The Platinum Jubilee year is now officially upon us with the anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen’s Accession to the throne in 1952 on Sunday February 6th. In this instalment to Chronicles from the Kiln, we’re considering the significance of Jubilees at both national and brand level and having a look at the events of each major Jubilee The Queen has celebrated alongside the pieces we’ve created to mark and embody those celebrations.
1977: The Silver Jubilee
In the summer of 1977, The Queen undertook an extensive tour of the UK with the aim of meeting as many of her subjects as possible. No Monarch had ever visited so much of the nation in such a short space of time and, during The Queen’s visit to Lancashire, over a million people turned out in a single day. By the end of that year, after The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh had visited Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the West Indies, it was estimated that the pair had travelled 56,000 miles.
Back at home, celebrations concluded when 500 million people watched on television as The Queen’s procession returned down the Mall from a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Street parties were held nationwide with over 4,000 recorded in London alone.
In 1977 Halcyon Days had been producing enamels for 7 years. The box we created to mark the Silver Jubilee showed the State Coach returning to Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953. Scenes of four Royal residences decorated its sides as drawn by Moira Hoddell. We also released two enamel beakers as seen below which depicted The Queen in Coronation robes and her three predecessors on the throne.
2002: The Golden Jubilee
Marking 50 years on the throne, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh toured much of the Commonwealth and UK before celebrations centred on the Jubilee weekend in June. After a classical concert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, a Jubilee church service was held at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor as well as a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Next, a concert at Buckingham Palace where performers including Paul McCartney, Elton John, and Shirley Bassey took to the stage and, finally, The Queen lit the National Beacon: the last in a string 0f 2,006 beacons lit across the Commonwealth.
The box pictured above was one of a number of pieces we produced to mark the Golden Jubilee. This one featured a hand-painted depiction of Buckingham Palace and an inner stamp framed by a wreath made up of the four Flowers of the Realm.
2012: The Diamond Jubilee
In 2012, the same year that London hosted the Olympic Games, The Queen and Prince Philip visited every region of the UK in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Again, festivities hinged on a weekend in June as The Queen visited the Epsom Derby on Saturday. On Sunday ‘Big Jubilee Lunches’ were held across the nation; the same day that the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant took place. Thousands lined the banks of the river while nearly 1,000 boats assembled on it. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled on the Royal Barge at the centre of the flotilla. Meanwhile, a concert on Monday featured artists including Grace Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Madness, who famously performed their song ‘Our House’ on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
Our Diamond Jubilee products included the stunning set of six boxes above. Each one represented a decade in The Queen’s 60 year reign with portraits of her at Windsor Castle, Sandringham, and Buckingham Palace.
2022: The Platinum Jubilee
Official plans for this year’s celebrations have now been announced. Over the course of a 4 day weekend from 2nd to 5th June, celebrations will begin with The Queen’s Birthday Parade on the Thursday. After the Epsom Derby during the day, Saturday evening will see the Platinum Party at the Palace broadcast live by the BBC. The Big Jubilee Lunch on Sunday will see thousands of street parties across the UK, and there’s even the Platinum Pudding competition run by Fortnum & Mason for budding bakers. It’s worth noting too that, as with each previous Jubilee, The Queen uses these moments to promote numerous societal initiatives. One such initiative this year is The Queen’s Green Canopy scheme which encourages participants to “plant a tree for the Jubilee”. Over 60,000 have already been planted by the project.
Our Platinum Jubilee collection is the most extensive we have ever released to celebrate a Royal occasion. It features English fine bone china, accessories, and enamels, many of which are available in limited editions. Each piece within it is expertly crafted and aims to portray a portion of the momentous, unique significance that this year holds. Both our 2022 Annual Year Box and 2022 Easter Egg also have designs pertaining to the Jubilee.
Above is our Royal Residences Musical box which echoes the aforementioned Silver Jubilee design from 1977. Similarly, a new take on our Flowers of the Realm design from 2002 appears on a number of products. On these pieces, daffodils, roses, thistles, and clovers represent floral depictions of the four countries of the United Kingdom. All of these products are pieces of history in their own right; meticulously handmade to be treasured and cherished, and to show reverence for this most remarkable of Monarchs. You can view the full collection here.
A jubilee gives us a chance to reflect on our identity both as individuals and as a nation. The Queen’s remarkable longevity on the throne means that, for many of us, her reign has run adjacent to the trajectory of our whole lives. Jubilees constitute punctuation marks or reference points that help us to place and measure memories, achievements, and changes in our lives. As well as their personal aspect, they encourage wider cultural reflection in their celebration of the values and traditions that this country holds dear. They promote the hopeful messages of harmony, stability, and togetherness that the Sovereign embodies, and they give us a chance to interact more closely with one another as we touch glasses (or Union Jack emblazoned cups) at street parties, pubs, and pageants in London and all around the world.