Next year marks the momentous 70th anniversary of our Queen Elizabeth’s reign. She is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee – and celebrations will be held the length and breadth of the country.
Despite Her Majesty’s grand age – she turns 96 years old next April – I do not expect for one moment that she will be a shrinking violet as plans for festivities to mark this historic event are already well in hand. And what joy they will be, from the much loved Trooping of the Colour, to the lighting of Platinum Jubilee Beacons around Great Britain and beyond.
Communities will unite and street parties will be held in every town with revellers joyously flying the Union Jack. Commemorative tea towels and china will be on sale and biographical books about her reign will fill the shelves in our book stores.
I expect Sandringham House, in particular, will pull out all the stops as next year also marks the 160th anniversary of when it first came into royal hands. And we know how fond the Queen is of spending time in her Norfolk home. Over the last few decades she has celebrated almost every Christmas there with her family, an exception being last year because of the covid pandemic.
Sandringham House was purchased by Prince Albert in 1862 for Prince Edward when he was Prince of Wale and had just turned twenty one. The following year the Prince moved there with his young wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, three weeks after their marriage.
It has been a restorative country retreat for four monarchs. After King Edward V111 died it passed on to King George V, and then King George V1, the Queen’s father. Most importantly, it is a home to the royals, not a palace or castle, and does not host state visits.
So if anywhere pulls out all the stops to ensure that these one-in-a-lifetime celebrations are remembered long afterwards, then it will surely be here, where local people have many fond royal memories and much to celebrate.