London is all abuzz over the Summer Olympics, but the UK is also celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th year as the country’s reigning monarch. Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, which spans a year of fun events and exhibits, provides Brits and travelers alike with the opportunity to get a glimpse of life as a royal. Check out these not-to-be-missed events happening this year.
The Queen gets things started with a trip to the Epsom Derby in Epsom Downs, Surrey. It’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth is a huge racing fan, and she’s attended the annual races here since she was a young girl. She’ll be cheering on her horse, Carlton House, from the Royal Box. Come dressed in your best to enjoy a flutter at one of the world’s most famous horse races.
A total of 1,000 boats -- from across the UK and around the world -- will take to London’s River Thames in one of the most lavish processions that London has ever seen. Queen Elizabeth will lead the flotilla of boats in her magnificent royal barge as the boats sail from Hammersmith in the west to Greenwich in the east. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that will see the Thames come alive with color, pomp and pageantry!
Beacons across the UK, the Commonwealth and elsewhere will be lit to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. Locations will include St. James’s Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Tower of London and the 4 highest mountains in the UK.
This touring exhibition examines Cecil Beaton’s relationship with Queen Elizabeth in his role as official royal photographer. From the 1940s to the 1960s, Beaton captured his royal subject first as a young princess, then as a caring mother and dedicated sovereign in a series of intimate photographic portraits.
Explore the relationship between the royal family and one of the world’s most famous rivers in this major new exhibition in London. You’ll experience the sights, sounds and even the smells that have accompanied royal pageantry on the River Thames through the ages. Items on view include Canaletto paintings, carvings from the royal yacht Victoria and Albert II and even a stuffed swan.
Visit London’s National Portrait Gallery to see 60 remarkable portraits of Queen Elizabeth, some of which have never been on display to the public. The changing representations of Queen Elizabeth show an evolving portrait of royalty -- courtesy paintings by Andy Warhol, Gilbert & George and official photographs by Annie Leibovitz.
London’s Buckingham Palace hosts this dazzling exhibition that explores the ways diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. You’ll have the chance to get up close to some of Queen Elizabeth’s personal diamonds and learn how the history of the British royal family is intimately connected with these beautiful gems.
Head to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh for a glimpse of some of the best pieces from the Royal Collection. This special exhibit includes over 100 items from 8 royal residences. Objects include paintings, drawings, watercolors, miniatures, jewelry and sculptures that span 5 centuries of monarchy rule. Don’t miss drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and imperial Easter eggs by Fabergé.
Head to Windsor Castle -- the world’s oldest and largest inhabited fortress -- for this fascinating exhibition of photographs. Everything from official portraits to photos taken at relaxed family gatherings will be on display, charting the remarkable reign of Queen Elizabeth and documenting her travels around the UK and the world.