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The Queen to become UK's first monarch in history to celebrate Sapphire Jubilee
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The Queen to become UK’s first monarch in history to celebrate Sapphire Jubilee

The Queen is preparing to make history on Monday when she becomes the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee.

On February 6 – the anniversary of the day she became Queen – Elizabeth II will have reigned for 65 years.

She became the Queen of England in 1952 after her father George VI, who was suffering from lung cancer, died unexpectedly, in his sleep at Sandringham.

At the time, a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth was thousands of miles away in Kenya with her husband.

Lord Charteris, her private secretary, remembered seeing her seated at her desk in the Lodge appearing “very composed, absolute master of her fate”.

Asked what name she wished to use as Queen, she is said to have replied simply:

“My own name, of course.”

The Queen often spends Accession Day privately at Sandringham and this year is not expected to be any different.

The Queen to become UK's first monarch in history to celebrate Sapphire Jubilee

There are no big festivities planned to mark the occasion but a range of commemorative coins have been designed.

The Royal Mint will mark the 65th anniversary with a range of specially designed Sapphire Jubilee coins in a range of metals and denominations from £5, £10 and £500 to £1,000.

The recommended retail prices for the commemorative coins range from £13 for the brilliant un-circulated £5 piece to £49,995 for the £1,000 UK gold proof kilo coin.

The Queen to become UK's first monarch in history to celebrate Sapphire Jubilee

All the coins feature the Queen’s image in profile on the main side but the £5 range has the imperial state crown on the reverse, and an excerpt from Princess Elizabeth’s famous speech where she dedicates herself to her future role as Queen.

My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 she travelled 56,000 miles around the world in celebration, journeying from Western Samoa, Australia and New Zealand to Tonga, Fiji, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the West Indies.

Street parties were held across the country and beacons lit in her honour and more than one million flocked to the Mall in London and the Queen travelled in a state coach with the Duke of Edinburgh to St Paul’s Cathedral for service of thanksgiving.

Her 25-year anniversary fell on the same year as the Lib-Lab pact, the Grunwick picket clashes, punk rock and Red Rum winning the Grand National for a record third time.

It was also the year that the Queen, aged 51, became a grandmother for the first time and that The Sex Pistols released their anti-authoritarian hit God Save The Queen – which was banned on the airwaves.

1992 was the year of the Queen’s 40th anniversary on the throne and her Ruby Jubilee.

It was better known as her “annus horribilis” – one of the most difficult periods of her reign – as her chidren’s marriages were in tatters and public opinion turned against the Royals.

In an unusually personal address at a London Guildhall luncheon in November 1992 to mark her 40th year on the throne, the Queen told guests: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.”

She added: “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’.”

Just like the Silver Jubilee, people crowded into the Mall to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. But the Buckingham Palace also hosted an unprecedented pop concert inside the grounds of Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s 50th anniversary – the Party at the Palace. More than 12,000 people watched Brian May, Sir Paul McCartney and Dame Edna Everage as the 76-year-old Queen watched on.

The Prince of Wales paid tribute to his mother on stage, called her “Mummy” and there was a finale of fireworks and a light show over the Palace.

The Queen became the second British monarch to reach her Diamond Jubilee in 2012- following in the footsteps of her ancestor Queen Victoria. But for most of the festivities held in June to mark the head of state’s 60 years on the throne, the Queen was forced to celebrate without the Duke of Edinburgh. Philip was hospitalised with a bladder infection after enduring a wet and windy trip down the Thames during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.

The Queen also opened up the Palace gardens to thousands of picnickers, who were presented with special Jubilee hampers.

The Queen to become UK's first monarch in history to celebrate Sapphire Jubilee

A pop concert – staged because of the success of the Golden Jubilee show – was held in front of the Palace as well-wishers descended on the Mall once again.

 

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