Ruby Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Queen in Ottawa in 1992 to celebrate her Ruby Jubilee and the 125th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation
GenreJubilee of the monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms
Date(s)6 February 1992
Previous eventSilver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
Next eventGolden Jubilee of Elizabeth II

The Ruby Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 1992 marked the 40th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952.[1][2] Contrary to her Silver Jubilee in 1977, there were no widespread public celebrations of the Ruby Jubilee; it was a low-profile event.[3] However, there were some observances to mark the milestone.


Stamps released by Seychelles to mark the Queen's forty years on the throne

Different stamps and coins marking 40 years of Elizabeth II as Queen were released by the United Kingdom (including its Crown dependencies and Overseas territories), Commonwealth realms and some former realms of the Queen.


Royal tour

Royal Randwick Racecourse from above

The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh undertook a royal tour of Australia in February 1992 in order to officiate at celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of Sydney City's Council, during her 40th year as monarch. The Queen officially opened refurbishments to the Sydney Town Hall and also the Paddock Stand at Sydney's Royal Randwick Racecourse, headquarters of the Australian Jockey Club, which also celebrated its 150th anniversary.[4] It was also on this occasion that the Queen certified Randwick as 'Royal'.[5]

The Prime Minister of Australia, Paul Keating, also congratulated the Queen for reaching the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne.[6] It was also on this occasion, that Prime Minister Keating broke royal protocol by placing his hand on the Queen's back, causing outraged British tabloid newspapers to dub him the 'Lizard of Oz'.[7]

The Royal Ladies Coin and Medallion set

The Royal Australian Mint issued a special commemorative coin set, both in gold and in silver, to mark the Queen's Ruby Jubilee. Titled 'The Royal Ladies', the set consists of four proof twenty-five dollar coins commemorating the 40th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverses portray Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the Princess of Wales, the Princess Royal and Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. The set also includes a medallion.[8]


Sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II at Parliament Hill unveiled in 1992 in honour of the Queen's Ruby Jubilee and the 125th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation[9]

An equestrian statue of the Queen was commissioned in 1990 in order to commemorate the Ruby Jubilee and the 125th anniversary of Confederation in 1992.[10][11] The statue was unveiled on 30 June 1992 during the Queen's 1992 Royal tour of Canada, which took place until 3 July.[11] The statue was unveiled on the grounds of Parliament Hill, situated across a statue of Queen Victoria, the first monarch of a confederated Canada.[11]

The Queen undertook the royal tour in order to preside over several commemorations relating to the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and her Ruby Jubilee.[10][11] On the same day she unveiled her equestrian statue, the Queen also unveiled two stained-glass windows at Rideau Hall, one to commemorate her Ruby Jubilee, the other to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the appointment of the first Canadian-born governor general of Canada, and the 25th year of the Canadian Honours System.[12] She also presented new colours to her regiment, the Canadian Grenadier Guards.[11] The following day, she presided over the swearing in of new members for the Queen's Privy Council of Canada, before presiding over official Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.[11]

During the year, the Parliament of Canada also passed a motion of congratulations to the Queen for reaching the milestone.[11][13]

New Zealand

On 3 March 1992, during the second session of the 43rd New Zealand Parliament, a motion moved by the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jim Bolger, in which the House offered their "warm and sincere" congratulations to the Queen of New Zealand on her Ruby Jubilee. Prime Minister Bolger said, "For 40 years the Queen has led the Commonwealth as a symbol of unity and a rallying point for the constitutional values that form the basis of our political system". He added, "A life of utmost decorum, a record of outstanding public service, and 40 years of political experience at the highest level are all attributes that deserve our affection, respect, and constitutional loyalty".[14]

The Speaker Robin Gray said that the anniversary of the Queen's accession coincides with Waitangi Day, which "creates a unique bond" between the Crown and the people of New Zealand.[14]

The motion was supported by the Opposition and was passed by the House. The House also extended its appreciation to the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family who supported Elizabeth II as Queen of New Zealand and as Head of the Commonwealth.[14]

United Kingdom

Four oak trees planted to commemorate the Queen's Ruby Jubilee at Grosvenor Park, Chester
A plaque next to the commemorative oak trees commemorating the Queen's Ruby Jubilee

The Royal Anniversary Trust was established in 1990 to create a national programme of educational activities and other events marking the Queen's Ruby Jubilee in 1992.[15]

On Accession Day, Prime Minister John Major and Leader of the Opposition Neil Kinnock in the House of Commons gave statements of congratulations to her for reaching the milestone.[16] On the same day, Queen Elizabeth II, wearing a purple outfit and a diamond and amethyst brooch, set out on a walkabout in the village of Snettisham near Sandringham, Norfolk, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne. She was greeted by members of the public and they presented bouquets to the Queen.[17][18]

A gala was held at the Royal Opera House on 10 February 1992 to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession. It was attended by the Queen and included a performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni.[19]

On 14 February, it was announced that the Queen had agreed to confer city status upon Sunderland as part of celebrations to mark the Ruby Jubilee.[20][21][22]

Ted Hughes composed a poem, "The Unicorn", for the Jubilee.[12]

On 8 July 1992, a tribute was held at the Fountain Court of Hampton Court Palace to celebrate the Queen's Ruby Jubilee. It was attended by the Queen and Prince Philip.[23] The tribute started after a girl presented a bouquet of red roses to the Queen.[24] It included performances by children from all over the world to represent the Commonwealth.[25] The Youth Ballet performed the 'Royal Kitchen Mice Polka'.[26]

At Spencer House lunch hosted by prime ministers

A banquet was hosted at Spencer House by Prime Minister John Major and former Prime Ministers Harold Wilson, Edward Heath, James Callaghan and Margaret Thatcher on 27 July 1992 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Queen's accession. The royal party that attended the banquet were the Queen, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince and Princess of Wales.[27][28]

The Great Event

A grand gala celebration of forty years of the Queen's reign, entitled The Great Event, was held at London's Earl's Court on 26 October 1992. It was organized by the Royal Anniversary Trust[29] and televised throughout the world. The gala was attended by more than 1,700 people, including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh; Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales; Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Prince Edward, Princess Margaret, Katharine, Duchess of Kent, Princess Michael of Kent, Prime Minister John Major, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, John Smith, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Chief Emeka Anyaoku, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey.[30] The programme included performances by Dame Vera Lynn, the Pearly Kings and Queens, the Sixties Tiller Girls, pop singer Cliff Richard and Lonnie Donegan.[30][31][32] Darcey Bussell and Zoltán Solymosi, members of the Royal Ballet performed the pas de deux from Act II of Swan Lake.[33] More than 500 children, who represented the nations of the Commonwealth, took part during the grand finale. They wore their indigenous dresses and arranged on the stage to form a map of the world.[30]

A Yew clipped at Yew Tree Avenue, Clipsham, Rutland to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession in 1992

The Commonwealth Mace

During The Great Event at London's Earl's Court, the Queen was presented with a special Commonwealth Mace, which was proposed by the Royal Anniversary Trust and approved by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at Harare Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1991, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. The Queen also received fifty-two silver gilt toasting goblets, one for each of the then members of the Commonwealth. The mace itself was designed by the London-based goldsmith Gerald Benney.[34] The Commonwealth Mace contains five kilograms of 18 carat gold, rubies, and is illustrated with the Royal Coat of Arms, the Commonwealth Symbol, and the emamelled flags of the member states of the Commonwealth.[35] Geoffrey Munn, an antiques expert, described it as a "most marvellous tribute to Her Majesty’s reign and a lovely thing to see".[36]

Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen

A documentary film, named Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen was made by the BBC to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession.[37] The Royal family watched and approved of the documentary before it was broadcast on television.[38] The film aired on 6 February 1992, the 40th Accession Day of the Queen, and it was also broadcast in more than 25 countries around the world.[39] It gained the largest audience for a documentary in the history of British television and was watched by more than half of the British population in 1992.[40]

Guildhall Jubilee Lunch

On 24 November 1992, a luncheon was held at the Guildhall, London to honour the Queen's Ruby Jubilee, marking forty years on the throne. The event was organised by the City of London Corporation and attended by more than 500 people including the Queen, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London, and Prime Minister John Major and his wife Norma Major. Donning a dark green dress and matching hat, the Queen delivered a 'historic' speech, in which she described the year 1992 as her annus horribilis (a Latin phrase meaning 'horrible year').[41] In that year, three of her children's marriages crumbled; a fire destroyed more than a hundred rooms in Windsor Castle; a toe-sucking scandal involving Sarah, Duchess of York,[42] and the publication of Andrew Morton's controversial book about Diana, Princess of Wales called Diana: Her True Story caused a stir in Britain and the monarchy.[43] As a result, the public opinion turned against the Royal Family, and due to this, the jubilee celebrations were toned down.[44][45]

In addition to that, Mauritius, one of the Queen's realms, became a republic on 12 March;[46] on 22 October during a state visit to Germany, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her,[47] and on 17 December, the Australian government of republican Paul Keating announced that the Queen would be dropped from the Australian citizenship oath.[48]

See also


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  3. ^ Yeginsu, Ceylan (6 February 2017). "Queen Elizabeth II's Sapphire Jubilee Takes On Low-Key Tone (Published 2017)". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip arrive in Australia". United Press International. 18 February 1992.
  5. ^ "Racecourse architecture: Royal Randwick | Topics: Randwick Racecourse, Royal Randwick, Looking Back, Racecourse Architecture". Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
  7. ^ "No hands, ma'am: Australian prime ministers meet the Queen – in pictures". The Guardian. 12 July 2017.
  8. ^ The Numismatist Volume 105 (1992). American Numismatic Association. 1992. p. 945.
  9. ^ "The Queen Elizabeth II Equestrian Monument". Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Jubilees and Coronation". Government of Canada. 11 August 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2022.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (2002). Fifty Years the Queen: A Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Her Golden Jubilee. Dundurn. pp. 200–201. ISBN 9781550023602.
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  13. ^ "House of Commons Debates, 34th Parliament, 3rd Session : Vol. 5", Parliament of Canada, p. 1082, 6 February 1992
  14. ^ a b c Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): Volume 522, House of Representatives – via
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  16. ^ "PMQT – 6 February 1992". John Major Archive.
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  19. ^ "UK-ROYALS-40TH ANNIVERSARY ACCESSION-ELIZABETH II". Getty Images. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  20. ^ "Pride as Sunderland celebrates 25 years of city status". 14 February 2017.
  21. ^ "The Royal Family on Twitter: "In 1977, to mark the Queen's Silver Jubilee, Derby was granted city status. HM presenting the letters patent at Council House, Derby - 1977. In 1992, the Ruby Jubilee year, Sunderland became a city. HM traveling on the Sunderland to Newcastle Metro Link - 2002.…"". Archived from the original on 23 December 2021. Retrieved 12 January 2022 – via Twitter. ((cite web)): External link in |title= (help)[non-primary source needed]
  22. ^ "Prestigious civic honours to be awarded by Her Majesty The Queen for first time in 10 years". GOV.UK.
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  31. ^ "PEARLY KINGS & QUEENS AT THE GRE". Getty Images. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  32. ^ "Royalty - Queen Elizabeth II - 40th Anniversary of Accession - Earl's Court". Getty Images. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  33. ^ "THE GREAT EVENT SWAN LAKE". Getty Images. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  34. ^ "Commonwealth Mace 1992". Royal Collection Trust.
  35. ^ Murphy, Philip (2013). Monarchy and the End of Empire: The House of Windsor, the British Government, and the Postwar Commonwealth. Oxford University Press. p. 288. ISBN 9780191662188.
  36. ^ "Golden mace "a symbol of The Queen's legacy", says Secretary-General". The Commonwealth. 29 May 2018.
  37. ^ Jeff Silverman (15 November 1992). "Review: "Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen"". Variety.
  38. ^ James Fallon (16 November 1992). "Prime-time Queen". Sun Sentinel.
  39. ^ "Public life 1992-2001". The British Monarch.
  40. ^ Linda Joffee (10 September 1992). "Rare Video Portrait of the Queen". The Christian Science Monitor.
  41. ^ "Annus horribilis speech, 24 November 1992". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009.
  42. ^ Oakley, Nicola (8 October 2018). "The toe-sucking photo that drove Sarah Ferguson out of the royal family". Daily Mirror.
  43. ^ "Queen Elizabeth II: Britain's longest reigning monarch". BBC Teach.
  44. ^ "The Queen is about to become the first British monarch in history to reach her Sapphire Jubilee". Evening Standard. 31 January 2017.
  45. ^ Davies, Caroline (24 May 2012). "How the royal family bounced back from its 'annus horribilis'". The Guardian.
  46. ^ "History". Government Portal of Mauritius.
  47. ^ Stanglin, Doug (18 March 2010), "German study concludes 25,000 died in Allied bombing of Dresden", USA Today, retrieved 19 March 2010
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