The Queen has released an official statement regarding the occasion, saying:
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbors and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth.
“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions. I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
Born in 1926, Elizabeth was the daughter of King George V’s second son, and had little expectation of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 to marry the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. After the death of her father, King George VI, 25-year-old Elizabeth was called upon to assume the throne, beginning a momentous reign. On February 6, 2022, the United Kingdom kicked off celebrations for the queen’s Platinum Jubilee — marking 70 years of her service to the British Commonwealth.
Held at Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth’s coronation ceremony was the first to be broadcast live on television. Some 27 million people in the United Kingdom (out of a total population of 36 million) watched the ceremony, and 11 million more listened on the radio. Afterward, some 3 million people lined the route as the queen and her entourage made their slow procession back to Buckingham Palace.
In the midst of a decade marked by social and political changes, the queen kept to a busy schedule of diplomatic duties, including a 10-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (or West Germany) that was the first official visit there by a British royal since 1913. Her visit marked the 20-year anniversary of the end of World War II, helping to symbolize the reconciliation between the two countries and recognize Germany’s re-emergence as a power in Europe and on the world stage.
Elizabeth has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonization of Africa, and the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms has varied over time as territories have gained independence, and as some realms have become republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include state visits to the People’s Republic of China in 1986, the Russian Federation in 1994, the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and visits to or from five popes.
Significant events have included the Queen’s coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022 respectively. Elizabeth is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state, the oldest living and longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state. Elizabeth has faced occasional republican sentiment and press criticism of the royal family, particularly after the breakdown of her children’s marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992, and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom has been and remains consistently high, as does her personal popularity.