The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

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Yesterday, 50 years after the day of her accession to the throne, The Queen repeated the pledge she first made at the age of 21 “I dedicate myself anew to your service.”

Queen Elizabeth II completed 50 years on the British throne yesterday. The official three day Diamond Jubilee celebration is earmarked for 3 -5 June 2012.  The event will be celebrated throughout the country and schools are busy planning activities to mark the occasion. The Queen will be touring Britain throughout the year visiting many towns and cities. Only Queen Victoria has reigned longer at 63 years so the Diamond Jubilee promises to be a truly unique occasion for all of us.

The actual Jubilee day is still a few months off but a few resources have already been shared:

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – 50 years in video

60 curious facts about the Queen

Activities for KS1 children at Activity Village 

Create your own memorabilia plate – even if you do not actually buy one!

The Jubilee Time Capsule Lesson Plan 

There is a fun art activity for KS2 and 3 in the Guardian Teacher Network

Information about The Queen’s life

The photograph above is from Wikipedia where there are more photographs under a Creative Commons License which can be used freely in school.  Below is some background information on the life of The Queen which teachers may find useful:

Queen Elizabeth

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, the Queen, was born in London on 21 March 1926. She was the first child of George Windsor, the Duke of York and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Her father was the second in line to the throne but it was her uncle, Edward, who was the actual heir to the British throne.

In 1936 her grandfather King George V died, and, as expected, his oldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII but he soon decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallace Simpson. Elizabeth’s father was suddenly and very unexpectedly king and as his oldest child Elizabeth became the first in line to the throne.

When war broke out two years later and Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret spent much of their time at Windsor Castle. When she was 14 Elizabeth made one of the most famous early broadcasts over the radio  telling children who evacuated from their homes and families “in the end all will be well for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.”

In 1942 Princess Elizabeth was appointed as the Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards. She carried out her first public engagement at the age of 16, inspecting the regiment. In 1945 Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service to help with the war effort. She trained with the British women and became an expert driver-mechanic.

Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten on the 20th of November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth is said to have collected clothing coupons and promo codes for shoes for her wedding day. They have four children, Prince Charles -14 November 1948, Princess Anne – 15 August 1950, Prince Andrew – 19 February 1960 and Prince Edward – 10 March 1964.

On February 6th 1952 whilst visiting Kenya, Princess Elizabeth received the news and the father’s death and her own accession to the throne. On 2 June 1953 Elizabeth was crowned Queen at her coronation in Westminster Abbey. The coronation was broadcast on British TV for the first time. Unusually Elizabeth kept her family name, Windsor, instead of taking her husband’s name Mountbatten.

During 1953–54, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-world tour. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations. During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen the Queen. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth has undertaken state visits to foreign countries, and tours of Commonwealth ones. She is the most widely travelled head of state in history.

In 1977, Elizabeth celebrated the Silver Jubilee of her accession. She toured the nation and the commonwealth and there were partied to celebrate wherever she went.

The early 1990s were a difficult time for her. She was shot at, Charles and his first wife, mother of his children, Diana, was divorced, Anne and Captain Mark Phillips divorced, Andrew and Sarah separated and later Diana died in a car crash. Also Windsor Castle had a fire causing severe damage.

Despite being in her eighties the Queen still handles about 430 engagements each year and still making state visits all around the world. She supports more than 600 charities and has weekly meetings with the British Prime Minister. David Cameron is her 12th British Prime Minister and to mark the actual date of her accession to the throne, he praised the magnificent service given by the Queen and called her a “source of wisdom and continuity” in his speech on the 6th February. “With experience, dignity and quiet authority she has guided and united our nation and the Commonwealth over six varied decades” he said.