History Bytes: Queen Elizabeth
This week England will host a Diamond Jubliee celebration for the first time since 1897. Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 60th year on the throne with parades, bon fires and boat flotilla on the River Thames. The Queen visited Newport in July 1976 for the Bicentennial celebration. She dined on the HMS Britannia with President Ford and dedicated Queen Anne Square after attending services at Trinity Church. All of her children have since visited Newport over the years.
One piece of royal regalia was recently discovered in the collections of the Newport Historical Society. Sandwiched between two copies of the Newport Mercury from the 1860s was a 16th century financial account signed by Queen Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603). Scribed on vellum and encapsulated in silk for conservation, the text document was identified by a handwriting expert and an English archivist as an appraisal of precious stones, probably from a captured Spanish vessel, and boldly signed by Queen Elizabeth. Much more research is needed to further understand the faded and fragmented document and its unknown origins.