Look back at past Jubilees as the Queen celebrates her Platinum in 2022.

It has been seventy years since Queen Elizabeth II took the throne after the passing of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952. Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya at the time with Prince Phillip and returned home a queen. She was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.

Silver Jubilee (25 Years)

1d, KGV, Silver Jubilee
1½d, KGV, Silver Jubilee
2½d, KGV, Silver Jubilee

Queen Elizabeth II was not the first monarch to reach a Silver Jubilee, however she is only the second to have a stamp to commemorate the event. The first commemorative stamp was produced in 1924, in the reign King George V. He reached his Silver Jubilee in 1935 and the event was marked with a set of four stamps produced by Barnett Freedman.

Pencil sketch of Queen Elizabeth II in profile.

Illustrated portrait of QEII by Richard Guyatt.

The Queen achieved 25 years on the throne in 1977. Richard Guyatt designed a set of stamps to commemorate the occasion. The stamps featured a new portrait of the Queen as seen in the artwork above. The portrait is flanked by the letters ‘E.R’ which stand for ‘Elizabeth Regina’.

9p, Silver Jubilee
10p, Silver Jubilee
11p, Silver Jubilee
13p, Silver Jubilee

Golden Jubilee (50 Years)

2002 marked 50 years on the throne. The below artwork is an unadopted design by Jeffery Matthews displaying the Queen’s portrait alongside the text ‘God Save The Queen’. Matthews’ artwork was not chosen for this issue and instead a set of portrait designs were produced.

Artwork consisting of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in an oval next to the text 'God Save The Queen' in a coiling banner.

27p, Jeffery Matthews Unadopted Stamp Artwork for the Golden Jubilee.

The black and white portraits were designed by Kate Stephens and featured photographs of the Queen from throughout her life. These close-up, unembellished images of the Queen convey more intimate depictions of the monarch. Stephens designs for the Golden Jubilee stamps must have been successful as she was later to go on and design the Diamond Jubilee set.

2nd NVI, Golden Jubilee
45p, Golden Jubilee
65p, Golden Jubilee
E, Golden Jubilee

Diamond Jubilee (60 Years)

60 years on the throne was not only commemorated with a stamp set but also a miniature sheet. The below design features the two portraits of the Queen used on definitive stamps; the Wilding (far left) and the Machin (far right). The rest of the designs look at depictions of the Queen from banknotes and coins.

Miniature sheet consisting of six stamps under a crown and above the text 'Diamond Jubilee'.

Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet.

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee took place in 2012. These photographic designs show the many roles of the Queen both at home and abroad. They feature her first Christmas TV broadcast in 1957 to her role as the head of the Armed Forces.

Eight stamps in both colour and black and white depicting Queen Elizabeth II at different ages and at different junctions.

Diamond Jubilee Set of Stamps.

Not all of Stephens’ designs were included in the eight issued stamps. For example the below image of the Queen waving at the launch of the ocean liner QE2 in 1967 did not make the cut.

Black and white image of Queen Elizabeth II waving surrounded by others doing the same.

Unadopted Artwork of QEII at the launch of QE2 ocean liner.

Longest Reigning Monarch

On 9 September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in British history, surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign for over 63 years. To mark the occasion a miniature sheet was produced along with a new definitive featuring the security text ‘Long To Reign Over Us’ (the script in the background behind the Queen’s head).

Minaiture sheet consisting of five stamps under the title 'Long to Reign Over Us' in calligraphy script.

Long to Reign Over Us Miniature Sheet.

Platinum Jubilee (70 Years)

In 2022, the Queen has reigned for 70 years. A set of stamps was issued for the Platinum Jubilee, designed again by Kate Stephens, depicting the Queen through the decades.

Four stamps depicting images of the Queen with a first class value.

1st NVI, Platinum Jubilee

Four stamps depicting images of the Queen with a £1.70 value.

£1.70, Platinum Jubilee

For most people alive today Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch they have ever known. To mark this momentous occasion there will be events and parties across the country and even an extra bank holiday in June.

-Georgina Tomlinson (Deputy Curator)