diamond jubilee


The red-letter anniversaries are coming thick and fast here in the Parallel Julieverse. No sooner have we finished toasting the 50th Anniversary of Thoroughly Modern Millie, than it’s time to charge the glasses for another milestone in the annals of Julie-history: the Diamond Jubilee of Cinderella. The celebrated tele-musical premiered 60 years ago on 31 March 1957.

It would be no exaggeration to call Cinderella a major cultural event of the late-1950s. The first television musical created by legendary composer-lyricist team Rodgers and Hammerstein, the show was seen by a record audience of over 100 million viewers, enough, it was pointed out, “to fill a Broadway theatre seven days a week for 165 years” (Messing, 61). Even today, Cinderalla remains one of the most widely seen programs in television history (Hischak, 152).

Julie was, at the time, riding high on the success of another Cinderella musical, My Fair Lady so she was the perfect fit to play the fairytale princess. As these production stills attest, she never looked lovelier and the critics were enraptured.

“Perhaps it’s the unassuming simplicity of Mis Andrews, or the crystal clear articulation, or yet again the perfect pitch, that transforms her performance (as in “My Fair Lady”) to the definitive characterization. No two ways about it, she was Cinderella” (Variety, 42).

“Miss Andrews was Miss Andrews, sweet, beautiful and lyrical. Her only minor problem was that she was fully as beautiful behind the broom and under the tiara” (Gould, 49).

“As Cinderella, Julie Andrews was the personification of innocence. Her face, her style, her talent added up to that rare quality that makes a performer a star” (Torre, 5).

So happy anniversary, Cinderella…thank you for sixty years of fol-de-rol and fiddle-dee-dee enchantment!


Gould, Jack. “TV: Broadway Musical.” The New York Times. 1 April 1957: 49.

Hischak, Thomas S. “Cinderella.” The Oxford Companion to the American Musical: Theatre, Film, and Television. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Messing, Harold. CBS Television Production of ‘Cinderella‘. (Unpublished Masters thesis). Stanford University, 1957.

“Review: Cinderella.” Variety. 3 April 1957: 42.

Torre, Martha. “Cinderella.” The New York Herald Tribune. 1 April 1957: 5.

© 2017, Brett Farmer. All Rights Reserved


22 June 1897 - Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

The Queen came up from Windsor on 21 June 1897, and stayed the night at Buckingham Palace. £250,000 had been spent on London street decorations, mingling thousands of tiny gas jets - a novelty when the Queen was young - with the totally newfangled electric light bulbs. In Whitehall, London County Council had erected an immense stand, costing £25,000, which illustrated the material progress of the reign. It was equipped with ladies’ rooms and flush lavatories and telephones. One witness, sitting on the right wing of the stand set up under the National Gallery…looked down upon a “sea of horses and men, forests of plumes and lances.” As far as you could see, on either side of the enormous stand in Whitehall, “it was one mass of galleries and people to the very roofs…”

…I started from the State entrance in an open State landau drawn by the eight creams, dear Alix, looking very pretty in lilac, and Lenchen sitting opposite me. I felt a good deal agitated and had been so all these days, for fear anything might be forgotten or go wrong. Bertie and George C. rode one on each side of the carriage, Arthur (who had charge of the whole military arrangements) a little in the rear. My escort was formed from the 2nd Life Guards and officers of the native Indian regiments… 
Before leaving I touched an electric button, by which I started a message which was telegraphed throughout the whole Empire. It was the following: “From my heart I thank my beloved people, May God bless them!

Such moments in London’s history happen rarely, which is perhaps why they are so powerful… On such occasions, there is a palpable demonstration of union between Monarch and People, in which the politics of union between Monarch and People, in which the politicians and the state functionaries play only an incidental role - even though it is by construction, or evolution, of a relatively benign political system which allows to flourish the almost organic relationship between Crowned Head and populace.

In the case of Queen Victoria, the intensity of the crowd reaction was especially strong, because she made public parade of herself so seldom. The emotional atmosphere was overpowering on that hot, sunny day. The Queen, dressed in grey and black, but smiling and bowing, held a parasol above her and bowed her smiling head to left and right as the landau passed through the streets of London… Often, as the landau made its way, the procession stopped, and the crowd sang “God Save the Queen” over and over again. She was now too stout and too arthritic to contemplate moving into the cathedral, let alone negotiate the aisle. She therefore decreed that the Service of Thanksgiving should be held on the cathedral steps while she sat in her Landau, while the old favorites - the Te Deum, the Old Hundreth and, yet again, the National Anthem - were sung.

There followed a grueling series of events, all of which, however tiring, she seemed to enjoy. On the day after the Jubilee Parade, she went to the sweltering hot Ball Room in Buckingham Palace to receive loyal addresses from the two Houses of Parliament. The journey to Paddington Station in the afternoon was, once again, through dense crowds - 10,000 elementary schoolchildren had been brought to sit in the stands occupied the previous day by grownups, and loyal addresses from London School Boards were presented. Upon arrival at Slough, there were more loyal addresses… At the end of the week, there was a garden party at Buckingham Palace; for although there were no crowned heads attending, London had swarmed with royalties and Russian, Italian and German princes and princesses mingled with the likes of Sir Henry Irving and great musicians such as Albani and Tosti. At Windsor, there were more inspections of colonial troops and police - from Hong Kong, a delegation to the police force; from West Africa, a troop of Houssas [sic] - “fine looking men, but very black.” Best of all, she liked the Sikhs, “very fine, handsome men,” and she was able, with the Indian troops, to exchange words of Hindustani. Then, at Windsor, there was a garden party for Members of the House of Commons…. Mandall Creighton…wrote a memorandum to the Queen about the Jubilee Ceremonies that “no ceremonial recorded in history was ever more impressive, more truly national, or expressed more faithfully sentiments which were deeply and universally felt… The proceedings throughout were charged with strong personal feelings. It was not the grandeur, the dignity, or the display which were impressive: it was the intimacy and the sincerity of the respect and affection towards the Queen which was in the air.”

“Victoria: A Life,” A. N. Wilson

Diamond Jubilee Brooch ♕ Queen Elizabeth II