The Queen’s diamond jubilee – in 1897

The union flag bunting has been hung, the coronation chicken sandwiches have been cut and the roads have mostly been closed. Like it or not, it will be hard to escape the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations this weekend. So why all the fuss? Well, monarchs rarely reach the 60-year mark, so this is probably the only diamond jubilee we’ll see – in person that is. It has happened before, when august Queen Victoria marked her 60-year anniversary in 1897. Luckily for us, the newsreel cameras were rolling that day and the BFI has released this fascinating clip of her elaborate jubilee procession. The Queen herself makes an appearance at 1:40, but my personal highlight is 1:23, when a rather wayward horse threatens, briefly, to derail the whole shebang.

This is by no means the only clip to survive, however, and if you want to see more, you can visit the Bedford Park festival in Chiswick, west London on 21 June 2012, for an audiovsual feast of material related to Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee – presented by Luke McKernan and Neil Brand:

A 90-minute show combining archive film from the BFI, photographs, live commentary with actors, and piano accompaniment, recreating the London procession on 22 June 1897 to mark the 60th year of Queen Victoria’s reign. Presented by film historian Luke McKernan, with actors Neil Brand and Liz Fost reading eyewitness accounts of Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and Queen Victoria herself.

Click here to book tickets.

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