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SHINE A LIGHT
Forget birthday candles: The queen marked her Silver Jubilee by lighting a beacon at Windsor Castle on June 7, 1977, which set off a national chain of beacon-lighting and bonfires all over the U.K. as a symbol of unity. The tradition will be repeated on June 4, 2012, when over 2,000 beacons will light up all over the U.K. to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.
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When it comes to fancy rides, nothing quite matches the queen's elaborate Gold State Coach. Pulled by eight white horses, the priceless 250-year-old gilded carriage took the monarch from Buckingham Palace to London's St. Paul's Cathedral for her Silver Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving on June 7, 1977; it'll be wheeled out again for her majesty's Diamond Jubilee parade.
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DANCING IN THE STREET
On June 7, 1977, there was tea and cake all round when British Commonwealth countries all over the world celebrated the Silver Jubilee's national holiday by throwing huge street parties in honor of the queen. A whopping 4,000 separate parties took place in London alone!
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ON THE WATERFRONT
The queen paid homage Queen Elizabeth I on June 9, 1977, when she re-enacted her namesake's historic Royal Progress trip, a six-mile boat ride down the River Thames, before enjoying lunch on the Royal Yacht Britannia and an elaborate evening fireworks display.
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SOUTH PACIFIC PARADISE
Not even the most far-flung countries in the British Commonwealth were left out of the Silver Jubilee celebrations. The globe-trotting monarch spent much of 1977 clocking up air miles, with a stopover first in the South Pacific, where she enjoyed a two-day stopover in Fiji.
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The Silver Jubilee pageantry continued during the queen's two-week visit to New Zealand in February 1977, where she met local Maori families who referred to her as "Kotuku," which means "the white heron" – a rare and cherished local bird.
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Just nine days after the Feb. 9, 2002 death of her only sibling, Princess Margaret, the queen put on a brave face to kick off her Golden Jubilee celebrations. She marked her 50th year on the British throne with a nine-day official visit to Jamaica, which was followed by trips to other British Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
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After suffering the death of a second close family member – her beloved mum, the Queen Mother Queen Elizabeth, on March 30, 2002 – the queen stepped out for a historic dinner with then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and past British Prime Ministers John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Sir Edward Heath and the Lord Callaghan of Cardiff in London on April 20.
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PARTY AT THE PALACE
Some of the biggest names in music – from Paul McCartney to Tony Bennett – hit the stage on June 3, 2002 for an epic Party at the Palace Golden Jubilee concert in the queen's Buckingham Palace back yard. Over 1 million fans watched from giant screens outside the palace, while 200 million tuned in on TV. At 1 p.m., towns all over the U.K. had local bands play The Beatles hit "All You Need Is Love" to mark the national day of partying.
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POMP & PARADES
After a National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral on June 4, 2002, over 1 million people lined the streets of London to watch a procession of 5,000 people from all 54 British Commonwealth states parade down The Mall, followed by an elaborate air display from the Royal Air Force, the Concorde and the Red Arrows.
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BIG APPLE TRIBUTE
The queen's Golden Jubilee was even celebrated Stateside, in New York City! On June 4, 2002, the Empire State Building was illuminated in purple and gold in honor of the British monarch – and as a message of thanks from Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the U.K.'s help months earlier in wake of 9/11.
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