6 February 2022
By Tim Koch
Tim Koch on some Sovereign service.
Today, on 6 February, Queen Elizabeth II will have been monarch of the United Kingdom (and of several other countries) for an unprecedented 70 years. British Royalty traces its origins back over a thousand years, but the Queen will be the first of the nation’s monarchs known to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. Whatever one thinks of the anachronism that is the institution of monarchy, it would be churlish to deny that Queen Elizabeth has led – and continues to lead – a remarkable and dignified life of service during a period of tremendous change.
To mark the Platinum Jubilee in HTBS style, reproduced below are some charming pictures from one of the many thousands of events that Queen Elizabeth has attended in her lifetime, in this case her visit to the 1951 Silver Jubilee Head of the River Race, the Thames Tideway time trial for eights racing from Mortlake to Putney that was founded by Steve Fairbairn in the year of the Queen’s birth, 1926.
The Queen started the race from a launch at Mortlake by dropping a flag that signalled for a starting gun to be fired.
The photographs below are reproduced, with permission, from Thames RC’s remarkable online archive, an ongoing project created and led by James Elder, a former TRC secretary and a qualified archivist.
In 1951, the media still covered rowing well. The Times newspaper reported on the day in two separate pieces and at least two cinema newsreels also took an interest in who went “Head of the River”.