Were there any years during the Queen’s reign that were more thrilling than 2012? Not many, anyway. In a year that also saw a wildly successful Olympic Games in London—featuring the Queen and James Bond, of course—the monarch also celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, becoming only the second sovereign in British history to mark such a milestone.
The Queen usually marks her Accession Day privately, as it is also the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI. But on February 6, 2012, the Queen made a visit to King’s Lynn near Sandringham to greet well-wishers at the dawn of the 60th year of her remarkable reign.
Her parents were clearly close to her heart that day. On her jacket, she wore a diamond and pearl jewel, the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch, that belonged to the late Queen Mother.
The Queen was busy with Diamond Jubilee-related events for the next several months, including a tour that took her across the nation. On May 13, she and the Duke of Edinburgh joined other members of the family in Windsor for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, part of the annual Royal Windsor Horse Show.
On May 18, the Queen hosted a special Sovereign’s Jubilee Lunch for her fellow monarchs and heads of state at Windsor Castle. Here, she welcomes King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden to the castle for the event. Many of the sovereigns who were in attendance are also related to the British royal family. Carl Gustaf, for example, is the grandson of Princess Margaret of Connaught and the great-grandson of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.
The Queen (pictured here with Beatrix of the Netherlands) wore the Duchess of Cambridge’s Pearl Pendant Brooch for the luncheon.
The following day, the Queen and her royal guests attended the Armed Forces Parade and Muster in Windsor, with more than 2500 troops participating in the event.
The Queen chose a favorite brooch from her late mother’s collection for the event: the Queen Mother’s Palm Leaf Brooch.
The Diamond Jubilee celebrations were in full swing in June, with a weekend of festivities that began with the Epsom Derby on June 2.
For the Derby, the Queen wore Queen Mary’s Russian Sapphire Brooch. The jewel was Queen Mary’s wedding gift from Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia (aunt of King George V) in 1893.
On June 3, the royal family boarded the royal barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, for the Diamond Jubilee Water Pageant on the River Thames in London.
The Queen sparkled in the Jardine Star Brooch for the special pageant.
On June 4, Buckingham Palace was rocking for the Party at the Palace, a star-studded concert. Many members of the royal family were in attendance, although the Duke of Edinburgh, who had fallen ill after the water pageant, was hospitalized just before the concert and sadly had to miss the remaining jubilee festivities.
The celebrations culminated on June 5 with a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a luncheon at the Guildhall, and a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen took the diamond theme of the event seriously on this occasion, wearing the Cullinan III & IV Brooch with her pearls. This is the brooch that she jokingly calls “Granny’s Chips,” because she inherited the (not at all small) diamonds from her grandmother, Queen Mary.
The Queen wrapped up the festivities with a balcony appearance that reinforced the succession, standing between her eldest son (then the Prince of Wales, now King Charles III) and her eldest grandson (then the Duke of Cambridge, now the Prince of Wales).