Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria

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Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria
William Ewart Lockhart, Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Service, Westminster Abbey, 21 June 1887 (1887–1890).jpg
Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Service, Westminster Abbey, 21 June 1887 (1887–1890) by William Ewart Lockhart
GenreJubilee of British monarch
Date(s)20–21 June 1887
Previous eventGolden Jubilee of George III
Next eventDiamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
Two sides of a coin, with head view of Victoria on one side and a design on the other
Victoria's Golden Jubilee silver double florin, struck 1887

The Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated on 20 and 21 June 1887 to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's accession on 20 June 1837. It was celebrated with a Thanksgiving Service at Westminster Abbey, and a banquet to which 50 European kings and princes were invited.[1]

The Queen's Jubilee message[edit]

On the occasion of her Golden Jubilee, Queen Victoria wrote a message of thanks to her people, which was then published in the London Gazette and national newspapers:[2]

"I am anxious to express to my people my warm thanks for the kind & more than kind reception I met with on going to, returning from Westminster Abbey, with all my Children & Grand Children. The enthusiastic reception I met with then as well as on all these eventful days in London as well as in Windsor on the occasion of my Jubilee has touched me most deeply. It has shown that the labour & anxiety of 50 long years – 22 of which I spent in unclouded happiness, shared & cheered by my beloved Husband, while an equal number were full of sorrows & trials, borne without his sheltering arm & wise help have been appreciated by my People. This feeling & the cause of duty towards my dear Country & subjects, who are so inseparably bound up with my life, will encourage me in my task often a very difficult & arduous one, during the remainder of my life. The wonderful order preserved on this occasion & the good behaviours of the enormous multitudes assembled merits my highest admiration. That God may protect & abundantly bless my Country is my fervent prayer."


20 June[edit]

On 20 June 1887, the Queen had breakfast outdoors under the trees at Frogmore, where Prince Albert had been buried. She wrote in her diary:[2]

The day has come, & I am alone, though surrounded by many dear Children. I am writing after a very fatiguing day, in the Garden at Buckingham Palace, where I used to sit so often in former happy days. 50 years ago today since I came to the throne. God has mercifully sustained me through many great trials & sorrows….

The garden party at Buckingham Palace for the Jubilee, 20 June 1887

She then travelled by train from Windsor station to Paddington then to Buckingham Palace for a lunch.[2] In the evening, there was a banquet, which fifty foreign kings and princes, along with the governing heads of Britain's overseas colonies and dominions, attended. She wrote in her diary:[3]

Had a large family dinner. All the Royalties assembled in the Bow Room, and we dined in the Supper-room, which looked splendid with the buffet covered with the gold plate. The table was a large horseshoe one, with many lights on it. The King of Denmark took me in, and Willy of Greece sat on my other side. The Princes were all in uniform, and the Princesses were all beautifully dressed. Afterwards we went into the Ballroom, where my band played.

21 June[edit]

Queen Victoria leaving Buckingham Palace for Westminster Abbey, 21 June 1887

The next day, the Queen participated in a procession in an open landau, drawn by six cream-coloured horses, through London to Westminster Abbey escorted by Colonial Indian cavalry. She refused to wear a crown, wearing instead a bonnet and a long dress. The procession through London, according to Mark Twain, "stretched to the limit of sight in both directions". The spectators were accommodated on terraced benches along 10 miles of scaffolding erected for the purpose.[2]

At Westminster Abbey, there was a Service of Thanksgiving held for the Queen's reign.[2] During the Service, a beam of sunlight fell upon her bowed head, which the future Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii observing noted as a mark of divine favor.[4]

On her return to the Palace, she went to her balcony and was cheered by the crowd. In the ballroom she distributed brooches made for the Jubilee to her family.[2] In the evening, she put on a gown embroidered with silver roses, thistles and shamrocks and attended a banquet. Afterwards she received a procession of diplomats and Indian princes. She was then wheeled in her chair to sit and watch fireworks in the palace garden.[3]

The Queen reflected on the day in her diary:[2]

This very eventful day has come & is passed. It will be very difficult to describe it, but all went off admirably….The morning was beautiful & bright with a fresh air. Troops began passing early, with Bands playing, & one heard constant cheering. The crowds from the Palace gates up to the Abbey were enormous, & there was such an extraordinary outburst of enthusiasm as I have hardly ever seen in London before, all the people seemed to be in such good humour. The old Chelsea Pensioners were in a stand near the Arch. The decorations along Piccadilly were quite beautiful & there were most touching inscriptions. Seats & platforms were arranged up to the tops of the houses, & such waving of hands. Piccadilly, Regent Street & Pall Mall were alike, most festively decorated. Many schools out & many well-known faces were seen…God save the Queen was played & then changed to Handel's Occasional Overture, as I was led slowly up the Nave & Choir, which looked beautiful all filled with people….I sat alone oh! without my beloved Husband (for whom this would have been such a proud day!)…The service was very well done & arranged. The 'Te Deum' by my darling Albert sounded beautiful, & the anthem by Dr Bridge was fine, especially the way in which the National Anthem & dear Albert's Chorale were worked in. Dr Stainer's beautiful 'Amen' at the end of the service, was most impressive….The noise of the crowd, which began yesterday went on till late. Felt truly grateful that all had passed off so admirably & this never to be forgotten day, will always leave the most gratifying & heart stirring memoirs behind

Other events[edit]

At the Jubilee, the Queen engaged two Indian Muslims as waiters, one of whom was Abdul Karim.[a]

A commemorative bust of Victoria was commissioned from the sculptor Francis John Williamson.[5][6][7] Many copies were made, and distributed throughout the British Empire.[5][7]

A special Golden Jubilee Medal was instituted and awarded to participants of the jubilee celebrations.[8]

Writer and geographer John Francon Williams published The Jubilee Atlas of the British Empire especially to commemorate Victoria's Jubilee and her Jubilee year.

Many cities commissioned new buildings to mark the event, including Queens Arcade in Leeds.


Royal guests at the Jubilee celebrations[edit]

British royal family[edit]

Other descendants of the Queen's paternal grandfather, King George III and their families:

Foreign royals[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Karim was soon promoted to Munshi and taught her Urdu, and acted as a clerk.[10] Her family and retainers were appalled, and accused Abdul Karim of spying for the Muslim Patriotic League, and biasing the Queen against the Hindus.[11] Equerry Frederick Ponsonby (the son of Sir Henry) discovered that the Munshi had lied about his background, and reported to Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India, "the Munshi occupies very much the same position as John Brown used to do."[12] Victoria dismissed their complaints as racial prejudice.[13] Abdul Karim remained in her service until he returned to India with a pension on her death.[14]


  1. ^ "Victoria Marked Golden Jubilee With Fireworks". Oxford Review. 1 June 2002. Retrieved 24 January 2011. After 50 years as ruler of the British Empire, Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee by inviting 50 foreign kings and ...
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee". The Royal Family. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b "History of Jubilees: Queen Victoria". British Royal Household. Retrieved 24 January 2011. The longest-reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria celebrated Golden and Diamond Jubilees marking 50 and 60 years of her reign. Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee was celebrated on 20 and 21 June 1887. On 20 June the day began quietly with breakfast under the trees at Frogmore, the resting place of her beloved late husband, Prince Albert. ...
  4. ^ Liliuokalani (1990). Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing. p. 155. ISBN 0-935180-85-0.
  5. ^ a b "Francis John Williamson". 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  6. ^ "F.J. [Francis John] Williamson". The Elmbridge Hundred. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Francis John Williamson (1833-1920)". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
  8. ^ Howard N Cole. Coronation and Royal Commemorative Medals. pp. 5 to 8. Published J. B. Hayward & Son, London. 1977.
  9. ^ "No. 25773". The London Gazette. 5 January 1888. p. 191.
  10. ^ Hibbert, pp. 447–448; St Aubyn, p. 502; Waller, p. 441
  11. ^ Hibbert, pp. 448–449
  12. ^ Hibbert, pp. 449–451
  13. ^ Hibbert, p. 447; St Aubyn, p. 503; Waller, p. 442
  14. ^ Hibbert, p. 454