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The Golden Jubilee: 50 Facts

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50 facts about The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, which was celebrated in 2002

The Queen marked her Golden Jubilee in 2002. As well as a celebration of Her Majesty’s 50 years on the throne, it was an opportunity for The Queen to express her thanks to people, both personally and officially, for their support and loyalty over her reign.

From February through to August, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled throughout the UK and the world, met with people of all ages, religions and nationalities, travelled on myriad methods of transport, hosted numerous receptions, garden parties and two major concerts, and took part in more than 50 walkabouts. However, it was also a very sad time for The Queen, who lost both her mother and her sister within seven weeks.

The 50 facts listed below demonstrate the diversity and intensity of the Jubilee programme, the highlight of which was the Jubilee Weekend in June.

1. The Queen (aged 76) became the oldest monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee and the first monarch to do so since Queen Victoria.

2. The Queen travelled over 40,000 miles by air around the UK and the world.

3. The Queen visited 70 cities and towns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 50 counties over 38 days from May to August.

4. The Queen circumnavigated the globe during the Golden Jubilee, starting the Jubilee with visits to Jamaica, New Zealand and Australia. The 2002 tour was the sixth time in her reign that Her Majesty has travelled around the world on a single tour.

5. The Queen travelled on or aboard the following methods of transport during the Jubilee: a 777 airplane, 727 airplane, Falcon airplane, 146 airplane, helicopter, Skyrail, golden bus, metro, Royal train, steam train, aircraft carrier (HMS Ark Royal), a minesweeper (HMS Bangor), Royal barge, lifeboat, Gold State Coach, horse drawn carriage, Rolls Royce, State Land Rover, Jaguar and new Bentley.

6. People all over the world held street parties, garden parties and other events to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. Perhaps the “coolest” party was in the Antarctic, where 20 scientists of the British Antarctic Survey held a party at a temperature of minus 20. Celebrations included an outdoor feast and a ration of champagne, plus a game of cricket on the sea ice, skiing and sledging. More than 40,000 “toolkits” were distributed to people organising street parties.

7. 27 aircraft flew over Buckingham Palace for the finale of the Jubilee Weekend celebrations. The flypast was led by an RAF C17 Globemaster and ended with Concorde and the Red Arrows trailing red, white and blue.

8. The gardens of Buckingham Palace were used for two public concerts for the first time ever during the Golden Jubilee Central Weekend.

9. The Queen is the first member of the Royal Family to be awarded a gold disc from the recording industry. 100,000 copies of the CD of the “Party at the Palace’”, produced by EMI, were sold within the first week of release.

10. The “Party at the Palace” pop concert was one of the most watched pop concerts in history, attracting around 200 million viewers all over the world.

11. Around 28,000 picnic hampers (special coolbags) were given free to guests, artistes and workers during the two concerts in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. They were packed with goodies including champagne, smoked salmon wrap, “Jubilee Chicken” and strawberries and cream.

12. The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service groups was launched during 2002 to honour “unsung heroes” and has become an annual award.

13. The Queen visited the railway station with the longest name in Britain – Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch – in North Wales.

14. During the Jubilee tour, the Royal Train covered 3,500 miles across England, Scotland and Wales – from as far south as Falmouth in Cornwall and as far North as Wick in Caithness.

15. The first ever parade of all Her Majesty’s bodyguards, was held during the Golden Jubilee. It was the first time in their centuries-old history that they had gone on parade together. The 300-strong Parade included detachments from the Gentlemen at Arms (created by King Henry VIII in 1509), the Yeoman of the Guard (created by King Henry VII in 1485), the Yeoman Warders (one of the oldest corps in the world dating back probably to the eleventh century and based at the Tower of London) and the Royal Company of Archers (formed as an archery club in 1676 and functioning as The Queen’s ceremonial bodyguard in Scotland).

16. The Queen’s Golden Jubilee baton travelled through 23 Commonwealth countries spanning five continents and spent 50 days on visits in the UK covering over 5,000 miles. There were 5,000 runners in the UK alone.

17. The first Royal poetry competition was launched by the Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion, during the Golden Jubilee. Almost 4,000 entries were received and The Queen presented medals to nine young winners aged between seven and 18.

18. The Queen’s Gallery, the most significant addition to Buckingham Palace in 150 years, opened in May 2002 for the Golden Jubilee. The Jubilee Garden at Windsor Castle, the first public garden to be created at the Castle since the 1820s, was opened in June 2002.

19. The Royal Collection’s special touring Golden Jubilee exhibition attracted record audiences throughout the country. “Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection: A Golden Jubilee Celebration” opened in February at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight (near Chester). The gallery experienced a 465% increase in visitor numbers over the exhibition’s two-month run. At the next location, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, attendances of 30,000 almost matched the gallery’s average annual total.

20. There were 28 million hits on the Golden Jubilee website over a six-month period. During the Jubilee, The Queen sent two general circulation emails – one from Norwich to all schools in Norfolk, and one from Wells to schools around the world. The Queen received over 30,000 congratulatory e-mails. She sent a downloadable Jubilee message on the British Monarchy web site. She also talked to school children on a video link to the Australian outback.

21. The Queen hosted a special dinner for all reigning European Sovereigns during the Jubilee. The Queen also attended a dinner with her five surviving UK prime ministers and gave a dinner for Governors-General of the Commonwealth countries of which she is Queen.

22. The Queen took part in around 55 “meet the people” walkabouts during the Jubilee tours from February to August. The first Royal “walkabout” was introduced on a visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1970.

23. Jubilee year saw a number of new dishes invented to mark the anniversary. “Jubilee Chicken” was created by the Royal Chef for guests at the two Queen’s Concerts, with the recipe published for people to make at home.

24. Events over the Golden Jubilee Weekend required around 10 Mega Watts of power, roughly twice the amount needed to power Canary Wharf.

25. 500 miles of cabling were laid in London so that the events of Golden Jubilee Weekend could be broadcast to countries all around the globe. There were also over 50 studios and edit booths.

26. 3,521 media from over 60 countries were accredited to cover the Golden Jubilee Central Weekend from London.

27. The spectacular fireworks display which took place from the roof of Buckingham Palace and in Green Park over the Jubilee Weekend required 2.5 tons of fireworks, with some rising as high as 800 ft into the night sky. The light and sound display also involved 50 searchlights on the Palace, and fountains of water over nine metres high and a sound track.

28. A chain of 2,006 beacons was lit across the world on Monday 3rd June, including the length and breadth of the UK, the Channel Islands, the Commonwealth, and the world. The furthest north was 300 miles from the North Pole in the Arctic, the furthest south in Antarctica, 1000 miles from the South Pole and 8000 miles away from Buckingham Palace. It was the largest ever chain of beacons to be lit. The Queen lit the National Beacon in the Mall on Monday evening, a structure five metres tall in front of the Queen Victoria Memorial. It produced a flame nine metres tall, and burned a tonne of liquid petroleum gas during the time it was lit.

29. The spectacular Jubilee parade down the Mall on the afternoon of the 4th June involved 20,000 people, including a 5,000-strong gospel choir, 2,500 participants from the Notting Hill Carnival, and 4,000 people representing Commonwealth countries. A million people gathered in The Mall to watch the Jubilee festivities on 3rd and 4th June.

30. During the Jubilee programme, The Queen met a diverse range of personalities, including Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space; Sven Goran Eriksson and Sol Campbell; rock group Def Leppard and heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne; Olympian Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Edna Everage.

31. The Queen visited the set of the TV soap “Emmerdale” during the Jubilee. Many soaps also ran Jubilee story lines, including Coronation Street, Eastenders, Brookside and The Archers.

32. The Queen made visits to all four main faith communities (Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu) during the Jubilee. The Queen visited a mosque in Scunthorpe, a Hindu temple in North London, a Sikh temple in Leicester and a Jewish Museum in Manchester. A Multi-Faith Reception at Buckingham Palace was attended by more than 700 representatives of different faiths. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor preached at Sandringham for the first time and the Sunday service during the Jubilee Central Weekend was an ecumenical service.

33. The Queen invited around 48,000 people to six Garden Parties during the Golden Jubilee. The three Buckingham Palace Garden Parties had special themes – Accession Day Babies, Young People born since the Silver Jubilee, and charities of which The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are patron.

34. 688 people born on Accession Day (6th February, 1952) attended the first themed Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 9th July 2002. The fifty-year-olds applied for tickets which were open to anyone with their special date of birth.

35. Around 160,000 cups of tea, 54,000 drop scones and 48,000 slices of chocolate and lemon cake were served at Jubilee Garden Parties at The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Buckingham Palace, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House during the summer.

36. The Gold State Coach was used twice during the Golden Jubilee, making its first appearance since the Silver Jubilee in 1977. The first time was at “All the Queen’s Horses” equestrian spectacular and the second in the procession to St Paul’s Cathedral on Jubilee Day, 4th June.

37. Eleven photographers from the UK and the Commonwealth were commissioned to photograph The Queen for the Golden Jubilee. Photographers included Canadian musician Bryan Adams, Australian photographer Polly Borland, The Duke of York and fashion photographer Rankin. Digital techniques were used for the first time in official Royal photography.

38. The first female Queen’s equerry was in attendance during the Golden Jubilee tour of New Zealand. In New Zealand, The Queen as female Head of State joined a female Governor-General (Dame Silvia Cartwright), a female Prime Minister (Helen Clark) and a female Chief Justice (Sian Elias).

39. The Queen received and replied to, almost 17,500 Golden Jubilee congratulatory letters between February and July, 2002.

40. The Queen unveiled 30 plaques and 4 statues during the Jubilee tours.

41. The Queen opened or visited 5 gardens, planted 9 trees/plants, took part in or watched 10 parades, visited 8 museums and attended 27 receptions.

42. The Queen delivered more than 20 speeches through the between February and August, in which she included words in the Maori language and Welsh.

43. The oldest person presented to The Queen was a 110-year-old in Stirling and the youngest person presented to The Queen was 3 in South London.

44. This year, The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly all in the same year for the first time. The Queen also attended a reception given by the Northern Ireland Assembly and made a speech to its members.

45. Almost 20,000 balloons and 52 doves were released during Golden Jubilee visits in honour of The Queen.

46. Over 600 Jubilee gifts were presented to The Queen for her Jubilee, including personal gifts from individuals, official and corporate gifts, and gifts from Heads of States of other countries. They have included knitted toys, fruit trees for Sandringham, portraits, banners, tea cosies, china corgis, books and videos.

47. The Armed Forces paid their own tribute to The Queen during a spectacular military display in Portsmouth. It featured 6,000 personnel from all three Services, two fly-pasts, gun salutes and a naval review. It ended with a cleverly staged climax when an air crewman leapt into the sea from a helicopter and swam towards The Queen to present Her Majesty with a bunch of flowers.

48. The Empire State Building shone purple and gold on the evening of Tuesday, 4 June 2002 in honour of The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

49. The Queen sent 2,281 birthday telegrams to centenarians and 9,870 telegrams to couples celebrating their diamond wedding (60) anniversary between January and July.

50. The Queen tasted local products wherever she went during the Jubilee tours, from Jamaica to the Western Isles. The Queen was given hampers of locally produced food in Cornwall, Somerset, Suffolk and Powys. In Lincolnshire, The Queen was presented with locally made sausages, and in East London, The Queen was presented with vegetables grown at the Redbridge Lane West allotment.

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