On May 3rd, 2021, Northern Ireland commemorated its 100th anniversary as a separate legal entity within the United Kingdom. This raised the question: how do we commemorate a state with a history of violence and discrimination? This essay doesn’t attempt to answer this question but explores Northern Ireland as a case study to demonstrate the complex nature of contested anniversaries.
In February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne at the youthful age of twenty-five, becoming a historic moment that captured the hearts and minds of the nation. Her reign is bejewelled with monumental records and achievements, beginning with her coronation’s televised broadcast to the general public and including her most recent accomplishment of reaching her Platinum Jubilee, having been on the throne for 70 years.