London—There’s none of that old British stiff upper lip going on this week in the United Kingdom as millions in England celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, her 60th year on the throne (so far only Queen Victoria surpassed that at 63 years).
Performers including Alfie Boe, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS, Elton John, Tom Jones, Lang Lang, Annie Lennox, Madness, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Ed Sheeran sang for Her Majesty on Monday in an internationally broadcast concert. And today the celebration culminated with a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral, the traditional wave from the balcony at Buckingham Palace, a fighter fly past and the Feu de Joie rifle salute.
For those of you who aren’t Anglophiles, keep in mind that Elizabeth isn’t just Queen of the United Kingdom but also of the Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
So no wonder there’s such a hullabaloo over the 86-year-old monarch.
Celebrating a Once-in-a-Lifetime Event
And of course, there’s plenty of commemorative memorabilia and merchandise—some with a reverential subtlety, others mostly kitsch.
British footwear brand Aruna Seth came up with a capsule collection of 10 limited edition Swarovski-crystal covered shoes bearing versions of the Union Jack, available to order through Harrods for $2,000 to $4,700.
Backes & Strauss, a British watch brand, paid tribute to the Queen with an 18K white gold watch limited to 60 pieces, available in one or two rows of diamonds on the bezel with a serial number 1952-2012 marking the Queen’s reign. The automatic mechanical watch features the royal color of purple on its lacquer dial and alligator strap. The Royal Cypher appears on the dial, too, by permission of the Lord Chamberlain.
Fabergé joined the celebration with an equally opulent piece: a Diamond Jubilee Egg, crafted from 500 grams of rose gold in the jeweler’s iconic matelassé quilted pattern complete with 60 gemstones–one for each year of the Queen’s reign. (Value: about $157,850).
For the vox populi, Celebration Wrist Ties Ltd. created a collection of British-made velvet and grosgrain ribbon wrist ties embroidered with a crown and the Diamond Jubilee dates (retails about $7.50). Each comes with a souvenir card and styles are named after the Queen’s residences. The company is also donating 10% of the sales to The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, which provides grants to charities throughout the Commonwealth.www.2012diamond.co.uk
Although Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge has assumed the fashion mantle of theWindsorfamily, Her Majesty made a resplendent appearance today. The Queen
wore a white coat, dress and hat by favorite court designer Angela Kelly which were embroidered with silver, gold, and ivory paillettes and embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Her jewelry befitted, well, a queen, including a brooch fashioned from the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan found in 1906, weighing in at a total of 158 carats.