This year, Britain is celebrating the Queen’s platinum jubilee. She has been our queen for 70 years, which is longer than any other British monarch. A jubilee is a special kind of anniversary and platinum means 70 years. Keep reading to learn more about the Queen and the jubilee celebrations.
Queen Elizabeth was born in 1926. She was never expected to be queen but her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated (stepped down as king) in 1936. He wanted to marry a divorced woman, which was not allowed by the church in those days. Elizabeth’s father then became King George VI, making her next in line to the throne.
Until recently, it has been the law and the tradition that the oldest son of a monarch would be the next king, and the only way for a woman to succeed to the throne would be if she had no brothers, like Elizabeth. This law has recently been changed so that if the oldest child is a girl, she will become queen. However, it is highly unlikely we will see another female head of state in our lifetime because Prince Charles will be the next king, followed by Prince William, and William’s oldest child is also a boy, called George.
You might also be interested to know that the wife of a king is called queen but the husband of a queen is a prince. He can’t be a king because that would put him in a higher position than his wife, due to the old-fashioned idea that men are superior to women! Elizabeth married Philip in 1947 and he was known as Prince Philip. They were married for 73 years and he died in 2021.
King George VI died on 6th February 1952 and Elizabeth became queen. She was only 25 years old. The coronation (crowning ceremony) didn’t happen until 1953 though. My parents remember that a lot of people bought their first television so they could watch it! People who didn’t have a TV went round to their neighbour’s house to see it there.
I remember the Queen’s silver jubilee. It was in 1977 and I was 7 years old. Queen Elizabeth visited my home town and lots of people went to see her. I was too small to see anything so my dad lifted me up and sat me on his shoulders! You can see some photos here:
We usually have a holiday on the last Monday in May but this year, we are having two days’ holiday instead on 2nd and 3rd June, making a long weekend to celebrate the platinum jubilee. On Thursday 2nd June, there is a parade in London. The Queen and members of the Royal Family will travel along the street in carriages, with soldiers, horses and musicians. There will be concerts, picnics and street parties all around the country over the weekend.
There was also a baking competition. Over 5000 people created desserts and sent in their photos and recipes. The winner was a lemon trifle. There is also a tree-planting project called the Queen’s Green Canopy. People all over the country are being encouraged to plant a tree this year in honour of the Queen and to make our planet greener.
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Reading is a great way to improve your English. For more reading resources, visit this page.
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