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This Sceptred Isle

Elizabeth II (at her Silver Jubilee)
Elizabeth II (at her Silver Jubilee)
Jubilee and Charter 77
In Britain the highlight of 1977 was the 25th anniversary of the Queen. Elizabeth II lit a huge bonfire in Windsor Great Park which set off 100 bonfires from Land's End to the Shetlands and, as if to celebrate, Virginia Wade won the Women's Singles at Wimbledon.

Callaghan continued with Denis Healey as his Chancellor to fight the economy. He rejected the Keynsian theory of spending as a way out of the crisis. He requested everyone should tighten their belts starting with the Unions. Unfortunately the Unions had lost control and were ruled by the shop stewards. The Cabinet tragedy of 1977 was the sudden death of the Foreign Secretary, Tony Crosland. Callaghan surprised many by giving the job to Crosland's junior, Dr David Owen.


  • The first born daughter of George VI
  • Became Queen on her father's death in 1952
  • Crowned crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in 1953
  • Married Philip Mountbatten, Prince Philip of Greece, now the Duke of Edinburgh
  • Four children: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Princess Anne, the Princess Royal; Prince Andrew and Prince Edward

did you know?
Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind , Saturday Night Fever and Rocky were the film box-office successes of 1977.

Thoughts On Being Made Foreign Secretary
David Owen

"I felt a tinge of awe. I had already worked there for nearly six months.
"But today I was accompanied buy a Special Branch detective and was now referred to by diplomats as Secretary of State.
"Every telegram that went out from the Foreign Office would have Owen at the bottom and a selection from the large number of those telegrams would come to me every day wherever I was in the world to provide a briefing system of immense value. ...the Secretary of State's room is the loveliest office in the whole of Whitehall with its big windows looking out west to St James's Park and north across Horse Guards Parade. It is huge; difficult to envisage as a working office.
"I used to imagine it with three double- decker buses parked in a row...yet particularly at night, it had a warmth and intimacy that evoked Sir Edward Grey in 1914 watching the lamps going out all over Europe.
"My desk faced the mantelpiece above which hung a portrait of Palmerston brought in by George Brown to replace one of George III.
"Only when I had been there a decent interval did I feel confident enough to remove Palmerston and replace him with a painting of General Jung Bahdour Koowar Ranjee who was Prime Minister and Commander-in Chief of Nepal at the age of 32.
"Tony Benn was very sniffy about this picture, saying that at least Lord Palmerston was a British Foreign Secretary."

Select historical period

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1973 Britain joins the EEC
VAT is introduced
Yom Kippur War
1974 Labour win General Election. Harold Wilson once more PM
1975 British EEC Referendum
1976 Harold Wilson resigns as leader of Labour Party. James Callaghan succeeds him as leader and PM
Race Relations Act
1977 Nationalisation of aircraft industry
Jimmy Carter becomes President of the USA
1978 New pope is John Paul II
1979 Tories win General Election. Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first woman PM
1980 Zimbabwe (South Rhodesia) independence
1981 Nott Defence review
1982 Falklands War
1983 Tories win General Election
1984 Coal Miners strike
1985 Collapse of miners strike
1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit

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