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FeaturesThe Queen

The Royal 2010s: the Diamond Queen

By Ben from LONDON, United Kingdom -, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

The last decade has given the Windsor’s many happy reasons to celebrate, and the world has joined in on the fun as glamorous weddings were held and babies warmly welcomed.

But undoubtedly, the biggest celebration was held for The Queen, herself.

February 6, 2012, saw Elizabeth II sit on the United Kingdom throne for 60 years, since her accession in 1952.

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It was an achievement only one British royal had achieved before her, with the current queen’s paternal great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria celebrating her 60 years on the throne in 1837.

The Diamond Jubilee was widely celebrated over months, with the ageing Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh touring throughout the United Kingdom between March and July, while other members of the Royal Family visited countries around the Commonwealth on her behalf.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall toured parts of Canada in May and Papua New Guinea in November.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to South East Asia for a nine-day tour where they visited the Solomon Islands, Singapore, Malaysia and Tuvalu.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex represented The Queen around the Caribbean, visiting Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat and St Lucia.

A charitable foundation, The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, was also established with a mission to leave a legacy across the Commonwealth.

It was set up with two main goals – the empowerment of a new generation of young leaders and the prevention of avoidable blindness, working to combat three major avoidable causes of blindness in the Commonwealth.

The focal point of the festivities was a four-day extravaganza held in London during June.

While there were several events in the lead up to the anniversary, the events formally kicked off on Accession Day.

A 62-gun salute was mounted on the banks of the River Thames on 6 February in celebration of the occasion.

Buckingham Palace also released a special statement from the reigning monarch.

‘In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth’ she said.

A three-part BBC documentary entitled “The Diamond Queen” premiered to the delight of royal watchers around the world.

The series focused on her accession, daily routine, how The Queen is seen as a role model and how she coped in her 60th year as monarch.

Interviews with many members of the Royal Family were shown, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Beatrice, giving a rare insight into The Queen and her family.

On 20 March, Elizabeth II formally addressed both houses of Parliament at Westminster where she shared plans for her upcoming tour.

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‘Prince Philip and I will be visiting towns and cities up and down the land. It is my sincere hope that the Diamond Jubilee will be an opportunity for people to come together in a spirit of neighbourliness and celebration of their own communities,’ she said.

Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets, armed with Union flags by their local council when The Queen kicked off her UK tour by visiting Leicester with Prince Phillip and the Duchess of Cambridge.

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No doubt the biggest celebrations were held in London during a four-day bank holiday weekend between Saturday 2nd June and Tuesday 5th June 2012.

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On the first day, The Queen arrived alongside Prince Philip shortly after 1 pm at the Epsom Derby. They were also accompanied by the Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.

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It is an event that she has rarely missed during her reign. A keen horse breeder, Queen Elizabeth has had over 10 runners in the Derby, with the first taking part in 1953. Though disappointedly, none have won.

Sunday saw The Big Lunch, where people across the country were encouraged to share lunch with neighbours and friends as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

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Many neighbourhoods lined the streets with British bunting while they celebrated by holding traditional street parties or taking to their local parks in groups with a picnic lunch with members of the Royal Family joining various local gatherings.

The massive downpour on the day did nothing to dampen the spirits of revellers.

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The third day of the festivities saw a flotilla made up of 1,000 boats float around seven miles down the River Thames, starting at Battersea Bridge and finishing at Tower Bridge.

Thousands of people lined the banks of the river to see the spectacular display, which set a world record for the largest number of boats taking part in a parade.

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It included tugs, steamers, pleasure cruisers, dragon boats and kayaks with The Queen travelling at its heart on the Royal Barge, where she was joined by three generations of her family, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to proudly show off her strong line of succession.

The impressive barge had been decorated with over 10,000 flowers.

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A 41-gun salute fired from the Tower of London capped off the event after a helicopter flyover which had been planned for the finale needed to be called off due to bad weather.

The rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowds though, who cheered loudly when the Royal Barge came into view.

On the final day, The Queen was joined by senior members of the Royal Family at St Paul’s Cathedral where a national Service of Thanksgiving was held in honour of her special anniversary.

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Later, the new slimmed-down version of the monarchy, Prince Charles with the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and a still single Prince Harry joined Her Majesty on the balcony at Buckingham Palace for a flyover.

The events would mark the start of Prince Philip’s withdrawal from public life with Princes William and Harry taking on additional duties from their ageing grandparents.

It would also show Prince Charles’ future for a thriving but slimmed down monarchy for the United Kingdom.

About author

Kylie is a journalist whose words have appeared in some of Australia and New Zealand's best selling magazines including Woman's day, Girlfriend, OK and that's life! and online at Daily Mail Australia. Kylie has a strong interest in royal fashion and her wardrobe contains over 100 of the same dresses, shoes and clutches, seen on the Duchess of Cambridge. When not writing, you'll find her searching for Sydney's best brunch spot. Follow her on Instagram @theladywallace