It is a moment she always marks privately but, this year, it will be very different. On the morning of February 6th 2021, Elizabeth II will reach the 69th anniversary of her accession. However, almost seven decades on from the start of her reign, this year’s historic moment will have a changed aspect.
The Queen will spend the day at Windsor Castle where she has been isolating with the Duke of Edinburgh since late 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic continues. However, she usually likes to mark the moment at Sandringham House. It was there that her beloved father, George VI, passed away sometime in the early hours of February 6th 1952 and the Crown passed to Elizabeth, then thousands of miles away in Kenya, preparing for a royal tour.
For the anniversary of her accession is a deeply personal and sombre moment for the Queen. In past Jubilee years, no fuss has been made on the date she actually became Monarch as it remains, for her, the anniversary of the loss of her father above anything else. As her own historic reign continues, she has shown a preference for spending the day at the home which links her to the last days of George VI’s own rule. The pandemic means that isn’t possible in 2021.
The Queen has made Windsor her main base for much of the last year, moving there in March 2020 as the pandemic took hold. She arrived several weeks ahead of her planned stay at the ancient royal residence for Easter and remained there for most of the year, making a short trip to Balmoral when restrictions within the UK permitted it during the summer and spending some time on the Sandringham Estate with the Duke of Edinburgh in early autumn. However, they were back at Windsor by the time a second national lockdown in England began in November 2020 and they have been there ever since.
This year sees the Queen mark sixty nine years of rule but plans are already underway for her Platinum Jubilee which will take place in 2022. The UK government has announced four days of celebrations in June 2022. Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history and by the time she marks her Jubilee next year, she will be just days away from having the second longest rule of any sovereign in recorded history.