The official website of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Queen's Diamond Jubilee logo

60 Facts about The Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK

60 facts about this year's celebrations to mark The Queen's six decades as Sovereign

On 6 February 2012, The Queen became only the second British Monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. Since then, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have travelled throughout the United Kingdom and have met people of all ages, religions and backgrounds, travelled on myriad methods of transport, attended a variety of engagements and hosted numerous garden parties. The 60 facts listed below demonstrate the intensity and breadth of the Jubilee programme, the focal point of which was the Jubilee Weekend in June.

1. More than 35,000 entries were received by Blue Peter in the national competition to design the official Diamond Jubilee emblem. The competition, open to children aged between 6 and 14, was won by 10-year-old Katherine Dewar, from Chester.

2. Three specially commissioned official Diamond Jubilee photographs of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh by John Swannell were released in February. The photographs were taken in the Centre Room in Buckingham Palace in December 2011.

3. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust was announced in October 2011. It was established to celebrate The Queen’s 60 year contribution to the Commonwealth and a life of public service, aiming to make a real and enduring impact on the lives of those who live within the Commonwealth. Its Board is chaired by former British Prime Minister Sir John Major.

4. In January 2010, it was announced that The Queen had agreed to confer the honour of Royal Borough status on Greenwich to mark the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, in recognition of the very close links between Greenwich and the Monarchy as well as Greenwich’s global significance.

5. As a result of the Civic Honours competition for the Jubilee, Chelmsford, Perth and St. Asaph were awarded the right to call themselves a city, while Armagh was awarded a Lord Mayoralty. In the Civic Honours Competition, 25 towns applied for City Status and 12 cities applied for a Lord Mayoralty.

6. More than 440,000 official Diamond Jubilee medals were manufactured and awarded to those in the Armed Forces, emergency services and prison service personnel among others. 

7. A total of 112 outstanding UK organisations were honoured as recipients of The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2012 in June.  Also in February, a new, one-off award, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award 2012 (www.direct.gov.uk/qavs), was announced. This special category seeks to recognise the achievements of charities and voluntary groups that work at a national level, as opposed to the existing Queen’s Award which is aimed at those groups operating at a local or community level. 

8. On the first day of the Jubilee weekend, on 2nd June, Camelot ridden by Joseph O’ Brien won the Epsom Derby in the presence of The Queen.

9. Many people in communities all over the UK held Big Jubilee Lunches (www.thebiglunch.com). Councils received almost 9,500 road closure applications for Diamond Jubilee street parties and an estimated 8.5 million people in the UK took part in Big Jubilee Lunches. The largest recorded Big Jubilee Lunch took place in Greenwich, south east London, hosting up to 10,000 people.  

10.  As Patron of the Big Jubilee Lunch, The Duchess of Cornwall attended a special Big Lunch in Piccadilly on 3rd June, along with The Prince of Wales.

11.  Community Big Jubilee Lunches in south west London on 3rd June were visited by HRH Duke of York and TRHs Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

12.  More than 50 of the UK’s largest community groups, membership organisations and charities supported the Big Jubilee Lunch, including the Scout Association, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Neighbourhood Watch and Age UK.

13.  People in more than 70 countries took part in Big Jubilee Lunches to celebrate The Queen’s 60-year reign, including in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Nepal and Tuvalu and even in the Arctic Circle.   

14.  The Thames Pageant consisted of 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The main pageant journey was from Chelsea to Tower Bridge, amounting to approximately 7 miles (with the longer flotilla journey including mustering, dispersal and the Avenue of Sail from Hammersmith to Greenwich). The organisers described it as the largest such celebration on the Thames since the reign of Charles II, 350 years ago.

15.  In the Pageant, The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry travelled on the Royal Barge (the Spirit of Chartwell), which was decorated with 10,000 flowers.

16.  An estimated 90,000 people attended the Diamond Jubilee Festival in Battersea Park and watched the Thames Pageant from there. Crowds in central London were estimated to number 1.2 million people.

17.  Eight Royal Jubilee Bells, named after senior members of the Royal Family, travelled on the floating belfry, which preceded the flotilla. They were cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London.

18.  The Pageant was led by the Royal Rowbarge Gloriana, which had been presented to and named by Her Majesty The Queen in a visit to Greenwich in April 2012. Gloriana was later used to transport the Olympic Flame along the Thames on the final day of its journey to light the Olympic Cauldron.

19.  10,000 members of the public were selected by a national ballot to attend the Diamond Jubilee Concert on 4th June, preceded by a Picnic in the Buckingham Palace Garden. Each guest was given a Jubilee Picnic Hamper, consisting of British products selected by Heston Blumenthal and Royal Chef Mark Flanagan.

20.  The unique concert stage was built around the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.

21.  Artists who performed at the Concert included (in order of appearance) Robbie Williams, will.i.am, Jessie J, JLS, Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Sir Cliff Richard, Lang Lang, Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Ruby Turner, Grace Jones, Ed Sheeran, Annie Lennox, Rolf Harris, Renée Fleming, Sir Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey, Kylie Minogue, Alfie Boe, Renée Fleming, Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Madness and Sir Paul McCartney.

22.  “Sing”, the Official Diamond Jubilee song co-written by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the Diamond Jubilee album from which it was taken, reached number one in the single and album charts respectively. The single featured in the Jubilee Concert, with Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir leading the Commonwealth Band in a rendition. The 210 musicians in the Commonwealth Band is one of the highest number of musicians to record a UK single.

23.  The Diamond Jubilee Concert was broadcast live on BBC One, and attracted a peak audience of 17 million in the UK. It was also available to listeners to BBC Radio 2 in the UK and enjoyed by millions around the world on TV.

24.  The National Beacon on The Mall was lit by The Queen using the Jubilee Crystal Diamond at the end of the Diamond Jubilee Concert on Monday 4th June.

25.  A network of over 4,200 beacons was lit by communities and individuals throughout the United Kingdom, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, overseas Territories and the Commonwealth.

26.  For the first time in history, beacons were lit on top of the four highest mountains in the United Kingdom. These were Scaffel Pike, England (by Cancer Research UK); Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland (by Fields of Life); Ben Nevis, Scotland (by Help for Heroes) and Mount Snowdon, Wales (by Walking with the Wounded).

27.  Venues for beacon lighting included Royal Palaces such as the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Tower of London, as well as the private Royal estates of Sandringham and Balmoral. 

28.  Beacons were lit in many Commonwealth countries, including at significant locations such as Parliament House in Canberra, Australia and at the Treetops hotel in Kenya, where the then Princess Elizabeth heard that her father, King George VI, had died in 1952.

29.  Members of The Royal Family, politicians, diplomats, Commonwealth representatives and Lord-Lieutenants were amongst the 2,300 guests at a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 5th June to mark the Jubilee. 

30.  The Service was conducted by the Dean of St. Paul’s, The Very Reverend Dr David Ison, and the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the sermon. The Diamond Choir was made up of children selected from around the country. A special prayer for the Diamond Jubilee was included in the service (the Diamond Jubilee Prayer was written at The Queen's direction by the Chapter of St.Paul's Cathedral for the Diamond Jubilee).

31.  The Diamond Jubilee Lunch at Westminster Hall on 5th June, was attended by 700 guests from all over the country representing a cross-section of trades, crafts and professions.

32.  There was a Carriage Procession on 5th June from Westminster Hall, the Palace of Westminster, to Buckingham Palace. The Queen travelled in the 1902 State Landau. During the Carriage Procession, the King’s Troop fired a 60 gun salute.

33.  When The Queen appeared on the Palace balcony on 5th June, there was an RAF Flypast and a Feu de Joie (“Fire of Joy” – a celebratory cascade of rifle fire given as a salute by The Queen’s Guard) from the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

34.  The Queen attended a Multi-faith reception at Lambeth Palace on 15th February, where she met Christian representatives, as well as representatives of the eight non-Christian religions - the Baha'i, the Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Zoroastrian communities.

35.  The Queen’s Joint Address to Parliament on 20th March also saw the unveiling of a stained glass window in Westminster Hall as a gift to The Queen from Members of both Houses on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

36.  The sovereigns of 26 countries came to Windsor Castle on 18th May for a special luncheon to mark The Queen’s Jubilee.

37.  The Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle in May 2012 celebrated the Commonwealth and State visits The Queen has made during Her Reign. The 90 minute theatrical show featured 550 horses and 1,100 performers, and was broadcast on ITV over the Jubilee Weekend.

38.  On 19th May, the Jubilee Parade and Muster saw nearly 2,500 troops from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force parade through Windsor Castle and town down to the Horse Showground for a Drumhead Service before Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh.

39.  In her Diamond Jubilee year, The Queen opened the London 2012 Olympic Games on 27th July and the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 29th August.

40.  More than 60,000 invitations have been issued by Buckingham Palace this year to three Garden Parties, four Services of Thanksgiving and other Jubilee-related events.

41.  The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s regional tour of the United Kingdom began in Leicester on 8th March and finished on 25th July, with visits to Cowes, Isle of Wight and New Forest, Hampshire.

42.  The regional tour featured widespread travel across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Car, the Royal Train, aircraft and the ship Leander were used as modes of transport.

43.  The Queen visited 10 different regions in the UK, on her tour, which spanned 25 days and encompassed 83 public engagements.

44.  Services of Thanksgiving took place at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, St. Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen and Glasgow Cathedral (as well as at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 5th June).

45.  Members of the Royal Family are visiting every Commonwealth Realm, representing The Queen throughout the Diamond Jubilee year. The visits began with The Earl and Countess of Wessex travelling to the Caribbean in February 2012.

46.  The Choirbook for The Queen, a collection of 44 contemporary choral anthems by living British composers, was published to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. It included 11 anthems commissioned especially for the Choirbook. The project’s Patron was The Prince of Wales.

47.  208 schools across the UK entered a competition to “Cook for The Queen”, creating a special menu featuring recipes showcasing the best of British to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The menus of the four winning schools were served to The Queen and The Duchess of Cornwall at a reception at Buckingham Palace in June. 

48.  Face Britain consisted of 200,000 self-portraits from children aged 4-16 years throughout the UK. All portraits were combined to create a montage portrait of The Queen, projected onto the front of Buckingham Palace in April 2012. The project was officially confirmed by Guinness World Records as holding the title for “Most artists working on the same art installation.”

49.  The Jubilee Greenway, launched by The Queen in February, is a walking and cycling route in London exactly 60 kilometres long - one kilometre for each year of Her Majesty's reign. It links many of London’s Olympic Games venues.

50.  As a result of the Jubilee People’s Millions, 60 grants of up to £60,000 from the Big Lottery Fund were rolled out to projects all over the UK aiming to improve local communities.

51.  By July 2012, the Jubilee Woods Project (run by The Woodland Trust) had planted more than 3 million trees to mark the Diamond Jubilee.  In total the project aims to plant 6 million trees. 

52.  More than 1,450 spaces have thus far been safeguarded as Queen Elizabeth II Fields, as part of an effort to protect outdoor recreational spaces throughout the country in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. The project, run by Fields in Trust, is supported by The Duke of Cambridge, who is the Patron of the campaign.

53.  As part of the Jubilee Time Capsule run by the Royal Commonwealth Society, people contributed more than 80,000 items about their family, community, country or the Commonwealth for different days of The Queen’s reign (www.jubileetimecapsule.org). 1,000 students who took part in the Capsule joined The Queen in attending the Commonwealth Day Observance Service at Westminster Abbey on 12th March.

54.  Pinning The Queen’s History (run by Historypin working with Google) is a global interactive archive project to mark the Diamond Jubilee, focusing on The Queen’s visits over 60 years as well as Jubilee celebrations. The Duke of Cambridge contributed a memory about his grandmother, The Queen, attending his graduation from Sandhurst in 2006. Contributions are still being accepted (www.thediamondjubilee.org/pinning-queen-s-history)

55.  All 141 volumes of Queen Victoria’s Journals were made available online, as a partnership between the Royal Archives, Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University and the online publisher, ProQuest. In addition, a new website on Queen Victoria, “Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Scrapbook”, was launched by Buckingham Palace in April, drawing on material from the Royal Archives. 

56.  Major Jubilee exhibitions included “Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames” (the National Maritime Museum), “The Queen: Art and Image” (the National Portrait Gallery) and “Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton - A Diamond Jubilee celebration” (Victoria and Albert Museum).

57.  The Royal Collection organised a series of exhibitions including “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration” for the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace (featuring an unprecedented display of a number of The Queen’s personal jewels), “Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist” at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace (featuring the largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body) and “The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years” at Windsor Castle (featuring 60 photographs of The Queen, many by leading press photographers of the past six decades).

58.  The Queen has received more than 178,000 letters and messages of goodwill so far during the course of the Diamond Jubilee year. This included more than 100,000 “Jubilee” letters, and 78,000 electronic messages of congratulations through the official Diamond Jubilee website.

59.  The events of the Jubilee weekend were followed by huge numbers of people both in the UK and overseas through regular updates on the British Monarchy website and the official Diamond Jubilee website. In total, the websites attracted over 2 million unique visitors and 7.6 million page views.

60.  The social media channels of the British Monarchy also proved popular during the Jubilee weekend. Over the four day weekend, (2nd to 5th June), the total views on the Monarchy Flickr account were more than 1.4 million, while the Royal Channel on YouTube was viewed on 475,000 occasions and the Monarchy Facebook page had over 1.8 million unique views.

 

The Queen at a reception for the participants of the Royal Windsor Horse Show Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle in October 2012. © Press Association
The Queen at a reception for the participants of the Royal Windsor Horse Show Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle in October 2012. © Press Association
Click for larger imagesClick to view images
The Queen at a reception for the participants of the Royal Windsor Horse Show Jubilee Pageant at Windsor Castle in October 2012. © Press Association