Today is Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee. She has reigned for 65 years – becoming the first British monarch to reign for that long. She surpassed the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years.
NO PUBLIC EVENTS
There will be no public events to celebrate the Queen today. She chose to mark the occasion privately as she remembers her father, King George VI, who died on this date in 1952.
SAPPHIRE STONE JEWELRY
To observe of this milestone, the Royal Family’s Instagram account rereleased a 2014 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. The David Bailey photograph features the Queen decked out in sapphire stones, which were wedding gifts from King George VI.
NEVER EXPECTED TO BE QUEEN
Elizabeth never expected to be queen but her life changed forever in 1936 when her uncle, Edward VII, abdicated the throne and his brother, Albert, became king, adopting for his reign the name George VI. Thus, Princess Elizabeth found herself first in line to the throne.
ANNOUNCED QUEEN AT 25
Her father fell ill in Feb. 1952, following which she along with Prince Philip, her husband, went on an official visit to Kenya instead of her father. George VI died on Feb. 6, 1952 and being the heir to the throne, Elizabeth was announced queen at the age of 25.
“For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience she climbed down from the tree the next day a queen — God bless her,” her bodyguard, a hunter named Jim Corbett, reportedly wrote in the visitor’s log book.
After returning to England she met with the Lords of the Council for the formal proclamation of her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on Feb. 8, 1952.
On June 2, 1953, her coronation was televised in spite of being advised otherwise and that was huge step forward in the history of British monarchs.
“Televising the coronation was groundbreaking for its time — to bring the monarchy into millions of peoples’ homes against all of the advice of her advisers who said this makes the monarch look too day-to-day, too real. She realized actually this is what she wanted to do, set the tone for her entire reign, making the monarchy relevant and bringing it to the people,” said Roya Nikkhah, the royal correspondent for the Sunday Times.3
Elizabeth’s ways of performing her duties with dignity, a major part of her job, has defined her throughout her reign. She had not said anything publicly inappropriate through the 65 years on the throne.