The curse of the Queen's jubilees – How Her Majesty's biggest celebrations have been marred by scandal and tragedy
AFTER 70 years on the throne, it's no surprise the Queen has had to endure royal controversy.
But it seems Britain's longest reigning monarch has faced more than her fair share – with her most important milestones marred by scandal and tragedy.
Each of her jubilee celebrations should have been events to remember – but her Silver, Ruby, Golden and Diamond years have gone down in history for all the wrong reasons.
From royal divorces to a castle fire, the monarch has found herself overshadowed by heartache, impropriety and shame since her accession in February 1952.
And seven decades later it looks as though Her Majesty could be gearing up for her worst year yet.
As the 95-year-old prepares to mark her Platinum Jubilee, we take a look back at the curse.
1977 – Silver
As the Queen was gearing up to celebrate 25 years of reign, her sister Margaret and then-husband Antony Armstrong Jones announced their separation in 1976.
The split – the first senior royal divorce since Henry VIII in the 1500s – hung over the monarch in the year that followed before they officially divorced in 1978.
She had already dealt with Margaret's affair with married Royal Air Force officer Captain Peter Townsend, and a brief engagement, before she announced she would wed photographer Antony.
Rumours regarding Margaret's close friendship with a man 17 years her junior then swirled after photos of them frolicking in swimsuits were plastered across the tabloids.
The princess was snapped holidaying with toyboy Roddy Llewellyn on the Caribbean island of Mustique.
He later issued a statement about the pictures, saying: "I much regret any embarrassment caused to Her Majesty the Queen and the royal family, for whom I wish to express the greatest respect, admiration and loyalty."
1992 – Ruby
Fifteen years and several other royal scandals later, the Queen marked her 40th anniversary on the throne by enduring an "Annus Horribilis" – or horrible year.
In her Ruby Jubilee speech, she said: "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.
"In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis'."
Her marked words referred to the collapse of three of her children's marriages and other goings-on in the household.
Prince Andrew was at the centre of a scandal that rocked the royals when his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson was snapped in a compromising position with her financial advisor in St Tropez.
The pair split after pictures of Texan millionaire John Bryan kissing Fergie's toes were published, before announcing the end of their marriage four years later.
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In the same difficult year, the Queen's only daughter Princess Anne also divorced her hubby of nearly two decades, Captain Mark Phillips, after a three-year separation.
She then became the first child of a British monarch to remarry later that year after tying the knot with Timothy Laurence.
While tackling the tribulations of her children's love lives, the Queen faced heartache of her own when Windsor Castle went up in flames.
The 12-hour blaze caused an estimated £36.5million worth of damage after sparking in her private chapel.
The monarch made her "Annus Horribilis" speech in November, but more anguish lay ahead as the third and final royal split of the doomed year came in December.
Princess Diana and Prince Charles separated after a messy marriage shrouded by claims of affairs.
The Princess of Wales also released a blistering tell-all biography – Diana: Her True Story – marking the first time a senior royal had revealed secrets from behind the Palace doors and exposing Charles' affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
2002 – Golden
Few British monarchs have achieved reigns of 50 years, so the Queen's Golden Jubilee year should have been extra special.
And while it was celebrated joyously internationally, the monarch was dealt a double dose of heartache when her sister and mother died within weeks of one another.
Margaret, 71, suffered a stroke and passed away in her sleep on February 9, and the Queen Mother died seven weeks later on March 30 aged 101.
The Queen said after the tragedy: "Over the years I have met many people who have had to cope with family loss, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances.
"So I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life.
"She had an infectious zest for living, and this remained with her until the very end. I know too that her faith was always a great strength to her."
Both deaths followed the Queen's son Charles being thrust into the spotlight when he ordered his youngest child Harry to attend rehab.
The young prince, just 17 at the time, had allegedly been smoking cannabis and boozing heavily at the time so his father packed him off to a detox clinic for a day.
A statement from the Palace confirmed Harry had agreed to visit Featherstone Lodge in London to "learn about the possible consequences" of drug-taking.
2012 – Diamond
Harry further humiliated his family when he partied naked at a bash in Las Vegas.
The prince, then 27, was snapped starkers during a game of strip billiards in his hotel suite.
An anonymous fellow partygoer told The Sun exclusively at the time: "No one asked for our phones or anything about us when we arrived at the party.
"It was obvious people were taking pictures."
The Queen never commented directly on the pictures, but she was dragged into the drama when Harry admitted he had "let himself and his family down".
Later that year in more royal photographic chaos, Closer Magazine published a photo of William's wife Kate Middleton sunbathing topless on its cover.
The couple had been staying in a private holiday home in the south of France.
The glossy mag's owners, and its editor, were each ordered to pay the Duchess of Cambridge £41,000 in damages.
Kensington Palace said at the time: "This incident was a serious breach of privacy, and Their Royal Highnesses felt it essential to pursue all legal remedies.
"They wished to make the point strongly that this kind of unjustified intrusion should not happen."
When the Diamond Jubilee celebrations eventually took place, the Queen and Philip spent four hours in the pouring rain during the River Pageant.
The duke ended up getting so cold he caught a chill and suffered a suspected bladder infection, forcing him to miss the later celebratory concert at Buckingham Palace.
Her Majesty then had to enjoy the music solo – though joined by 12,000 members of the public – while the prince remained in hospital under observation.
2022 – Platinum
After another tumultuous few years, the Queen endured yet more shock surrounding the Firm in 2021, with Meghan and Harry officially quitting the Royal Family and Prince Andrew's sex assault claims coming to light.
But experts fear the next 12 months could be even worse for the monarch.
Not only is it the first full year she faces without her beloved husband Prince Philip, who died in April aged 99, but Andrew, widely considered her "favourite" son, also faces a civil lawsuit over claims by Virginia Giuffre that he sexually abused her when she was a teenager.
A judge this week ruled the duke will sensationally face a court battle with his rape accuser – and the Queen stripped him of his royal and military titles just hours later.
Andrew can no longer use his 'His Royal Highness' title – and will face his US case as a "private citizen", meaning he can't hide behind royal privileges.
To make matters worse, grandson Harry is set to release an explosive autobiography detailing "lessons learned" and the "truth" about Megxit.
It will further highlight the divide among the family, which was intensified by last year's bombshell chat with Oprah Winfrey and several other tell-all interviews.
All in all, it seems Her Majesty's words in 1992 on the 40th anniversary of her Accession may come back to haunt her 30 years on, as another Annus Horribilis could be in store.
Speaking to The Sun Online, royal expert Phil Dampier said Andrew's legal woes will hang over the Queen, with the case "casting a shadow" over her upcoming celebrations.
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