Queen Elizabeth II Celebrates Her Sapphire Jubilee

We take you through the highlights of her 65-year reign

Credit: Twitter/The Royal Family

Queen Elizabeth II recently completed 65 years on throne, making her the only British monarch ever to celebrate her Sapphire Jubilee. The 90-year-old was never meant to be Queen; her father George VI, became King after his elder brother King Edward VIII, abdicated his throne to marry an American woman. Nonetheless, it is widely acknowledged that the Queen has fulfilled her sense of duty to her country with poise, dignity and grace. Bayside Journal takes you through her journey, from her coronation to the present day.

Her Coronation


On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth became the first monarch to have her coronation televised live and the world’s first major international event to be broadcast on television.

Her First World Tour as Reigning Monarch

In November 1953 Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, embarked on six-month tour of the Commonwealth visiting almost 13 countries. They travelled by steam, yacht, train, plane and car and the Queen became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations.

She Addresses the United Nations General Assembly

In 1957, she addressed the UN General Assembly in New York on behalf of the Commonwealth. She also opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament, making her the first monarch of Canada to open a parliamentary session.

She Appoints a Prime Minister

Credit: Anefo - Nationaal Archief
Credit: Anefo – Nationaal Archief

In 1963, Queen was advised to appoint the 14th Earl of Home as Prime Minister by Harold Macmillan. She was heavily criticised for this decision.

Her Silver Jubilee

The Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne in 1977. There were many parties and parades held to commemorate the occasion. There was a procession to St Paul’s Cathedral, where the royal family attended a Service of Thanksgiving with many international leaders. One million people lined the pavements to see the procession from The Mall to Buckingham Palace. Around 500 million people around the Commonwealth watched the live televised event.

The Last Colony Exits from the British Empire

Zimbabwe becomes the last major colony to gain independence from Britain. The Queen’s reign has seen 40 countries gain independence.

Prince Charles Marries Diana

On July 29, 1981 Prince Charles married Diana Spencer in an event that was watched by a global audience of 750 million. Six weeks before the wedding, six blank shots were fired at the Queen during the Trooping the Colour by a 17-year-old as she rode on her horse. The Queen continued on her ride and was praised for her composure.

Gulf War

The Queen became the first British monarch to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress. In her speech she thanked the United States for its actions during the Persian Gulf war and said that U.S. and Britain were doing their “best to re-establish peace and civil order in the region” after the Gulf War.

Her Annus Horribilis-1992

The Queen describes 1992 as her Annus Horribilis or horrible year. In March, her second son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his wife, Sarah, separated. Next month her daughter, Princess Anne, divorced Captain Mark Phillips. In October, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her during a state visit to Germany. In November, a large fire destroyed a large part of Windsor Castle, her residence.

Princess Diana’s Death

Credit: Maxwell Hamilton- Flowers for Princess Diana's Funeral
Credit: Maxwell Hamilton- Flowers for Princess Diana’s Funeral

After Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and the public outpouring of love and support for the ‘People’s Princess’ , the queen faced the public ire for not lowering the flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace. She was also criticised for letting the family mourn privately at their country estate Balmoral, Scotland and not in London

Golden Jubilee

Credit: Michael Pead
Credit: Michael Pead

In 2002, the Queen celebrated 50 years on the throne with events all over London. Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip journeyed more than 64,000 km to the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and wrapped up the jubilee year in Canada. Many parks, stamps, memorabilia were commemorated in the Queen’s honour.

Diamond Jubilee

Credit: Abuk SABUK-A mosaic picture of Elizabeth II in Towner Gallery in Eastbourne
Credit: Abuk SABUK-A mosaic picture of Elizabeth II in Towner Gallery in Eastbourne

In 2012, the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne and the royal family toured several Commonwealth countries. On June 4, 2012 a concert was held outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall in London featuring international pop stars which was attended by the Queen and Royal Family. There were events and celebrations held throughout the year

Sapphire Jubilee

The Queen is expected to spend the day at Sandringham, her country estate today. There will be a traditional 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at noon GMT. The Band of the Royal Artillery will play celebratory music and 89 horses will pull six First World War-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the Park. At 1:00 p.m. GMT, a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company will be fired at the Tower of London. The Royal Mail has issued a Sapphire Blue £5 stamp to commemorate the 65th anniversary of her coronation.