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Queen’s Silver Jubilee tapes secretly recorded by man hidden in choir surface

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The Queen pulled out of attending a Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in London this morning after spraining her back. Buckingham Palace said that the monarch was “disappointed” after being forced to cancel her first public appearance since a health scare last month. The Queen spent a night in hospital last month for “preliminary investigations” after cancelling a royal visit to Northern Ireland.

The 95-year-old monarch returned to work at Windsor Castle the next day but on the doctor’s advice, has since been carrying out “light, desk-based duties”.

The Queen is the UK’s longest-serving monarch and is due to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee next year, to mark 70 years on the throne.

To celebrate the landmark year, a man who recorded the Queen’s Silver Jubilee service in secret has been given permission by the Palace to make the tapes available to the public.

In 1977 David Hutchinson was working at a shop near Windsor Castle when the Queen Mother’s office called and asked him to make a covert recording of the service.

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The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, which was held on February 6, 1977 at the Royal Chapel of All Saints, marked the 25th anniversary of the Queen’s accession.

Mr Hutchinson was instructed to make the recording a surprise, so naturally, he hid himself in the church vestry with the choir, and captured the sounds of the service using a wireless tape recorder.

Mr Hutchinson, 73, told The Telegraph he received a surprise phone call in January 1977 from the Queen Mother’s lady-in-waiting, while working at Taylor Hutchinson, a company that provided recording equipment. 

He said: “It was a spur of the moment idea. 

“The Queen Mother wanted it to be a surprise, so it had to be done discreetly.”

Mr Hutchinson, who at the time was 29 years old, hid himself with the “rather naughty” choirboys and used a four-track tape machine and wireless microphone to capture the event.

Once the recording was mixed and pressed, 120 copies were delivered to the Queen Mother to distribute, but they were never made public.

The Queen Mother gifted the recordings to members of the Royal Family, their friends and staff in the congregation.

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But the original tapes were damaged with water by the year of the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and were thought to be impossible to salvage.

Yet, with help from recent technological developments and with permission from the Palace, Mr Hutchinson has produced a recording of the service that will be made available to the public in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

A copy was donated to the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, while all artist royalties will be donated to The Royal Collection Trust.

A CD of the album will sell for £35 while a limited edition box set will be worth £350.

Her Majesty will become the first UK monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee having acceded to the throne on February 6 1952, at the age of 25.

Throughout the whole of 2022, the Queen and members of the Royal Family will travel the country, undertaking a variety of events to mark the occasion.

In June, there will be an extended bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2 to Sunday 5, to allow royal supporters to celebrate the historic milestone.

Exactly a year before the historic weekend, Culture Secretary at the time, Oliver Dowden said: “Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee will be a truly historic moment ‒ and one that deserves a celebration to remember.

“We can all look forward to a special, four-day Jubilee weekend when we will put on a spectacular, once-in-a-generation show that mixes the best of British ceremonial splendour with cutting edge art and technology.

“It will bring the entire nation and the Commonwealth together in a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s reign.”

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