Her Majesty the Queen will be enjoying her platinum anniversary during the first week in June, from the 2nd until the 5th. There will celebrations throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, which of course includes Australia.
While the date marks the platinum anniversary, her coronation came later, 2nd June 1953. Events and activities for her platinum may also be held at any time throughout this year.
Her first visit to Tasmania occurred in February 1954 when she was invited to open the Tasmanian Parliament. The Queen was accompanied by her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
The Queen was the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. She did not expect to become monarch so soon, if ever. She was third in line, after her uncle, Edward, The Prince of Wales and her father, the Duke of York. She and Philip married 20th November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Her husband, the Duke of Edenborough died 9th April 2021, three months shy of his 100th birthday.
Among many activities across Australia to highlight the occasion will see iconic buildings and monuments illuminated in royal purple during those four major days. Government House Tasmania was similarly illuminated on 6th February this year to mark Accession Day. Also on that day, there was as church service at St David’s Cathedral and the hosting of a reception at Government House, the day following.
What dramatically intervened in her life was the Constitutional crises involving Edward the Prince of Wales and Mrs Wallis Simpson. The affair ended in controversy when Edward, the king abdicated in 1936. This meant that his younger brother George had the throne forced on him, a role he had not preferred to have inherited. The reluctant Prince, then known as Albert, proved to be a great king.
The King did not enjoy good health and underwent an operation and afterwards appeared though weak, fitter. His illness continued and it was obvious he was dying of cancer. At this time Princess Elizabeth and the Duke had two young children, Charles and Anne. For a number of months the King prevailed. On the 31st January 29t 1951 the King waved goodbye to his daughter and son-in-law from the London Airport. They were off to a tour of East Africa. In the small hours of 6th February 1952 the King died.
The young couple were enjoying a stay at a hunting lodge, a wedding present from the inhabitants of Kenya, when the news of the death of her father, was received. She had planned to move on to Australia and New Zealand, but she immediately drafted apologies herself. One vital chore she had, as now monarch, was to declare as Queen, how she would be known. Her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra May. Her title would now be Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
In 2022, she is also the Queen of 14 Commonwealth Countries and Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. He has the title, “Defender of the Faith”.
By the time of her crowning in June 1953 she was the celebrated monarch of nearly a quarter of human beings then living on earth. She was crowned against the setting of Handel’s, Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet.
Australia’s first visit of the royal couple was when they arrived in Sydney 3rd February 1954 and later, on Saturday 20th February 10:30 am, the royal yacht Gothic berthed into Hobart where their hectic and extensive tour of Tasmania began. Upon arrival they were met and addressed by the Lord Mayor of Hobart, Sir Richard Harris and Lady Harris, at the Town Hall. It was on the Monday that Her Majesty opened the fifth session of the 30th Parliament of Tasmania, which was followed by a Garden Party at Government House. The media on the day said that 150,000 people lined the city streets as the royal couple proceeded from Parliament House to Government House. On the way in Stoke Street, a little Dutch girl, Jeltje Folkerts, in national costume, was waiting with a bouquet of roses as a tribute of loyalty from the New Australians. The Queen’s car halted, the Queen leaned over and accepted the bouquet with a warm smile.
On the Tuesday they departed from Cambridge aerodrome to fly to Wynyard and from there visited, Burnie, Ulverstone, Devonport and Launceston. They flew out of Western Junction aerodrome to Essendon, for Melbourne and for elsewhere.
It was part of a six month tour, so that the new Queen could meet her people world-wide.
The Queen is now 96 years old. Her reign has seen dramatic changes throughout Australia and the world. She has served faithfully for 70 years, making her not only the longest serving British monarch, but the longest serving monarch in the world.
Many of the years have not been easy for her, but she has endured through the ability to see things through, to sacrifice herself and dedicate her life to her people, not to governments, but to her people.