Britain’s Queen Elizabeth Marks 60 Years on Throne

Posted February 6th, 2012 at 3:05 am (UTC-5)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth marks a major milestone Monday, kicking off diamond jubilee festivities celebrating her 60 years on the throne.

The 85-year-old queen begins the jubilee Monday with a set of low-key visits to eastern England that will culminate with major celebrations over four days in June, including a pageant involving a flotilla of 1,000 ships sailing up the Thames River.

On Sunday, Queen Elizabeth, along with her husband, Prince Philip, braved snowy weather to attend a church service. The 90-year-old prince underwent heart surgery in December.

Members of the royal family plan to attend jubilee festivities overseas in countries that make up the Commonwealth. Sixteen nations also have Queen Elizabeth as their monarch. The queen and Prince Philip will limit their travels to Britain.

The young Princess Elizabeth found herself the British monarch on February 6, 1952, when her father, King George the Sixth, died after years of poor health.

Elizabeth usually marks the anniversary of her coronation quietly. Her coronation was the first such ceremony to be televised with millions of people watching live on the BBC and millions of others watching films of the event in the United States and Canada hours later.