The Queen’s Reign: the Diamond Jubilee Portrait

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The long reign of Elizabeth II has seen many historic moments, often captured on camera as a lasting legacy of her record breaking rule. Other images have been less formal but all come together to provide a visual record of a truly historic Monarch.

Among the most formal of the photos taken of Elizabeth II are her official Diamond Jubilee portraits which show her in a very familiar setting, with a nod to her famous role in British royal history.

Photo by Royal Household/ John Swannell

John Swannell captured Elizabeth II, the Diamond Queen, at Buckingham Palace, the heart of her Monarchy. She stands in the Centre Room from which the Royal Family walks onto the famous balcony where so many of their milestones have been celebrated with cheering crowds. Perhaps the most striking element of the backdrop is the glowing gold of the Victoria Memorial. It formed a visible link between Elizabeth II and her great, great grandmother, the only other British Queen ever to mark that milestone.

There are more links with Victoria in this image. For a Diamond Queen needs diamonds and Elizabeth II chose hugely symbolic stones for this portrait. She wore the Coronation necklance and earrings, also used by Victoria for her own Diamond Jubilee portraits in 1897. Her Majesty also wears the George IV coronet which has been such an important emblem of her own reign.

The photo was released on February 6th 1952, the day that Elizabeth II’s reign reached exactly 60 years.

About Post Author

Lydia Starbuck

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.