Wednesday 30 May 2012

What is the Diamond Jubilee?

Garden Girl is given a piece of 'talk homework' every week. She is basically given a topic to talk about with us and then she writes down all the interesting things she finds out to hand in at school. This week is no surprise when the topic was the Diamond Jubilee. This is what we found out...

  • The Diamond Jubilee is a celebration for our Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, because she has been Queen for 60 years.
  • 60 Years is a very long time to rule a country and that is why it is something we will celebrate. 
  • Only one other Queen ruled England for 60 years and that was Queen Victoria. Her Diamond Jubilee was over 100 years ago.
  • No English King has served as Monarch for 60 years. (Monarch is a word we use to refer to ruling Kings and Queens).
  • Queen Elizabeth II was 25 years old when she became Queen. There was a big celebration at Westminster Abbey, called a Coronation. At this celebration the Queen wore her crown for the first time.
  • All over Britain people will be having parties to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee. There will be street parties, picnics in parks and fun events and activities, all held in honour of our Queen.
  • Over 2000 beacons (small fires) will be lit across Britain and other countries with links to Britain to celebrate the Jubilee. 
  • Beacons used to be lit to communicate over long distances. People from neighbouring towns and villages could signal to each other using small fires which can be seen over long distances.
  • We no longer need to use beacons to signal to each other, so they are now used to show friendship and unity across the country. Each beacon that is lit, is a symbol of friendship between the people of Britain and beyond and a show of support for our Queen.
Garden Girl wanted to know why only two Monarchs had managed to rule for 60 years so I told her that in the past, Kings and Queens did not live as long because they did have the same medicinces or knowledge about health that we have today. In history, there were also a lot of people who wanted to be King or Queen. Sometimes they would fight a King or Queen so that they could take the crown and rule the country themselves. One King, King Edward VIII, stopped being King because he fell in love with a woman whom he wanted marry more than he wanted to be King. When a Monarch chooses not to remain King or Queen, is is called abdicating.

The next question Garden girl asked me was how a King or Queen is chosen. A new King or Queen must belong to the same family as the current King or Queen. Usually it is the eldest son of a King or Queen, so Prince Charles, is the eldest son of Queen, so he will be King after Queen Elizabeth. If, for any reason the eldest son does not become King, then the next eldest son will become King. Only if there are no sons, does a daughter become Queen. Queen Elizabeth II became Queen because she had no older or younger brothers.

If I were a Queen (I can dream!), it would be Garden Boy that would become ruler after me, even though Garden Girl is older, because boys are always chosen before girls. Garden Girl thought this was very unfair. I told her they were considering changing this rule to let the eldest child become ruler, whether they are a girl or boy, so it is possble she will be see another piece of Royal history in the making. 'I hope they do', was her response.

There is a lot of really interesting information on the Official Diamond Jubilee website, here.  It really is worth a look. I suspect we will be revisiting this website quite a few time over the coming weekend!

Enjoy your Diamond Jubilee Celebrations!

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