The Jubilee History

The Word ‘Jubilee’ will be much used in 2022.  It derives from a Hebrew word ‘Jobel’ which refers to the ram’s horn with which Jubilee years were proclaimed every 49 years.  The origins of a Jubilee go back to the era of the Pharoahs some 3,000 years before Christ.  Thirty years after his Accession (the day he came to the throne) the Pharoah took part in various ceremonies to demonstrate his fitness to rule.  One such was a race he was obliged to run.  Jubilees developed into Roman Catholic holy years.  Above all these were celebrations – times of joy – of jubilation. 

Two early British kings marked their Jubilees – Henry III in 1265, and Edward III in 1377. King Henry had reigned for 49 years by 1265, and Edward III reached 50 years in January 1377 and died in June the same year.  The first comparable modern Jubilee was that of George III marked in 1809 after a reign of 49 years.  This was not a wholly popular event in conception, but the King was at the height of his popularity and soon afterwards descended into illness.  He did not mark a Diamond Jubilee, apart from being ill and there being a Regency.  He did not quite reach a reign of 60 years before his death in January 1820.   

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 was memorable for all the royal visitors who came from overseas – and her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 for the troops that were brought to London from every corner of the Empire.

King George V was at first reluctant to celebrate his Silver Jubilee in 1935, but was surprised by the genuine affection in which he was held.  He died the following January.

Dates that are marked in a monarch’s reign

Accession Day

This is the day the new monarch succeeds to the throne. It is from this date that the length of the reign is judged.

Coronation Day

the day on which the monarch is anointed and crowned in Westminster Abbey.

Silver Jubilee – 25 years on the throne.

Golden Jubilee – 50 years on the throne.

Diamond Jubilee – 60 years on the throne.

Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne.


The monarch who has reigned the longest in history is King Louis XIV of France, who reigned for a remarkable 72 years and 110 days.

7 Decades

Princess Elizabeth was third in line of succession to the throne, when she was born on 21 April 1926.  She became heiress presumptive in December 1936, on the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII.

She succeeded to the throne while on a visit to Kenya, on the first lap of a proposed Commonwealth tour, on 6 February 1952, following the death of her beloved father, King George VI.  She and the Duke of Edinburgh immediately returned to London.  The Queen was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

The Queen reached the significant 70th anniversary of her Accession at Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, on Sunday 6 February this year. 

Her reign has therefore extended for a remarkable 70 years, spanning enormous changes in the history the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

The Queen in Windsor

Her Majesty has always held Windsor in great affection.  She and Princess Margaret spent most of the war years in Windsor Castle, and when she came to the throne, she and Prince Philip opened some rooms in the castle, decided they liked it and spent most weekends here when they were in the south, as well as Christmas for many years, the time of the Easter Court, Royal Ascot week and other times of the year as appropriate. 

As Princess Elizabeth, The Queen was confirmed in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on 28 March 1942, and undertook her first major duty, inspecting the Grenadier Guards as their new Colonel in April 1942, at the time of her 16th birthday.  She has presided over the ceremonies of the Order of the Garter (having been installed herself in 1948), and has welcomed heads of state from overseas on state visits.  The funerals of King George VI, Queen Mary, and The Duke of Edinburgh and many other members of the Royal Family have taken place in St George’s Chapel.  Her immediate family, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were laid to rest in St George’s Chapel, and it was also where family weddings have been solemnised and milestone birthdays marked. 

The Queen also enjoys a special relationship with the town and Borough.  On her 90th birthday in 2016, The Queen unveiled the panel marking The Queen’s Walkway which celebrating her becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Since the pandemic in March 2020, Windsor Castle has been her principal home.

Previous Jubilee Celebrations

On Monday 6 June 1977, one of the first great events of The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was the lighting of the Royal Beacon at the Copper Horse, the Queen arriving with members of her family at Snow Hill in a torchlight procession, leading to the lighting of some 102 beacons across Great Britain.  Some 70,000 people gathered in Windsor Great Park to witness this spectacular occasion.  

Windsor itself rose to the occasion as ever and put on a year of festivities, including the Royal Windsor Big Top Show on 28 May where, amongst others, The Queen met Dame Edna Everage, one of the performers. 

From the Silver Jubilee, with funds raised from a car rally at the castle, the Prince Philip Trust Fund was formed, which continues to support local causes to this day.

At the time of the Golden Jubilee in 2002, The Queen invited five European Sovereigns who had received the Order of the Garter to join the annual procession.  On that day she installed King Harald of Norway as a Knight of the Garter.  And ten years later at the Diamond Jubilee, she gave a magnificent lunch for the Kings and Queens of the world, including some no longer reigning, at which Emperor Akihito was also a guest, all the way from Japan.

A highlight of the Diamond Jubilee, was the wonderful equine pageant held at Windsor, where The Queen watched a fantastic display of horses and over 1,000 performers from around the world.

As ever Windsor was to the fore, celebrating their much loved Queen.

For this Jubilee, a special souvenir book is being published with text by Hugo Vickers and 70 stunning photographs of The Queen in Windsor by Gill Heppell.

Jubilee Legacies in Windsor

The Long Walk proudly displayed the Willow Arches for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Find out more/Useful Links

The Royal Family –
Royal Collection Trust Home (