1977—The Silver Jubilee Year of Queen Elizabeth II
|Queen Elizabeth II during the Silver Jubilee Anniversary celebrations in 1977. |
In 1977, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Silver Jubilee as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and head of the Commonwealth. Church services throughout Great Britain were held on February 6, 1977, to commemorate the milestone in the life of a monarch that has been so loved by everyone around the world. By March, the nation was already getting ready to throw large parties in every major city. The festivities began as early as May reaffirming the Queen’s popularity and the abiding love of her subjects.
She took the Silver Jubilee celebrations as an opportunity to embark on an extensive tour, beginning in Glasgow and taking her to 36 counties. Her tour of the Commonwealth nations saw her visit Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, West Indies and Canada. No other monarch in the history of Great Britain could surpass Queen Elizabeth II’s record of visiting as many country as she did in a span of six weeks!
|Roads are closed for the Jubilee street parties. Image: Wikimedia.|
On June 7, a Thanksgiving Service was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Joining her were members of the British Royal Family, as well as world leaders including U.S. President Jimmy Carter and then-Prime Minister James Callaghan. Also present were the Queen’s former prime ministers: Macmillan, Douglas-Home, Wilson and Heath. The procession proceeded to Buckingham Palace after the Service, where thousands of people lined the streets to greet Her Majesty and bid her their greetings.
The event was also highlighted by a walkabout in London, where the Queen, resplendent in sugar-pink dress, was seen with the Duke of Edinburgh chatting with the crowds who spent hours waiting just to catch a glimpse of her. The walkabout was televised and the Lord Mayor, who joined her, noted that no policeman was present within 200 yards of the royal party. “The Queen doesn’t like having policeman near her when she’s doing a walkabout.” Noted the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. “She thinks they get in the way,” he added. After the meet-and-greet, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to wave at the thousands of crowds who joined and celebrated with her as she approached her 25th year on the throne.
In the other parts of Great Britain, street parties were organized. In fact, London alone witnessed over 4,000 street and neighborhood parties all cheering, singing and dancing because the Queen reached this special milestone. To commemorate the Jubilee, many places were named also, such as Fleet Line of the London Underground, which officially opened in 1979.