How have the Queen's Jubilee celebrations changed over the years in the UK?

King George V, Princess Elizabeth and Her Majesty Queen Mary on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 6, 1935, as Elizabeth practices her signature wave.
King George V, Princess Elizabeth and Her Majesty Queen Mary on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 6, 1935, as Elizabeth practices her signature wave. Copyright AP/1935 AP
Copyright AP/1935 AP
By Joshua AskewAFP/AP
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From renaming mountains and beauty pageants to rock concerts and protests, how the UK commemorates its monarchy has changed a lot over the years.


The British Monarchy loves throwing a bash, especially when it is for themselves. 

Celebrated around the world, royal Jubilees are occasions to celebrate the life and reign of a king or queen. 

The UK's current Queen, Elizabeth II, has had three major jubilees: her Silver in 1977, Golden in 2002 and Diamond in 2012. (There were Ruby and Sapphire Jubilees in 1992 and 2017 respectively, although these were more modest affairs). 

Britain prepares for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee this year as she will celebrate 70 years since she ascended the throne in 1952. Over 5,000 street parties public events are expected to occur across the UK.

But how were Jubilees celebrated in the past? Euronews took a look through the archives to find out. 

Silver Jubilee George V (1935)

AP/1935 AP
King George V, Princess Elizabeth and Her Majesty Queen Mary on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London on May 6, 1935, as Elizabeth practices her signature wave.AP/1935 AP

The Silver Jubilee of George V on 6 May 1935 marked 25 years that the monarch had been on the throne. 

Then King of the United Kingdom, the British Dominions and the Emperor of India, Geroge V was the first monarch in British history to celebrate a Silver Jubilee. 

London was brought to a complete standstill as hundreds of thousands of people thronged the streets, hoping to catch a glimpse of the monarch as he paraded through the capital. 

Meanwhile, an eclectic mix of street parties, beauty pageants and sporting events were held across the UK, with the Jubilee day declared a bank holiday. 

On the eve of the Silver Jubilee of Britain's King George V and Queen Mary, sightseers crowd into Oxford Street, London, May 5, 1935AP/AP

At 8:00 p.m., the King gave thanks "from the depths of his heart to his dear people," in a speech. 

To mark the event, a mountain in Canada was named 'Mount George V. An open-air Lido, named Jubilee pool was opened in Cornwall, England. And the first version of Jubilee chicken was created, a chicken dressing made from mayonnaise and curry powder. 

George V died less than a year later. 

Silver Jubilee Elizabeth II (1977)

Robert Rider Rider/AP
June 7, 1977, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, travel in a carriage during celebrations for the Silver Jubilee in London.Robert Rider Rider/AP

Her first (of many) Jubilees, Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebrations began in February, with a month of church services across the UK, culminating in June, with the Jubilee day.  

In the run-up to the occasion, the Queen and her late husband Prince Phillip embarked on a whirlwind tour of the country, visiting a total of 36 counties across three months. No other monarch had ever visited more of the UK in such a short space of time. 

But what the Queen saw was a different Britain, one awash with the industrial decline and economic gloom of the 70s. 

Holding up an umbrella, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stops to chat with young and old Londoners in the rain-soaked crowd, during a visit to the Borough of Greenwich in London.Baughman/AP

In a speech in Parliament delivered on the day, she said the first 25 years of her reign had been marked "by so many changes." 

"We are no longer an imperial power and we have realised what this means for ourselves and for our relations with the rest of the world," she said, calling the country's entry into the European community (ancestor of the EU) "one of the most important decisions" of her reign.


The Sex Pistols, a punk rock group, spoilt the party when they published their song 'God Save the Queen' just one week before the Jubilee. 

One of the first real affronts to the monarchy, which it described as a "fascist regime", the track shocked British society and was banned by the BBC, although it remains a cult classic to this day. 

Golden Jubilee Elizabeth II (2002)

June 4, 2002, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip look up from the balcony of Buckingham Palace in London as a Concorde flies past during the Golden JubileeADRIAN DENNIS/AP2002

With the coming of the 21st century, celebrations for the Golden Jubilee modernised too. No more stuffy church services. The Queen marked 50 years of her reign with a rock concert at Buckingham Palace. 

The likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones and Will Young performed for 12,000 guests in the Palace's regal gardens, while more than a million people packed onto the Mall, the street leading up the 775-room building. 


A rendition of God Save the Queen (not the Sex Pistol's version, but the British national anthem) by Queen guitarist Brian May was the climax of the star-studded concert.

Tom Jones performs at the Golden Jubilee pop concert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London in this Monday, June 3, 2002STEPHEN HIRD/AP

The 1990s were a difficult period for the British Monarchy, which had to contend with three royal divorces, a fire at Windsor Castle and the death of Prince Diana. 

Elizabeth II's grandsons William and Harry were seen for the first time in public after the death of their mother in France at the celebration. 

Arthur Edwards/AP
June 3, 2002, Prince William and Prince Harry enjoy the party at the Palace concert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, London.Arthur Edwards/AP

"These 50 years have been quite remarkable in every way," said the Queen at the ceremony for her 50 years on the throne. "There were ups and downs, but anyone who can remember the situation after six long years of wars can appreciate the immense changes that have been made since then."

"I think we can look back and be proud," she added.


Diamond Jubilee Elizabeth II (2012)

At the age of 86, Elizabeth marked 60 years as Queen. 

Lavish celebrations were held over four days and the royal family visited all corners of the Commonwealth. 

Prince Harry met local people on a walk about in Belmopan, the capital of Belize in central America, a former British colony. 

As part of his stint in the Diamond Jubilee tour, the then 28-year-old Prince visited the Bahamas, Jamaica and Brazil throughout March. Months later he was photographed naked wearing just a necklace, in a embarrassing moment for the Monarchy. 

Chris Jackson/AP
Prince Harry takes a stroll down the newly-named "Queen Elizabeth II Boulevard" in Belmopan, Belize.Chris Jackson/AP

In the days before the Jubilee, a huge flotilla of some 1,000 boats sailed down the Thames in London, in what was the biggest pageant on the river for 350 years. 

Nearly 1.2 million people braved the wind and rain to watch the ships from the banks of the river.

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