On February 6, 1952, while visiting Kenya, a 25-year-old woman received news that her father had died. Her father was King George VI of the United Kingdom. When the king died, the young woman became Queen Elizabeth II. Her coronation, or crowning, took place in Westminster Abbey in London on June 2, 1953. This was the first time the coronation of a British monarch was broadcasted on television.
This year, Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her 60th year as queen of the United Kingdom. This celebration is called a Diamond Jubilee. The festivities began on February 6, 2012, with a 41-gun salute in London’s Hyde Park. Later that day, the queen visited schoolchildren in Norfolk, England. The children presented a play about the changes that have happened in each decade since Elizabeth became queen.
Some countries of the Commonwealth of Nations also have special events planned. The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of independent nations that were once ruled by the British government. The Commonwealth includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and other countries. These countries still recognize Elizabeth II as their queen.
The queen wrote a special message to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. In it, she renewed her vow to serve her people and thanked them for their support. She wrote, “In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.”
The Diamond Jubilee will continue until June 2012. Many special events are planned for the first weekend of June, which is the anniversary of Elizabeth’s coronation. A concert at Buckingham Palace will include performances by Paul McCartney and Elton John, who were knighted by the queen for their contributions to music. There will also be a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral and a River Pageant, or boat parade, on the Thames River.
Photo credit: ©REUTERS/Andrew Winning
- The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Read more about Queen Elizabeth II and the special events celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.
- Her Majesty the Queen – The Official Website of the British Monarchy
Learn more about the queen’s life and accomplishments.