Diamond memories: Highlights of the Queen's momentous year

From exotic tours abroad – read the Cambridges roaming the jungle of Borneo – to the magnificent Thames Pageant and the regal finale on the Buckingham Palace balcony, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee has left memories that will be cherished for years to come.

2012 had it all; tradition, modernity, fun and reflection. This mix was a perfect representation of the monarchy as it stands today – younger generations democratising the institution established by their elders.


Things really got going during the first weekend of June when millions lined the streets to take part in four days of buoyant celebrations. Elegant soprano Katherine Jenkins kicked off proceedings with an emotional rendition of God Save the Queen at the Derby, and the smile on the Queen's face as she followed those races only widened in the following days as she watched her subjects joyfully mark her 60-year reign.

Not even the soggy British weather could put a dampner on the fun as the nation's matriarch celebrated a remarkable achievement with her public. 

Just when the year was drawing to a close, William and Kate put the icing on the cake. The couple's news of a royal pregnancy means that 2013, the Queen's 61st year on the throne, promises to continue the jubilation.

In this special report, HELLO! Online revisits highlights of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year and celebrates the best moments that made history – and sealed a legacy.

The end of the year is a time for nostalgia, and the close of 2012 will be particularly poignant for the Queen, who fondly waves off her landmark Diamond Jubilee which gave Britain – and the world – a dazzling reason to celebrate. 

In March, the official Jubilee tour schedule began with a visit to Leicester. The Duchess of Cambridge was chosen as an elegant support act to her husband's beloved grandmother on this important date –  a clear sign of just how much the Queen values Kate .  

Members of the public were united in their desire to mark Elizabeth II's 60 glorious years on the throne. 

This year's euphoric celebrations had it all – tradition, modernity, reflection. But mostly it was fun. Sales of masks and costumes went through the roof, while the streets of the UK were awash with bunting and flags. 

Overseas trips meant the Commonwealth realms could join the party. Who could forget Prince Harry's wooing of the Caribbean during his Jubilee tour? Usain Bolt –  who lost out to the royal in a cheekily fixed raced – certainly won't. 

Harry's brother and sister-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, also danced and charmed their way around their trip to South East Asia on behalf of Her Majesty. In Tuvalu, they sashayed along to a traditional welcome dance called the Fatele

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also got in on the fun when they visited Australasia. Their most charming moment was undoubtedly this meeting with cute Koalas Kao and Matilda. 

Four days of buoyant celebrations in June got Britain's party started 

Elegant soprano Katherine Jenkins kicked off proceedings with an emotional rendition of God Save the Queen at the Derby. 

The smile on the Queen's face as she followed the races widened in the following days as she watched her subjects pour into the streets to mark her 60-year reign. 

Being surrounded by family also helped. The Windsors – led by their matriarch – were the image of unity as they travelled aboard the magnificent Royal Barge, The Spirit of Chartwell on the Thames river pageant. Four drizzling hours of standing in the rain may have contributed to Prince Philip's hospitalisation, but his stoic wife held proceedings together over the following days. 

The 1,000-strong pageant recalled the splendour and grandeur of 17th century monarchs and attracted huge crowds to the River Thames. Not even the gloomy British weather could keep people away. 

Music's finest were humbled as they gathered to honour the Diamond Monarch at the show-stopping Jubilee concert. Robbie Williams captured the mood with an Irish Guard themed set. 

Afterwards, an emotional Prince Charles would publically honour his "mummy" at the star-studded extravaganza. "Thanks for making us proud to be British," he said. 

Thanks indeed, Ma'am. During the Diamond Jubilee, the British public enjoyed an unprecedented connection to their first family. 

News of William and Kate's royal pregancy has rounded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year off to perfection. The Duke and Duchess' little one, who is expected to be born around June, will make Britain's monarch a great-grandmother for the third time 

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