Image credits: See individual credits in text below.
With celebrations taking place across the UK in The Queen’s Platinum year, Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and Wessex Film and Sound Archive mark the occasion with a selection of Royal highlights from the collections.
This text is extracted from an exhibition which opens at Hampshire Record Office, Winchester SO23 8TH on Tuesday 17 May and runs until Thursday 16 June. The panels will tour a selection of Hampshire locations during 2022.
From Princess to Queen
During the years prior to her accession to the throne, Princess Elizabeth made several
visits to Hampshire, including official engagements and visits to family members and friends.
These included a visit to Reed’s School, Dogmersfield Park, in June 1946, and the opening of Avon Tyrrell as a holiday centre for the National Association of Girls’ Clubs and Mixed Clubs in July 1949, both involving the planting of trees. In the 1930s she and Princess Margaret Rose were taken to the daylight rehearsal of the Aldershot Tattoo in Rushmoor Arena on several occasions.
Princess Elizabeth at a christening
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret visited Blackmoor Church in 1945 to attend the christening of the 3rd Earl of Selborne’s grandson Charles Strachey. His mother Lady Mary Palmer, a daughter of the 3rd Earl, was a close friend of Princess Elizabeth, and had become her first Lady-in-Waiting in 1944.
[Above: 284M87/19 ]
A Queen is Crowned
In all corners of the county, the approach of the Coronation spurred local people to make plans for celebrations – for many this came as a welcome opportunity to forget the problems of post-war austerity, at least for a few days.
In Winchester, Coronation celebrations included an ox-roasting on the corner of Middle Brook Street and St George’s Street (below). One of the highlights of the city’s celebrations was a procession of tableaux in the High Street.
[Below: W/C2/6/42c. Image courtesy of Winchester City Council.]
Hampshire residents and organisations marked the occasions in myriad ways. The Wessex Film and Sound Archive collection captures just a fraction of the celebrations that took place in accession year and in 1953 to mark the coronation.
Ronald Parsons recorded the Air Review at Odiham on 15 July 1953 using 9.5mm film [AV48/1]
Winchester children in a glorious array of fancy dress receive their commemorative beakers in this film by Stanley Richardson [AV39/7].
Herbert & Dorothy Lindfield (nee Parsons) captured local street parties and celebrations in Portsmouth. The clip below is believed to show Rochester Road – the Lindfields also used 9.5mm film, this year celebrating its centenary! [AV1119/5].
From Charters to Cricket
HM The Queen has often visited Highclere Castle. In August 1958 she attended a cricket match in Highclere Park between the Duke of Edinburgh’s XI and a team fielded by Lord Porchester – later her racing manager and the 7th Earl of Carnarvon. She returned to the same location in June 1994 for South Africa’s first cricket match on British soil for 29 years.
The Queen had a busy schedule in December 1974, when she visited the IBM plant at
Havant, went on a walkabout in Southampton, and opened the first major phase of
Southampton Teaching Hospital.
1977: A Silver Year
In many places local and external funding was used to provide a long-lasting commemoration of the Jubilee: schemes included tree-planting in Winchester and a stained glass window in Bentworth. In Eastleigh Borough the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre for people with mental and physical disabilities was constructed at Cricket Camp, Bursledon. The Centre was opened by Princess Margaret in March 1978.
On 6 June a national network of beacons was lit, with Hampshire contributing sites in Queen Elizabeth Country Park at Butser Hill near Petersfield, and on Beacon Hill at Highclere. Princess Alexandra visited the Country Park to light the Butser Hill beacon at 10.06 pm.
Street parties were another popular feature of the celebrations with communities working together to bedeck their streets and rejoice.
On the River Test
Among the local firms awarded the Queen’s Award for Export in her Silver Jubilee year was Portals Holdings Ltd. Fifteen years earlier the Queen had herself visited Portals’ banknote paper mills at Laverstoke and Overton to mark the firm’s 250th anniversary, and saw the processes and machinery for the production of banknote paper; she also continued the tradition of royal visitors feeding the fish at Laverstoke.
[Above: Feeding the fish at Laverstoke 132M98/K3/1]
Around the county
Between the 1970s and the 1990s, the Queen visited a range of civilian and Service
locations in Hampshire, ranging from ancient institutions to a modern shopping
development. Other engagements during these years included a visit to Portsmouth to welcome back Falklands veterans on HMS Invincible in 1982, and the openings of the Hampshire headquarters of the Hospital Savings Association in Andover in 1993 and the sports hall at The Clere School, Burghclere, in 1996.
Cathedral and Forest
The Queen had a full programme for her visit to Hampshire on Maundy Thursday in 1979: she began at Winchester Cathedral, where she distributed the customary Maundy gifts; later she toured the New Forest, visiting the District Council offices in Lyndhurst and other locations such as Knightwood Oak and Whitefield Moor. Both the Cathedral and the Forest were celebrating 900th anniversaries in 1979.
[Above: Photographs by E A Sollars, Winchester. H/CE2/2/68]
Jubilees and anniversaries
In the fifth and sixth decades of her reign, the Queen continued to visit Hampshire once or twice in most years, often to mark national or local anniversaries, such as the 50th anniversary of DDay and the 250th anniversary of The King’s Royal Rifle Corps. She also visited HMS Excellent, Whale Island, Portsmouth Harbour, for a Tri-Service Day marking her own Golden Jubilee in 2002.
Golden celebrations in 2002
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 prompted more street parties, such as this one in Charden Road, Gosport (below).
[Above: Charden Road, Gosport 115A02: Southern Daily Echo]
Have you ever attended a royal event with The Queen or joined a Royal Jubilee party in Hampshire?
Have you ever attended a royal event with The Queen or joined a Royal Jubilee party in Hampshire?? Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee by preserving your memories of Her Majesty’s historic reign for future generations to enjoy.
Submit your memories to the archive and help to build your community’s memory bank.