Royal Celebrations

By Gwyneth Endersby, Record Assistant

As we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II this June, marking the 70th year of her reign, we are sharing some items with a royal connection in our collections here at the North Yorkshire County Record Office. These items relate to royal visits to the county; celebrations such as coronations, jubilees, the end of World War II and a royal wedding. Together the examples featured here span royal reigns back to Queen Victoria – and they are by no means exhaustive. We hope they give you a flavour of what is within our care.

North Yorkshire Royal Visits

Great Yorkshire Show, 1957

BU07950C The Queen and Prince Philip visiting The Great Yorkshire Show in 1957

Just a few years into her reign, in 1957, Elizabeth and her consort Prince Philip visited the annual Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate (formerly in the West Riding of Yorkshire, but now part of North Yorkshire). Local photographer Bertram Unné, whose collection we hold, captured their visit.

BU07949 The Queen and Prince Philip visiting The Great Yorkshire Show in 1957

A Royal Wedding, 1961

On 8 June 1961, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and first cousin to the Queen, and Katherine Worsley of Hovingham Hall, North Yorkshire, were married at York Minster. Princess Anne was one of the bridesmaids, and other notable members of the royal family attended, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

EF402 Queen Elizabeth accompanied by Prince Philip and a young Prince Charles attending the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Katherine Worsley; bottom right: Princess Margaret

EF402 Wedding of the Duke of Kent & Katherine Worsley

EF 402 The bridesmaids – Princess Anne on the left, Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother

Bolton Abbey Estate

Some years earlier, King George V (r. 1910-1936) and Queen Mary stayed at the Bolton Abbey Estate, Wharfedale, where the King could participate in his passion for shooting. The photos below are not dated, but they appear to have been taken during the later years of his reign.

Left: BU02050A King George V (centre) at Bolton Abbey Estate; Right: BU02050B Queen Mary has a tour around the Bolton Abbey Estate

Royal Celebrations: Coronations, Jubilees & Weddings

In addition to items in our photographic collections, various papers survive amongst parish church records and parish council collections relating to the organisation of public services and activities commemorating major royal events. Such items include advertisement posters, event programmes, church service pamphlets, and parish council correspondence.

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – 1952

Elizabeth began her reign on 6 February 1952, though her coronation did not take place until the following year on 2 June 1953, with public celebrations taking place across the county.

PR/CNN 11/3 Bradley souvenir coronation programme; PC/CNN 8/2/3 Cononley souvenir coronation programme; PC/CNN 8/2/3 Adverts & brochures for Queen Elizabeth II Coronation souvenir items and displays

The Coronation of King George VI – 1936

The relatively short reign of Elizabeth’s father, George VI, began in December 1936 until his death in 1952. The wonderful poster below documents the coronation celebrations at Killinghall, near Harrogate, in May 1937.

PC/KLG Poster for Killinghall Coronation Celebrations, 1937

The Coronation of King George V – 1911

Outdoor festivities marked the coronation of George V, who reigned from 1910 to 1936. The photograph below shows huge crowds gathered in bunting-bedecked Knaresborough Market Place.

MC00060 George V Coronation festivities in Knaresborough, June 1911

Like many people across the country, the parishioners of Great Ayton organised themselves and formed a large committee to plan village celebrations commemorating the coronation of George V. A souvenir booklet listing committee members is part of Great Ayton parish record collection.

PR/AYG 15/7 Souvenir booklet Great Ayton celebration of the Coronation of King George V, 1911


Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee – 1977

It was Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, and some of our parish council collections contain records relating to the organisation and celebration of this event. Items include photographs, a royal telegram, souvenir programmes and planning paperwork (correspondence and memorabilia advertisements).

PC/CAT 13/2 Catterick village festivities; PC/FOL 5/9 Telegram from the Queen to the people of Follifoot & Plompton; PC/FOL 5/9/1 Souvenir Silver Jubilee programme; PC/FOL 5/9 Dances, a grand auction, jumble sale and competitions entertained the people of Follifoot & Plompton in 1977

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee – 1887

Our photographic collections include a number of images of Queen Victoria’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Harrogate and in Knaresborough, in 1887 and 1897 respectively. Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901.

Images showing celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 1887

PH029-23 Civic procession down Parliament Street, Harrogate; PH156-24 Ox Roasting on The Stray, Harrogate; PH138-26 Jubilee bonfire on The Stray, Harrogate; MC00077 Knaresborough Market Place

Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – 1897

The villagers of Reeth in Swaledale enjoyed a grand tea, sports and fireworks in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and there was a procession in Harrogate.

ZLB 32/11/3/1 Reeth & District poster for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee; PH018-25 Procession in Harrogate for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

WWII Victory Message, 1946

To mark the end of World War II and Victory in Europe, King George VI prepared a victory message dated 8th June 1946, with printed copies presented to all schoolchildren. One of our small private collections contains a copy [Z.1660].

Z.1660 WWII Victory message from George VI to schoolchildren (1946) Folio & verso

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s