 1752 and will fire two rolling salvo salutes, of six cannon shots each, in the Queen’s honour and in recognition of the bond of friendship between South Africa and Great Britain. The South African Navy Band will be in attendance and the guns will be fired by VIPs who will be guided by gunners of the "Honourable Order of Hout Bay Artillerymen".
The Heritage Trust has held firings for numerous events, including previous functions associated with Britain, India, Holland, France and during a visit of a NATO fleet to Cape Town, the most recent being the visit of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Montrose in February 2012.
The Trust believes that the Hout Bay Battery is the oldest frequently used working battery of original muzzle loading cannons in the world.
The second function will be held at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in the heart of the historic Port of Cape Town which has a long-standing relationship with the British monarchy, dating back to 1870, when Prince Alfred opened the Breakwater Basin, today part of the V&A Waterfront.
A flotilla from the Royal Cape Yacht Club will sail past the Hildebrand Ristorante and into-the Victoria Basin and the Cape Town Highlanders will march from Ferryman's to Nobel Square. British Consul General Chris Trott will light a beacon, followed by a further six-gun salute and both South African and British national anthems, to mark the 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II's service to her people and the people of the world.
In Hong Kong, a British dependent territory until 1997 and the most populous one, had The Big Jubilee Lunch on 3 June 2012, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society in Hong Kong. On 5 June 2012, there was a service of thanksgiving at the territory's Anglican Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist.