“The People’s Friend” Royal Souvenirs Through History

The People's Friend Queen Victoria Souvenir issue

Bunting and flags are at the ready for the many street parties organised to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in style. And little wonder, as reigning for 70 years is a truly magnificent milestone. There will, of course, be many royal souvenirs to commemorate the occasion that will be treasured in years to come. 

With this in mind, we delve back into our archives to discover some of “The People’s Friend” keepsakes and prizes marking special Royal occasions in years gone by. And we can only wonder if any still exist (please do get in touch if you have one). 

For instance, in Queen Victoria’s reign, the “Friend” marked the Diamond Jubilee in 1897 with a tumbler. And a beautiful one it was too, showing a portrait of the Queen complete with view of Windsor Castle. And yours for a bargain 1s 9d post free. 

Then in 1910/11 a coupon-gathering competition ran for the Coronation of His Majesty King George V and of Queen Mary. This offered a most splendid “six days in the metropolis”. The prize included trips to witness first-hand the “gaiety and splendour almost unequalled in the history of our country”. 

For Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

From DC Thomson archives.

Queen’s Coronation in 1953

Fast forward to 1937 and we acknowledged the sovereignty of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth with a competition featuring Coronation tea cloths. Our archive copy goes into detail saying: “Each tea cloth has woven into its pattern the crests of all parts of the vast Empire”. The tea cloth, said to “carry excellent likenesses of Their Majesties the King and Queen”, was won by 20 “housewives” because of their prize-winning summer recipes.

We also had a very generous 500 Coronation boxes of biscuits to be given away and 50 prize-winning Coronation medals. The latter thanks to Cousin Tom’s children’s crossword competition. 

For Queen's Platinum Jubilee

From DC Thomson archives.

There was no better way to mark our very own Queen’s Coronation in 1953, than with a tea caddy. Our archives describe it as being “in modern design” with charming portraits of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The hinged lid caddy came filled with tea and could be sent to you post free for 3s 9d, or for 4s 6d for “any reader in the British Dominions”. 

Royal Souvenirs From The “Friend”

Fast forward to the present day and you’ll find lots to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in style. For instance, don’t miss “The People’s Friend” May 28 issue. This has 16 magnificent pages paying tribute to the Queen’s glorious reign.

Also, take a look back at the Queen’s amazing life in preparation for the Platinum Jubilee.


Yvonne McKenzie

Yvonne works on the Features team and admits to being nosy, so loves looking after the Between Friends letters and finding out all about our lovely readers. She also looks after our health copy and enjoys writing about inspiring people that help make the articles in the magazine so interesting.