Gun salute to mark the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee

Infantrymen fire a salute to mark the Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee. pic: Anna Efah

A 62- gun salute was held at the Tower of London today to mark the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. The Queen’s actual birthday falls on 21st April followed by the Coronation Day on the 2nd June but today is Accession Day: six and a half decades on from the day she became Queen in 1952

Queen Elizabeth II, now 90, is the first monarch to celebrate the Sapphire Jubilee. After the death of her father King George VI, she immediately became Queen at the age of 25, taking on the responsibilities of ruling a country, and triggering a rewrite of the national anthem, from ‘God save the King’ to ‘God Save the Queen’.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Tower of London and on top of London Bridge to witness the salute. At exactly 1pm, the Honourable Artillery Company fired the canons and the crowd fell silent until all the shots were fired.

To commemorate royal anniversaries, 62 rounds are fired at the Tower: 21 basic shots with a further 20 because the Tower is a Royal Palace and an extra 21 for the City of London. After the canons were fired, the soldiers were formally escorted from the Tower of London. A 41-gun salute was also fired in Green Park, and at other locations around the UK.

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