Reports of events to mark the Diamond Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II on Tristan and involving Tristanians in the UK.

Event News

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Tristan da Cunha
Celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
1952 - 2012
God Save The Queen

Examples of Diamond Jubilee Stamps available direct from the Tristan da Cunha Post Office

Start from the top or go straight to: UK Tristan-linked Celebrations or Royal Connections 
Artwork celebrating the Diamond Jubilee by pupils of St Mary's School
Photos from Robin Repetto

Class 1 - Tristan Glass, Callum Green, Chantelle Repetto, Ryan Swain, Shannon Swain & Kieran Glass
Playgroup - Amber Repetto, Calvin Green, Deanna Rogers
Class 2 - Julie Green, Chloe Glass, Nathan Swain

Class 5 -
Kimberley Green, Linda Green,
Kelly Swain, Dean Repetto,
Riaan Repetto, Natalie Swain,
Janine Lavarello, Rachel Green,
Caryn Green, Leanne Swain,
Lynette Green

Class 4 -
Rhyanna Swain, Leo Glass, Jade Repetto

Class 3 -
Kaitlyn Hagan, Janice Green,
Randall Repetto

Jubilee Beacon
Tristan's Jubilee Beacon has been built using non-native trees including branches blown down in the recent May gale. The beacon is sited on the 1961 lava flow alongside the road to Pigbite so it will be easily accessible and ideal to view from the village pastures near the Mission Garden.
Chief Islander Ian Lavarello was involved in some of the early planning of the island's celebrations when in London last autumn for talks with other Overseas Territories leaders, UK Ministers and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. He said: “We are thrilled and we're honoured that we can celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen here on our home, the most remote inhabited island on Earth."

Jubilee Beacon Construction

Images from Dawn Repetto
show Neil Swain and his
Agriculture Department Team
building the beacon on
Thursday 31st May 2012

Materials used are mainly non-native trees from the Settlement area - the island's only native tree Phylica arborea (known as the Island Tree) was not used.

9.30 am: Raymond Green, Kevin Glass & Neil Swain building an initial beacon frame.

Dereck Rogers & Jerry Green
sorting materials

Jerry Green, in background Neil Swain, Raymond Green and Kevin Glass
working on the frame

The Beacon will be clearly visible from sea even if the cloud is low on 4thJune - but will there be any shipping in the area?
Probably not!

Kevin Glass & Raymond Green
getting the Beacon in shape.

Dereck Rogers, Jerry Green & Neil Swain working

The Beacon will be clearly visible
from the pastures near the Mission garden

10.50am Job Done!
Beacon awaits lighting by Chief Islander
at 10pm on Monday 4th June

On Her Majesty's Service
The Agriculture Team gathered by the completed Beacon
Left to Right - Front Row - Dougie Swain, Christopher Swain, Clifton Repetto
Back Row - Jerry Green, Kevin Glass, Raymond Green, Martin Green, Dereck Rogers, Neil Swain

Diamond Jubilee Events amended after tragic accident on 2nd June
Tristan da Cunha Diamond Jubilee celebrations were low key on Monday 4th June following the tragic incident on Saturday 2nd June when an Islander was swept off his feet by a high swell and pulled into the sea. ( see Beach Tragedy on 2nd June 2012 ) As a result only the planned Church service and lighting of the Jubilee Beacon took place and the presentation of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medals will take place later. So the flag parade and 21 gun salute, communal braai, children's scavenger hunt, Reception and Jubilee Dance in the Prince Philip Hall were cancelled.

Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving in St Mary's Church at 09.00 on 4th June
Photos from Robin Repetto

Left to Right: Acting Administrator Kobus Potgieter; Chief Islander Ian Lavarello making speeches
Headteacher and Former Chief Islander Anne Green reading from scripture

Scenes in St Mary's Church with, right, Lay Reader Lars Repetto leading the service.

Scenes outside St Mary's Church after the service ~
Above Left: Lars Repetto outside the Church porch
Above Centre: Lars greeting Chief Islander Ian Lavarello
Above Right: Anne Green and Kobus Potgieter leaving Church
Left: Ian Lavarello's father Gilbert Lavarello who for many years
was responsible for raising the Union Jack flag
(now replaced by special flags for Tristan da Cunha and the Tristan Administrator)
at The Residency.

Diamond Jubilee Beacon lit at 22.00 on 4th June
Photos from Robin Repetto

Left: Neil Swain and Ian Lavarello
light the Beacon

Right: Neil Swain, Ian Lavarello
and Kobus Potgieter watch
the Beacon

Impressive views
of the beacon
with lights of
the Tristan Settlement
of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas behind
the left picture also shows Chief Islander Ian Lavarello

Tristan da Cunha's UK Government Representative Chris Bates has represented the island
at events held in London over the Jubilee Weekend.

Tristan Islanders presented with Diamond Jubilee Medals
The presentations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medals were made by Administrator Sean Burns during a Reception in the Prince Philip Hall on Wednesday 26th September 2012. The medals were awarded to members of the British Armed Forces, Emergency Services and Prison Service who have completed five years of satisfactory service, and the award is given by Her Majesty the Queen as a mark of thanks to all those who give so much in the name of society and public service. TheTristan award ceremony was postponed from 4th June owing to the tragic beach accident which claimed the life of Islander Barry Swain.
The full medal list and photo key can be found on the Government News Page.

Photos from Dawn Repetto
show the recipients of the medals,
right with Administrator Sean Burns
and his wife Marina.
Chief Islander Ian Lavarello was absent as he was on Gough Island.

UK Tristan-linked Celebrations (with Tristan Connections)
Report from Tristan's UK Government Representative Chris Bates

The loyal greetings and congratulations of the people of Tristan da Cunha on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II were given to HRH Prince Charles at a reception in Buckingham Palace, by the Island's UK Representative, Chris Bates and his wife Julie. The Prince of Wales spent several minutes asking about Tristan, the way of life on the island and the welfare of the islanders. He was reminded that his father had visited the island in 1957 and that there were still people who remembered The Duke of Edinburgh taking part in the Pillow Dance.

The reception was also attended by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Leader of the Opposition, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Director General of the BBC and other leading figures from national life. At its close, guests including the UK Representative and his wife, were given specially prepared picnic hampers and led to an area immediately in front of the Royal Box to enjoy the spectacular Jubilee concert organised by Gary Barlow.

At the close of the concert, Her Majesty was invited to light the Jubilee Beacon in front of Buckingham Palace, cheered on by crowds of thousands. Shortly afterwards, by prior arrangement with The Queen's Pageant Master, Bruno Peek, Tristan's own Jubilee beacon was lit – as the most remote beacon among those lit worldwide, there was intense media focus on Tristan around the world and especially in the UK. Chief Islander Ian Lavarello was interviewed that day by the flagship news programme of BBC Radio 4 “The World At One” - the story of Tristan's beacon was the second headline and Ian was able, during his interview on the programme, to explain the islanders' pride at being British and the importance of the island's wildlife and plants.

Pictures from Chris Bates taken during the River Pageant on 3rd June ~

Left: Her Majesty waving at Tristan and Overseas Territories' delegations from the lighter of the Royal Yacht.
Right: The vessel Sapele which carried the Tristan flag

On the preceding day, when a thousand boats had formed a Royal Flotilla on the River Thames, headed by HM The Queen and HRH Prince Philip on the royal barge, the Tristan flag was flown on the vessel Sapele in the Royal Squadron.

Tristan Association Chairman Michael Swales recalls seeing the Tristan flag during the BBC's coverage of the Flotilla's progress in conditions of increasingly bitter cold and driving rain – neither of which dampened the enthusiasm of the crowds lining the Thames, nor their cheers.

Chris and Julie Bates were representing Tristan on board the Mercuria in the Royal Squadron, which variously ran next to the Sapele or followed her, conveying representatives and elected councillors from other UK Overseas Territories (including those of St. Helena and Ascension Island), High Commissioners of Commonwealth Countries, some employees of The Royal Household, the Sheriffs of the City of London and other VIP guests. At one stage, as the Mercuria passed under one of the bridges on the way to the Tower of London, one of the crowd shouted “Are you as cold as we are?” - “yes” came the resounding response from all on the Mercuria's top deck!

On the Tuesday, the Tristan Representative took part in the Service of Thanksgiving in St. Paul's Cathedral, attended by HM The Queen and all other members of the Royal Family, except for the Duke of Edinburgh who was in hospital recovering from the bladder infection which had prevented him from attending the previous day's reception at Buckingham Palace and the concert. Afterwards, Chris attended a reception in the Guildhall attended by members of the Royal Family and the Cabinet and was told by HRH Princess Michael of Kent, that she found Tristan “absolutely fascinating” and questioned him in detail about the island's history, its way of life and how people earn their living.

Guests were then taken (as on previous journeys) under police guard on roads which had been closed to other traffic – lined by cheering crowds – to lunch at Lancaster House hosted by the Foreign Secretary, William Hague and Mrs Hague.

Reflecting on Tristan's participation in the Diamond Jubilee, Chris said: “It was a great honour to represent Tristan at the celebrations and especially to be able to tell members of the Royal Family and many others how proud Tristan people are to be British and their joy at The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. For Julie and for me it was the most memorable three days of our lives – on a par with visiting Tristan itself – and I am sure this recognition of Tristan and its unique way of life, will benefit the community greatly in the future”.

Pictures from Brian Rogers of the Reception on 18th June
Left: Jessica Rogers and Lorna Lavarello-Smith Centre : View across Parliament Square towards the Palace of Westminster where the Reception has held in The Speaker's State Rooms near the House of Commons
Right: Brian Rogers, Chris Bates, Julie Bates and Jessica Rogers

On Monday 18th June a number of Tristan Islanders, Association officers and the UK Representative and his wife were guests in the State Rooms, in the Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster when a reception to celebrate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was held for the UK Overseas Territories, the Crown Dependencies and the Commonwealth Realms. The event was hosted by Andrew Rosindell MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Overseas Territories Group, by permission of the Speaker of the Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP Those present included the Association Secretary Alison Hentley; Newsletter Editor and Website Manager Richard Grundy; Association Vice Chairman Lorna Lavarello-Smith, Jessica Rogers and Ian Brown.

Speaker John Bercow cuts the
Diamond Jubilee Cake

General View of the gathering
in the Speaker's State Rooms

John Bercow with Jessica Rogers and
the English section of the cake

Andrew Rosindell with St Helena's UK Government Representative Kedell Worboys who is the Chair of the UK Overseas Territories Association

Speaker John Bercow making a speech of welcome alongside host
Andrew Rosindell

Henry Bellingham MP,
Minister for Overseas Territories
responding to the other speeches

Tristan da Cunha's Royal Connections

No reigning monarch has visited Tristan da Cunha but two notable royal visits have provided highlights in the island's history and the people of Tristan da Cunha are fiercely loyal to the Royal Family and to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen's Day is celebrated each year to commemorate and celebrate Tristan's close ties with Her Majesty and her Government - see our separate Queen's Day Page for news of Queen's Day Celebrations. The Queen sent in 2006 a personal message to Tristan da Cunha on the occasion of the 500th Anniversary of the discovery of the island - see the RMS St Helena Q5 Cruise Page for the full text.

The first royal visit was made by Prince Alfred, the second son of Queen Victoria on 5th August 1857 aboard HMS Galatea . Prince Alfred was the first Duke of Edinburgh and the Tristan Settlement was named 'Edinburgh of the Seven Seas' in his honour.

The image left shows HMS Galatea anchored off Big Beach. A Union Jack Flag was flown from a temporary flagstaff in Peter Green's house chimney.

A portrait of HM Queen Victoria hangs in St Mary's Church, a personal gift from HRH.

HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Tristan da Cunha aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia on 17th January 1957. During the visit he laid a foundation stone at the new Prince Philip Hall, then under construction. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was guest of honour at the Tristan Association's Quincentenary Dinner held at the Royal Geographical Society on 3rd November 2006.
The Duke of Edinburgh with Alice, Trina, Pamela and Sidney Glass
on 17th January 1957
The Duke of Edinburgh
laying a foundation stone
at the Prince Philip Hall
on 17th January 1957
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
at the Tristan Association's Quincentenary Dinner held at the Royal Geographical Society on 3rd November 2006 with Sir Martin Holdgate, Lorna Lavarello-Smith and Michael Swales

Three Island Longboats
alongside HMY Britannia
Crofters’ Cottages
The Duke of Edinburgh’s departure
Paintings by Edward Seago of scenes during the Duke of Edinburgh's 1957 visit. HRH presented fine prints of these pictures to the Tristan Association which are now in the Tristan Museum - see details on the Island Sky 2011 Cruise Page.