1977 was a momentous year for the British Monarchy. The beloved Queen Elizabeth II had reached her silver jubilee, 25 years of being Queen. As we approach her Majesty’s platinum Jubilee, let’s look back on the events of the year and how the nation celebrated it.
For a start, there were few Monarchs like Queen Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip. Both toured the country from top to bottom that year, visiting schools, places of work, plus cities and town centres. It’s hard to imagine it happening now, but back then, a crowd of one million people came to see the royal couple in Lancashire alone. They even went to Northern Ireland, which was considered quite a risk because it was the height of the Troubles. After the summer, the Queen then visited the few countries that are still part of the British empire and some Commonwealth ones as well.
The big day in the UK was set for June 7th. It would be a Bank Holiday, so everyone would get the day off. To get things started, a Beacon was lit at Windsor Castle that was answered around the country with similar bonfires and signals ignited. On the day itself, St Paul’s Cathedral was to host a thanksgiving service. World leaders came, and former British Prime Ministers with dignitaries. After this, the Queen went to the Guildhall for a spot of lunch with them all before going back to Buckingham Palace. This procession, down the Mall, attracted another million Londoners that she waved to, and it was reckoned that over 500 million watched the procession around the world. At regular intervals, she and the family would come out on the balcony and acknowledge the cheers.
For the rest of us, it was a day of street parties and singing in the pub. Do you remember how you celebrated the Queen’s jubilee in 1977?