History250: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilees Then And Now

Okay. Millennial babies like me, and centennials who have magically learned how to work a computer: today we’re reviewing the U.K’s 1897 and 2012 Diamond Jubilee.  

The day had come for Queen Victoria’s accession, celebrated as the first real Diamond Jubilee of its kind. To understand a little bit about the history for such a momentous occasion, let’s dive into the happenings surrounding the Queen and her kingdom in 1897.1

The Boer War had left the country shaken, financially and patriotically. Even so, people still considered Great Britain and its colonies to be the strongest nation in the world. America was still in its ‘Great Experiment’ stages, but quickly rising through innovations in industry, with Germany right behind them.

Originally, the Diamond Jubilee was celebrated every 75 years and was more of a private, elitist affair. However, with the nation undergoing such tremendous economic and political change, Joseph Chamberlain advised that the Queen publicly celebrate her 60th year as a way to strengthen international relations and restore the people’s faith in the monarchy.

Queen Victoria had all but withdrawn from the public since King Albert’s death in 1861. Refusing to wear anything but black, she had to be coaxed into the idea, especially since the whole event was a real departure from British customs. The event was so huge and widely successful that it was declared a national holiday.

Fast forward to a few years ago, Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee reboot was all the rage across London and its territories.

They tried their best to maintain some of the original traditions created in 1897, but reinvented a few with a modern edge. Instead of a gigantic horse-drawn parade, the Queen, family, and friends had an easy ride down the Thames River on the Royal Flotilla; and an international concert jammed out at Buckingham Palace while being broadcast live to millions of viewers, instead of a stuffy service on the steps. The Jubilee spirit was present all the same with thousands of block parties and fireworks in the streets sharing in community patriotism.

2The U.K’s monarchy had come a long way from snotty elitism and strove to remember the Queen’s legacy while reconnecting to the everyday citizen.

Welp, that’s it for now! But don’t forget to keep on reading because we’ve got so much more on the way.


 

History250 is a look back at major anniversary events in America and around the world. We’re looking to the past for ideas in order to inspire others in 2026.

Ariama Long: I’m a recent graduate of Chestnut Hill College and contributor to Ideas250. If you’d like to contact me, leave a comment, or find out more about USA250, check out our website or email me at ariama@usa250inc.org.