Queen Victoria comes to St Mary Abbott’s Church, just a short trip from Kensington Palace where she received the news that she had become Queen sixty years before. It’s June 28th 1897, the year of her Diamond Jubilee. To get to a diamond jubilee of course you have to go through a few other significant dates.
A royal entrance to Kensington for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. Go through the arch and look back and this is what you would have seen:
As the procession moves eastwards look at the building on the right with the letters VR on it. It was a bank then, built in a stylised gothic style which the Survey of London calls “pungently Burgundian” (the Survey occasionally goes in for memorable phrases and this is my favourite). There is an Indian restaurant on the ground floor now.
Back to 1897:
Another view of the High Street.
Other parts of the modern Royal Borough were also celebrating. In Chelsea, the Conservative Club:
And the Town Hall:
Victoria’s reign lasted three more years.
The new King and Queen were in Kensington the following year.
Look at a detail of the crowd:
If you don’t mind pausing for a note on fashion see that every man woman and child is wearing a hat. It was a special occasion of course but it wouldn’t have been too different on a normal day. Look at the two girls holding on to their mother on the left of the picture. They might well have lived another sixty years to see a world where no one wore a hat, even to watch a royal arrival.
In 1935 there was a Silver Jubilee:
Another monarch, George V came to Kensington Town Hall with Queen Mary to celebrate a jubilee.
Now we go forward to 1953, and another grand entrance to Kensington in honour of the new Queen:
Here is the Queen herself driving through Kensington passing the Princess Louise Hospital:
A closer view of the cheering crowd:
So that’s the beginning of the reign of a Queen who has just equalled Queen Victoria’s achievement and may yet surpass it. The final picture takes us back to 1947 when she was still Princess Elizabeth:
At Chelsea Barracks the Colonel of The Grenadier Guards sits with some of her officers.
Did she imagine her Diamond Jubilee?