The most extraordinary event in Britain this year will be the Queens Diamond Jubilee when the Queen celebrates 60 years on the throne. In May, there will be a Diamond Jubilee Pageant in the grounds of Windsor Castle, and a flotilla of 1,000 boats will sail along the Thames on June 3, the day before a special Jubilee Bank Holiday.
It will be only the second Diamond Jubilee in a thousand years of monarchs. No one alive now is likely to see one again. The first was Queen Victoria’s in 1897. Queen Victoria didn’t want too much of a fuss for the celebration but she knew some sort of public appearance was needed. She settled on a procession from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral for a service attended by her colonial prime ministers. The sun broke through the clouds as she left Buckingham Palace for the six-mile journey to the open air service at St Paul’s. Her route was further illuminated by thousands of gas jets, lighting up street decorations that cost a quarter of a million pounds.
On 22 June 1897, Queen Victoria wrote in her diary: “A never to be forgotten day. No one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those 6 miles of streets, including Constitution Hill. The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching. The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with joy.”
(Extract from The Telegraph – article by Harry Mount)


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