On 6th February this year The Queen became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth.
The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
To celebrate this unprecedented 70th anniversary, events and initiatives will take place throughout the year, culminating in a four day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June.
Facts about Queen Elizabeth II
- The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21st April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London, and was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
- The Queen succeeded to the Throne on the 6 February, 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. She was in Kenya at the time and became the first Sovereign in over 200 years to accede while abroad.
- Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on 2 June, 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Her Majesty was the thirty-ninth Sovereign to be crowned at Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II is the sixth Queen to have been crowned in Westminster Abbey in her own right. The first was Queen Mary I, who was crowned on 1 October, 1553.
- Coronations have been held at Westminster Abbey for 900 years and The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was to follow suit. But the Coronation of 1953 was ground-breaking in its own right – the first ever to be televised, it was watched by 27 million people in the UK alone and millions more audiences around the world.
- Windsor Castle, currently Her Majesty’s main residence, is the oldest and largest occupied palace in the world.
- Her Majesty is Head of the Commonwealth, which has grown from 8 to 54 members in the last 70 years.
- On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh, The Queen extended her best wishes to the people of Bangladesh. She said, “We share ties of friendship and affection, which remain the foundation of our partnership and are as important today as fifty years ago.”
- The Queen has been served by 14 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom during her reign – her first Prime Minister was Winston Churchill.
- There have been 14 Presidents of the United States during Her Majesty’s reign, and, with the exception of President Johnson (1963-9), Her Majesty has met each one.
- As part of the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, secret agent James Bond escorted The Queen from Buckingham Palace to the Olympic Stadium by helicopter before they both parachuted into the event.
About monarchy in the United Kingdom
- Monarchy is the oldest form of government in the United Kingdom.
- In a monarchy, a king or queen is Head of State. The British Monarchy is known as a constitutional monarchy. This means that, while The Sovereign is Head of State, the ability to make and pass legislation resides with an elected Parliament.
- Although The Sovereign no longer has a political or executive role, he or she continues to play an important part in the life of the nation.
- As Head of State, The Monarch undertakes constitutional and representational duties which have developed over one thousand years of history. In addition to these State duties, The Monarch has a less formal role as ‘Head of Nation’. The Sovereign acts as a focus for national identity, unity and pride; gives a sense of stability and continuity; officially recognises success and excellence; and supports the ideal of voluntary service.