~ Susan English
It was upon opening my email last Monday morning that I realized my daughter was invited to a Diamond Jubilee party from her friend, Leanne, who is from England. My first thought was “A Royal Ball” just like in my favorite childhood movie Cinderella. My daughter came down all sleepy eyed as I announced in my best British accent “By Royal command, you have been cordially invited to a Jubilee celebrating a milestone in the Monarch reign.” She rolled her eyes at me and exclaimed she had no idea what I just said. I wasn’t quite sure what I had said either. It then occurred to me then that I need to teach my children more about other countries traditions, but first must learn about it myself.
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The Diamond Jubilee marks Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years of reign. It took place this week, June 2012 in England. The Queen came to the throne on the 6th of February 1952 (her Coronation took place on the 2nd of June 1953). The Queen isn’t the only British Monarch to celebrate a Jubilee, George III and Queen Victoria both celebrated Jubilees during their reigns. Queen Victoria was the longest reigning Monarch in British history in 1897 when she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. Traditionally, the diamond jubilee marked a 75th anniversary. This changed during Queen Victoria’s reign when she withdrew from the public life after her husband’s death in 1861. It was decided then to switch a Diamond Jubilee to mark the 60th year instead.
When we walked through the red, white and blue streamers into the Jubilee party we were pleasantly surprised to see all the beautiful decorations around. Pictures of Queen Elizabeth adorned the tables and halls. A very British spread of tea, cucumber sandwiches, sausage rolls and a pineapple cheese “hedgehog” awaited the girls at the decorated table. Each little honored guest arrived in red, white and blue outfits ready to learn from Leanne different games and crafts she had prepared for them. One British game included “ladders” where the girls put their feet together to look like a ladder. Each team has a runner to jump over the legs and tag the next girl to go. It didn’t matter what games were played or food was eaten, the smiles, learning and laughter coming from each girl was universal.
Leanne’s favorite part of the day was having her friends over (naturally!). She loved making the crowns as well because “it feels like you are the Queen.” We thank you Leanne and family for helping all our girls feel like a queen and inviting us to share in your traditions and culture. It was magical, memorable and, as Leanne’s family would say, “lovely.”