A wonderful start to the decade for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, would see her honour her mother for achieving a very special milestone. She would also travel the world with her husband, Prince Philip, to celebrate 50 years on the throne. But the decade started, with a telegram.
A Special Centenary
On August 4th 2000, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, celebrated her 100th birthday. She was the first member of the royal family to reach this milestone. The Queen Mother made an appearance with the rest of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. As she did this, a royal salute of 41 guns began from nearby Green Park. The tradition began back in the 18th century to mark significant royal events. The traditional gun salute is 21 rounds, but 20 are added if the salute comes from a royal park.
That morning, a postman arrived at Clarence House to deliver the same telegram that the Queen sends to all centenarians, however, this one was handwritten and was signed “Lillibet”, the pet name that Queen Elizabeth had as a child.
The Changing of the Guard on September 13th 2000 was paused by the Queen for a two minute silence, followed by the playing of the American national anthem. Two days earlier, 2,997 people lost their lives when terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Centre in New York, destroying it. There was also another attack the same morning on the Pentagon.
In 2010 the Queen would open the Queen Elizabeth II September 11th Garden, which is located in Hanover Square in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan, New York City, to commemorate the members of the commonwealth that died in the tragedy.
Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, died on the 9th February 2002 after suffering a stroke at the age of 71. Her funeral took place at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor.
Just over a month later, the Queen lost her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. She died at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, having reached the age of 101. The Queen Mothers funeral took place at Westminster Abbey.
A Golden Jubilee
To celebrate her 50 years on the throne, the Queen and Prince Philip travelled extensively. They visited 70 cities and towns in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in 50 counties, over 38 days from May to August. They also travelled over 30,000 miles around the world, visiting Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.
Street parties were held all over the world for Her Majesty’s Jubilee, with possibly the most extreme party being held in Antarctica, by 20 scientists of the British Antarctic survey at a temperature of minus 20 degrees!
The Queen and Prince Philip took a ride in the gold state coach on the 4th June, from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral for a special service. In New York City, the Empire State Building was lit in purple, in her honour.
A Royal Wedding
On April 9th 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, who became the Duchess of Cornwall, in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, followed by a blessing at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became Queen at just 25 years of age, and next year, along with the rest of the world, she will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, which is an astonishing achievement.
She has faced many challenges during her reign, the deaths of family members, and her children’s marriage break-ups, but she has also celebrated wonderful times, such as the birth of grandchildren, and jubilees and wedding anniversaries. She has come through all of it, with dignity and grace, and she is loved by millions.
How she has achieved this is possibly best summed up by the Queen herself. In a speech to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday she said “”I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
We hope you have enjoyed our “Queen Elizabeth II Through The Decades” blog series. We have some beautiful coins that celebrate the Queen’s life and reign, which you can view HERE.