Queen Victoria remains the longest-reigning British monarch, and celebrated both Golden and Diamond Jubilees, for 50 and 60 years of her reign, respectively. The former, marked with a grand ceremony at Westminster Abbey on 21st June 1887, saw her partial return to public life following an extended period of mourning after the death of her consort Prince Albert in 1861.
R. D. Blumenfeld, the American-born journalist and future editor of the Daily Express recorded this account of the great day in his diary:
‘Wonderful day for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebration. I spent most of last night wandering through the streets to observe the decorations and preliminary illuminations. The gas-lit streets looked brilliant. Holborn, which with great enterprise, has electric street lighting, particularly attractive; walked from the Inns of Court Hotel in Holborn at eight o'clock this morning in order to take up my place in the window at the foot of Haymarket, opposite Her Majesty's Opera House, but the crowd was so dense that I could get no further than Waterloo Place, facing my window, and there I was stuck in the heat until long beyond noon after the procession had passed. I climbed up the statue of King George, but could not maintain myself and came down. But I got a good view of most of the procession… I drove round London to-night in a curricle with Walter Winans inspecting the fireworks. I have never seen so many people; certainly never so many drunken ones"