The Diamond Jubilee Celebrations for Queen Victoria's sixty year reign were somewhat muted compared to the recent celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth her great, great granddaughter
All over the country, towns, cities and Individuals made preparations for the Jubilee. In Cardiff a park was opened to celebrate the Jubilee- something that happenned in many towns where there was a growing recognition of the need for open space for those confined to work in factories.
There were souvenirs just as today but probably more tasteful! There were especially minted souvenir coins and china plates, bowls and cups- decorated with symbols of the Queen's reign or simply just showing the dates of her reign. I think one of the most popular souvenirs of this Jubilee has to be the card board cut out masks- we can all be a member of the family- even Prince Harry was seen to sport a card board face of his brother William whilst on an Overseas visit this year on behalf of his grand mother.
At the time of her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 Queen Victoria was aged 78 years but she was old and tired without the vitality that she had shown in her Golden Jubilee some ten years earlier. The efforts of child-birth and the sorrow of losing her beloved Albert had weakened her she no longer had the strength for long official engagements. This was in contrast to the strength shown by Queen Elizabeth in her Diamond Jubilee , but she had fewer children, robust good health and a strong independent minded husband at her side.
On her Jubilee Day the Queen sat quietly at Buckingham Palace in her wheel chair, welcoming her guests and reading the constant stream of congratulatory telegrams.
THE CELEBRATIONS FIT FOR A QUEEN
Just as our recent Jubilee there was to be a parade through London following a service of thanks giving at St. Paul's Cathedral, taking place on 22nd June 1897. Victoria was too weak and lame to make her way into the huge cathedral so a short service was held outside so that the Queen did not have to leave her carriage which was a landau with an open top drawn by eight beautiful cream horses from the Royal Household Stables.
Film of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations
There were many official representatives at the Jubilee, as many as eleven Prime Ministers from far-flung colonies who had made long journeys to get to London. As well as the troops and officials from the colonies there were members of her family and members of other European monarchies, who were also often distant relatives. The presence of the troops and the ministers and representatives from the colonies emphasised the vastness of the British Empire just before the turn of the century. The Queen was presented with a vast array of goods by her visitors and loyal subjects, much of which are kept in the Durbar rooms at Osborne on the Isle of Wight.
The Queen thanked her people for their support as did our Queen Elizabeth, thereby starting the tradition of the Royal yearly broadcast at Christmas. She used the new technology of the electric telegraph to spread her message through out her Empire.
"From my heart I thank my beloved people, May God bless them"