The Land of Hope and Glory Collection tells the story of Britain through the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In the final instalment of the series, we will revisit some of the important events that have happened during Her Majesty’s reign in the past three decades.
Fire at Windsor Castle
On the 20th November, 1992 a terrible fire took place at Windsor Castle, the magnificent building Her Majesty the Queen calls home for most of her private weekends and one month a year over Easter.
Maintenance work was being carried out in the Castle at the time when a faulty spotlight overheated leading to it igniting. A nearby curtain took hold of the heat, lighting up in flames.
The fire spread dramatically.
Luckily, due to the work being carried out, much of the furniture which would have been near when the fire started, had already been removed to create space. This meant that a lot of possessions that would have been completely destroyed, were safely tucked away somewhere else.
Those working in the Castle, along with soldiers and members of the Royal family, all formed a human chain to pass items along out of the building. As such this meant that 300 clocks, historic manuscripts, thousands of valuable books, a forty-six-meter-long table, thirty-seven-meter-long carpet, and a collection of miniatures were all rescued.
Help quickly arrived and all together 1.5 million gallons (6,750 tons) of water from the mains water supply, a reservoir fire hydrant, a swimming pool, a pond, and the nearby River Thames were used to stop the fire.
After five years the Castle was returned to its former glory and remains open to the public throughout the year — continuing its 900 years of history today.
Channel Tunnel Opens
The American Society of Civil Engineers described this as one of the “seven wonders of the world” in 1996. Connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time ever since the Ice Age, The Channel Tunnel reduced travel time between England and France to a mere thirty-five minutes. At the height of its construction fifteen thousand people were employed and eleven boring machines used. One boring machine is as long as two two football pitches, and all eleven together weighed an enormous twelve thousand tones.
Interestingly, one remains buried under the Channel and another was sold on eBay in 2004 for £39,999!
Her Majesty travelled from Waterloo to Calais on the 6th May, 1994 at a speed of 80 pmh. She joined President Mitterrand, who had travelled from Paris at 186 mph and together they officially opened the Channel, cutting red, white and blue ribbons to the sound of each’s national anthems.
The Angel of the North is constructed
Standing at an impressive sixty-five feet, the impressive Angel of the North is the height of four double decker buses!
In 1994, when winning artist Antony Gormley’s designs were revealed, the public were not too happy with the plans. Causing uproar, materials put forward were frowned upon, along with the size and magnitude of the sculpture in such an open and unlikely place.
However, many years on, those that live near have fallen in love with it. It has become a site of pleasure and this year celebrates its 24th birthday. Made from steel and a small amount of cooper, the Angel is meant to last for more than one hundred years. Coppers slows the erosion of the steel, and the materials together are quite malleable and can be easily manipulated into a variety of shapes and forms. The Angel of the North cost £800,000 to build and is seen by more than one person every second. It represents the history behind the site, societies future and our transition from the industrial age to the information age. An evolving sculpture to evolve with us.
The Millennium Fireworks
The millennium fireworks marked the movement into a new decade. Celebrations were held up and down the United Kingdom, with something for everyone to take part in, and crowds of more than two million took to London.
An incredible firework display took place by the River Thames. Outside of the UK, events were coordinated around the world to see in the new millennium, including an outdoor concert in Washington, United States.
On the Tower Bridge of London Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lit a laser which shot fire across the river to the national beacon. This beacon took hold of the fire, signalling the embrace of a new century. Soon after, beacons across the UK all became lit, uniting everyone across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Her Majesty also attended the Millennium Dome in Greenwich which held a special concert.
Birth of Prince George
In 2012, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they were expecting their first child. This child would become third in line to the throne and would become a future monarch of the United Kingdom. On 22nd July 2013, Prince George was born at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Prior to his birth the Queen made some changes which impacted the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701). A new Crown Act (2013) was brought into force which essentially put an end to a younger son displacing an elder daughter in the line of succession to the throne. Prince George is the first to have been born under this act. You can find out more about the line of succession here >>
As is tradition with any Royal birth, the announcement was placed on the easel outside Buckingham Palace. Along with this, many celebrated up and down the commonwealth countries, and certain water features across the globe were illuminated in blue.
This instalment marks the last in our Britain through the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II blog series. We hope you have enjoyed travelling back with us through the different decades as much as we have.
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Revisit the historic moments that have shaped Britain through the reign of Queen Elizabeth II with our Land of Hope and Glory blog series: