In February, we published our overview of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in our Holidays & Festivals column. That’s because her reign actually began February 6, 1952. However, the entire succession culminated with her coronation in June of 1953—more than a year later. Similarly, the UK is drawing out Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee over many months. The biggest, event-packed bash is June 2 through June 5. There’s a huge concert headlined by Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney on Monday, June 4, which will be carried by ABC television in the U.S. Also on June 4, a series of thousands of beacons will be lit throughout Commonwealth countries. Wikipedia’s Diamond Jubilee article tells more about responses in various Commonwealth countries, and about these beacons that will begin in the island nation of Tonga that day and eventually circle the globe.
WATCH DIAMOND JUBILEE: The ABC broadcast of the concert will be a two-hour package of excerpts aired by the network on the evening of Tuesday June 5—that’s one day after the actual concert in England. Cable TV subscribers to the BBC channel can watch the most complete coverage of the Jubilee—most of it airing live on the BBC. But, you’ll also find lots of free American coverage of the Jubilee on various U.S.-based TV networks that are sending crews to England for several days. Check out your favorite network listings for coverage. Important tip: One fascinating day to watch or set your TV recorders is Tuesday June 5, which is the big service at St. Paul’s Cathedral followed by two receptions and elaborate processions. Click here to download a free PDF copy of the booklet for the St. Paul’s service. (The 28-page text includes all of the prayers and hymns.)
One last tip for families: You’ll enjoy visiting the official Jubilee website, which has lots of free stuff, including historical photos and fun materials for all ages.
Some of the very “best” videos—that is, the most entertaining and educational—can be found at the BBC archives website. That particular page of videos has been loading more slowly in recent days, so be patient. BBC archival video clips on that page range from 1947 to 1952—but there also are four charming radio clips of “Princess Elizabeth” from the 1940s on that page, as well.
BEST ELIZABETH JUBILEE VIDEOS: QUEEN & PRIME MINISTERS
The Queen’s actual role in government is puzzling to many Americans. She’s more than a ceremonial figurehead and meets regularly with Britain’s Prime Minister. This 4-minute video looks at her relationships with the Prime Minister, going back to Winston Churchill. There’s a bit of wry humor here as well, including a comment that—if only the Russians had figured out how to “bug” the Corgis, the Soviets would have unlocked all of Britain’s secrets. (NOTE: If you do not see a video screen in your version of this story, click here to reload the story in your browser.)
BEST ELIZABETH JUBILEE VIDEOS: A TYPICAL VISIT
The next video is only 1 minute, but represents a charming slice of daily life in the Jubilee. You’ll see the Queen visiting South London, trying to promote the London fashion industry—but also having tea with some ordinary British couples who also are celebrating 60th anniversaries this year.
BEST ELIZABETH JUBILEE VIDEOS: QUEEN AS RELIGIOUS LEADER
Where is the religious significance in the Jubilee? Above, today, you can download a free PDF of the order of worship for the Jubilee service on June 5. In this 8-minute video, the Archbishop of Canterbury talks about the Queen’s role in the Church of England. In part, Rowan Williams says: “Since the 16th century, every English monarch has been Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which doesn’t mean that the Queen or the King is the head of the Church of England. It simply means they’re the final court of appeal. … One of the Queen’s other titles is Defender of the Faith. We still see it on our coins in Latin: Fidei Defensor. It’s tied up with the Queen’s role as the senior layperson of the Church of England. But I think that the Queen has made something quite fresh of it. She has, in effect, said that by being the guardian of the Christian faith as held by the Church of England, she establishes a real place for faith in public life. And the Queen has been amazingly affirming in recent years of the presence of other religions as part of the tapestry of British life.”
BEST ELIZABETH JUBILEE VIDEOS: THE SILVER JUBILEE
We enjoy this short look back at the 1977 celebration with the Queen. The video quality here, of course, is not the same as the more recent clips—but you’ll also see the Queen with much more spring in her step and conviction in her public pronouncements.
BEST ELIZABETH JUBILEE VIDEOS: ICONIC IMAGE
The talented folks at Creative Mapping, a website focused on graphic design, put together this brief video on how Queen Elizabeth’s image has become iconic both in photography and in the fine arts. You’ll see a range of paintings and other images here, presented with a simple musical soundtrack.
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.