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Silver Jubilee (1977)

In 1935 when King George V celebrated his silver jubilee, the Empire had to come to London. In 1977, acknowledging the changed times, Queen Elizabeth II went to the Commonwealth.

In the royal yacht, by train, by road, and often by air, The Queen and Prince Philip covered vast distances, met thousands of people and were seen by millions more.

The Queen marked her jubilee year by touring the Commonwealth, visiting 36 countries including Western Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the West Indies.

The people loved it and in return offered gratitude, affection and pleasure, expressing emotions perhaps not stirred in such a way since the Coronation.

The Jubilee celebrations took The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh all around Britain.

In Edinburgh, on 23 May the ceremonial drive was along the Royal Mile, and at Spithead in June The Queen, in the royal yacht Britannia reviewed more than 180 ships from Britain, Europe, America and the Commonwealth.


There was a magnificent fireworks display on the Thames between Hungerford and Westminster bridges on 9 June, and also in June, The Queen travelled along the Thames to call in on such colourful characters as the residents of Deptford.

The year was a mixture of grand ceremonial and delightful informality – but above all, a time for The Queen and her people to get together.

It was difficult to say who enjoyed Jubilee Day itself (7 June) the most; The Queen, her family, the huge crowds in London or the millions watching on TV throughout the world.

The gold coach – last used for the Coronation in 1953 – took The Queen and Prince Philip from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving.

From St Paul’s The Queen walked with the Lord Mayor of London to Guildhall for a celebration lunch, and then, with other members of the royal family, she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to the delight of the huge crowds thronging around the palace and down the Mall.

The Jubilee reached onto the supermarket shelves as Jubilade soft drink, ice cream, ice lollies, mousse and margarine. Festive hats were an optional extra (as were “Stuff the Jubilee” badges!).

By the end of the year there seemed to be hardly a street which had not had its party, a village which had not fêted itself to exhaustion, a shop which had not sold out of souvenirs or a child who had not slipped through the crowds to press into The Queen’s hands a flower, often freshly picked in the local park.