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Friday, June 1, 2012

Diamond Jubilee ~ Queen Elizabeth

This weekend marks Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrating her 60 years on the throne.

There has been only one other monarch who celebrated a Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth’s great~great grandmother, Queen Victoria. The year was 1897. Even if you are not a Royal enthusiast, this is history in the making. I know it will never happen again in my lifetime nor that of my children.

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926. She was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York and his wife, Elizabeth Bowes~Lyon.

She interestingly enough was born by Cesarean section at her maternal grandfather’s Mayfair estate.

The princess was baptized in the private chapel of Buckingham palace on May 29, 1926. She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after King George V’s mother, who had passed away six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother. Her full title was Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth of York.

Princess Elizabeth was left in the care of a royal nanny for six months as an infant while her mother and father were on a royal tour.

Princess Elizabeth was not the heir apparent. It was expected that her uncle, Prince Edward~ later King Edward VIII, would reign. Because of that, she had a fairly normal, albeit royal, childhood. She is shown here at age 3.

File:Queen Elizabeth II 1929.jpg

Princess “Lilibet”, Time Magazine Cover, April 29, 1929

The Queen’s only sibling, Princess Margaret Rose, was born on August 21, 1930. Princess Elizabeth was four years old and delighted.

For the first ten years of her life, Princess Elizabeth and her sister were adored by the nation but not much thought was given to Elizabeth as ever being queen.

Her father was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Elizabeth was merely third in line for succession to the throne. But all that changed when her uncle, King Edward VIII, famously abdicated for love and became the Duke of Windsor.

File:Philip Alexius de Laszlo-Princess Elizabeth of York, Currently Queen Elizabeth II of England,1933.jpg

Princess Elizabeth, age 7, Philip de László

King George VI’s coronation was held on May 12, 1937, the date previously intended for Edward's coronation. This man never dreamed or wanted to be King yet famously rose to the challenge and bravely carried his nation through World War II. Princess Elizabeth was 10 years old and suddenly heir to the throne.

Princess Elizabeth was educated at home along with her sister, Princess Margaret. It has been said she excelled at art, music, horse-riding and swimming. To prepare for her future role as Queen she was also taught law, constitutional history, and French.

At the age of eleven a Girl Guide (Girl Scout) troop was formed at Buckingham Palace. The troop comprised of twenty Guides and fourteen Brownies. The members were all daughters of court officials and palace employees. An interesting side note was that two former members of that troop were bridesmaids at the Queen’s wedding. The Queen advanced to the rank of Sea Ranger in 1943.

During the war years Princess Elizabeth and her sister were evacuated to live at Windsor Castle, while their parents remained in London.

In February of 1942 King George appointed his fifteen-year-old daughter, Princess Elizabeth as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, the senior Regiment of the Foot Guards. It was the first time in history that a woman had held the position.

A photograph was taken by Cecil Beaton in Buckingham Palace in October 1942 which shows the Princess wearing an embroidered grenade in her cap and a blue enameled and diamond brooch, the Regimental cypher, presented to her by the Regiment on her sixteenth birthday.

At the age of 18 Princess Elizabeth joined the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Services), the women’s branch of the Army, to help out in the war effort. She was trained in vehicle maintenance and learned how to drive an ambulance.

Princess Elizabeth was blossoming into an attractive young woman. She had met a young Greek prince and naval officer in 1934 as a girl at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Their long lasting friendship would soon turn to love.

Princess Elizabeth, age 19, by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, 1945

Although her family was rather opposed to her marrying so young, Princess Elizabeth announced her engagement to the dashing Prince Philip on July 9, 1947.

Prince Philip presented Princess Elizabeth with a beautiful platinum and diamond ring which had been taken from a tiara of his mother, Princess Andrew of Greece. The ring had a total of eleven diamonds. There is a central solitaire stone of 3 carats with five smaller stones set in each side. When Philip presented the ring to the Princess it was too big and quickly had to be resized in time for the official photo. She continues to wear this ring.

Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth were married on November 20, 1947 Westminster Abbey in London. You can read more about the day HERE and HERE.

On November 14, 1948 Princess Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles by Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, December 1948

The Prince would later be joined by a sister, Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise, on August 15, 1950.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Prince Charles and Princess Anne, Cecil Beaton, Clarence House, September 1950

It was a happy time for the young couple and their growing family.  The Prince's military career continued to flourish and by 1952 he had been promoted to Commander. However, his military service and their simple, private way of life would soon come to an end. 

The Prince and Princess had been on tour in Kenya when they learned on February 6, 1952 her beloved father, King George VI, had passed away. Princess Elizabeth immediately acceded to the throne on her return from Kenya. Her coronation was held on June 2, 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton,  June 2, 1953

The Queen’s white satin Coronation gown was designed by couturier Norman Hartnell and exquisitely embroidered with the floral emblems of the countries of the Commonwealth.

She wore the George IV State Diadem which was created in 1820 by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell for the king’s coronation in 1821. The diadem is set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds and also includes a four-carat pale yellow brilliant diamond. The band has two rows of pearls on either side of a row of diamonds, above which are diamonds set in the form of a rose, a thistle and two shamrocks which are the national emblems of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Queen Elizabeth also wore Queen Victoria’s diamond collet and drop earrings which was commissioned by the Queen in 1858 and worn by queens at each coronation since Edward VII's in 1902.

Prior to the coronation she wore the crimson Robe of State. It was 18 feet long, lined in ermine with gold lace and filigree work around the edges. It weighed more than 15 pounds. She continues to wear this robe for each State Opening of Parliament.


After the coronation she wore the 21 foot Purple Robe of Estate which featured an ermine border and cape with a white silk lining. The decoration on the robe comprises a border of wheat ears and olive branches, symbolizing peace and plenty. The Royal School of Needlework put 3,500 hours into the gold embroidery. It is this robe that is featured in all of the official photographs.

 photo | Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Cecil Beaton, June 2, 1953

After her coronation Queen Elizabeth wore the Imperial State Crown. It was commissioned by the Queen’s father, George VI, for his coronation in 1937 and created by Garrad & Co. Jewelers. It features platinum, silver, velvet, ermine and over 3,000 stones to include diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls.

The Queen selected six Maids of Honor, instead of pages, to bear her velvet train throughout the Coronation ceremony, it was a precedent set by Queen Victoria. From left to right, they were: Lady Moyra Hamilton (now Lady Moyra Campbell), Lady Anne Coke (now The Rt Hon The Lady Glenconner), Lady Rosemary Spencer-Churchill (now Lady Rosemary Muir), Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton (now Lady Mary Russell), Lady Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (now The Rt Hon The Baroness Willoughby de Eresby), Lady Jane Vane-Tempest-Stewart (now The Rt Hon The Lady Rayne).

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Her official portrait features the George IV State Diadem, Queen Victoria’s coronation jewelry and the purple Robe of Estate. It also documents her official throne, the imperial state crown and scepter. It was painted by Sir Herbert James Gunn in 1954.

Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward was born on February 19, 1960. He was the first child to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Andrew, Cecil Beaton, Buckingham Palace, March 1960

The Queen’s youngest child, Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, was born on March 10, 1964.


In 1968 the Queen began having her formal portrait made in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. She wore a turquoise silk sleeveless shift dress with silver floral embroidery designed by Hardy Amies.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904 1980) | society hist events celebrity art

Queen Elizabeth II, Cecil Beaton, White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace, 1968

My favorite image was from a series taken by Annie Leibovitz in March 2007.

The Queen is also often photographed while wearing The Order of the Garter which was founded by King Edward III in 1348. It is the most senior British order of chivalry. The Queen wears the robes of the Sovereign of the Order: the blue ribbon (or sash) and the dark blue velvet mantle, on which is pinned the Garter Star. The star comprises the St George’s Cross within the Garter, surrounded by radiating silver beams. St George is the patron saint of the Order.

HM Queen Elizabeth II takes part in the Garter Ceremony Procession up to St George's Chapel on June 15, 2009 in Windsor, England. The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members. (Photo by Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Queen Elizabeth II

Throughout her 60 year reign Queen Elizabeth’s constant companion has been her husband, Prince Philip. They will soon celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle taken by Thomas Struth.

They recently posed for the official Diamond Jubilee portrait. The Queen wore a white silk and silver sequin dress by Angela Kelly and the State Diadem crown – as well as Queen Victoria's Collet Necklace.

Official Portrait~ John Swannell

It has not been an easy reign. Not only has the Queen had to change with the world, she has faced personal difficulty and tragedy within her family. But she much prefers to focus on the next generation. The Queen has a total of eight grandchildren which of course includes a future king, Prince William.

Queen Elizabeth has indeed produced quite a legacy.

To that I say “Well done and God Save The Queen!”

The Duchess of Decor

For a complete listing of all the titles the Queen holds please visit this POST.


Craftymoose Crafts said...

Thank you for feeding my Royals addiction! Great post!

Michele's Treasures, Teacups, and Tumbling Rose Cottage said...

Awesome post!!! Thank you. It was a delight to read, and the pictures were great. ; )

Perfectly Printed said...

Love this post..thanks for sharing a short bio of the queen.

Debbie said...

In my opinion, she was and still is a beautiful woman. I think that so many folks forget that behind that often controlled face is still the smiling young girl. I read in a biography that she used to call Philip the "Viking Price" because of his looks when she was a young teen. Apparently, she was twitterpated. I don't blame her. He was dashing.

I also read that at their engagement party, they danced to "People will say we're in love", and the way she looked at him convinced her dad to write her a letter telling her that he approved even though she was young.

Anyway, I LOVE your royal posts.

Sherri B. said...

I have so enjoyed this wonderful history you have put together. Thank you for taking the time and care in giving us such a complete look at her life. xo

Ann said...

Such a enjoyable post. I love the childhood photographs, I had never seen these as a child. What a celebration for 60 years and what a milesone in history

Auntie Em said...

Thanks for the interesting post and history lesson. She has indeed become one of the great monarchs of the British empire. Not so sure about what the next generation and how he will manage. Hope he doesn't undo what she has taken 60 years to accomplish.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Laura, this is such a fabulous post. I so enjoyed it all. You are amazing with all you have to do that you put this all together. Thanks tons. Hugs, Marty

jeanette from everton terrace said...

So enjoyable and informative - as always. I'm actually on a little "unplugged" break but happened to see your post in my blog roll and had to sneak a peek.
I remember, as a little girl, being in England for the summer and running down the street to see her go by in a car - it was the parade for her Silver Jubilee - time flies :)

Pamela R said...

Wow what an amazing article and such beautiful photographs. Thank you for writing this for everyone to experience. God save the queen!

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

WoW! Thanks for educating me on the queen. It was a wonderful and informative post that I'm sure took a lot of time and work. Thank you for doing the homework and sharing it!

Patti said...

What a great post. Thank you for all the information. One question though, in the pictures of the queen, she has pieces of paper pinned under the broaches, do you know what & why they are?

Vicki said...

Thank you for sharing this post. Queen Elizabeth is such a beautiful woman, and her photographs often do not do her justice. I admire her strength. I can't imagine living life in a "glass house" as she has done.

openid said...

You are Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Thank you for this informative and interesting post. Before reading this,I knew more about her children and grandchildren.
Your Friend,

My name is Darlene Payan said...

This was an incredible post. I enjoyed your detailing the pictures and explanations, now I know the "Why and wherefore". Really great. Thank you.

By the way I love your June header. You captured my favorite color, turquoise.


Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

BRAVO!! a wonderful post my dear friend..Great read..Hope you have a great weekend..Hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Beautiful post Laura... just loved reading more about her!! She was engaged on my Dad's first birthday!

It's All Connected said...

You done a wonderful job of showing the other facets of a woman who has handled a difficult job with grace and consistency in a rapidly changing and troubled world! ~ Maureen

Lisa and Joey @ Paintbrush and Screwdriver said...

Laura, what a fantastic post! I am more than proud of my British heritage, especially this weekend.

I really enjoyed reading this, and the photos you selected are wonderful.

I'm putting up my Union Jack when I get home this afternoon, and tomorrow we'll have afternoon tea to celebrate the Jubilee.

Rule Britannia!

Mrs. Santos said...

This was a WONDERFUL post! I sat my children down and we went through the whole thing like a home school history lesson. Great fun. Thank you for posting this. Hope you are having a good day and all is going well with your move.

Lady Dorothy said...

Fascinating post! I learned things I did not know. Thanks!

Sally@Enlightenment for the Sleepy said...

Such a beautiful post Laura! It always seems to me that the Queen never changes. Her hair has grayed but her style is dateless. I remember her passing the end of my Street in her black Rolls Royce during her Silver Jubilee tour when I was ten. I waving my little flag like crazy.
Now my big kids are having Diamond Jubilee parties! Sally xx

CAS said...

Thank you so much, Laura, for this delightful & well presented piece of history. The pictures are just beautiful!

Iris said...

Sooo interesting! My European heart is beating faster as we speak!

Jill Elaine said...

Amen. And thank you for all the info and photos! well done:)

Scargosun said...

What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman. Maybe not ever decision she has ever made has been perfect but she is an extraordinary person. She is one that any girl could look up to, not because she is royalty but because she is smart, strong and confident.

raioX - da Tin said...

It is a very good post, almost a documentary!
I just miss the corgis ... where the corgis are?? :D


Cintia ( tin ) Fumagalli

The Boston Lady said...

Laura- having grown up in Canada the royal family was an impressive presence in my young years. I continue to be intrigued by them. Especially those who have been instilled with a great sense of public service. Queen Elizabeth was and still is a trailblazer. I especially loved her childhood and early marriage pictures. Ann

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Oh How I enjoyed this!
Queen Elizabeth and my Mom were born at the same time, were married the same year and I am the age of Prince Andrew. So I think of my Mom, my Mom was my Queen in my eyes.

Vel Baricuatro-Criste, MD said...

What a great read! i always love reading about the royals, but with all the lovely pictures here, you made it all the more interesting! Thank you! :-)

Danielle said...

Laura, thank you for this wonderful, informative post! I am facinated by the royals and enjoyed reading all about the Queen. She is an amazing woman! I learned so much about her that I did not know. Great pictures too! Let the Jubilee celebration begin!!!

Danielle xo

Stephanie ~ Angelic Accents said...

Hi Laura! Thank you so much for this interesting history lesson. Your pictures you choose are always inspirational.

I'm gearing up for my 3rd annual WEDDING BLOG PARTY next Friday (June 8th) and would so love it if you could join us! Please stop by and read all about it!

Big TX Hugs,
Angelic Accents

Karena said...

Laura isn't it so interesting to look back at what a lovely, young queen she was! Truly beautiful and elegant! I adore your description of her Royal attire and Crown Jewels!

Art by Karena

Mimi said...

SO HAPPY you and I share a ROYAL LOVE AFFAIR!!!I loved your POST, read it and re-read it!!!She is amazing and I think what she does deserves a BIG WEEK or YEAR of celebrations!!!I doubt NO Monarch will see 60 years.......Charles will not...William could if he becomes KING SOON...and that is NOT going to happen.....
So I say LET'S Witness HISTORY!!!
Hugs 2 U.

vicki archer said...

Such a fabulous and well researched post... wonderful images... It is an exiting time for the british... Enjoy the weekend... xv

Pam @ Frippery said...

Fascinating post. Thank you for compiling all of this information. What a fun read!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Bravo Laura to a amazing post. I can never read to much and see too many photos of the royal family. i am a huge admirer of the Queen and how she's conducted herself throughout her reign. She's managed the balance of selfless public servant, wife, mother unlike no other. Far before it was common to be a 'working' mother. Laura, this post took lots of research and you did a magnificent job! Photos I've never seen before. Thank you x

Linda Merrill said...

Dear Duchess - What a fantastic post! Love the history and the closeups on the crowns and other jewels.

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Hi Patti,

I had no other way to contact you so I am hoping you will come back here.

The pieces of silk that Her Majesty wears under two of her brooches are to help support the weight and protect the dress.