With the devastating news of the Queen’s passing, we celebrate the life of Britain’s longest serving monarch.
Queen Elizabeth II: Her Greatest Royal Moments
Her Service During the War
During the height of the bombing raids in 1940, the Royal Family, rather than flee the attack, remained at Buckingham Palace, and Princess Elizabeth moved to Windsor Castle. When the Princess was 13, she made her first public speech, broadcasting on BBC’s Children’s Hour, addressing all the children of the commonwealth, many of who were living away from home. Upon turning 18, Elizabeth insisted on joining the women’s branch of the army, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), where she trained to be a mechanic. When the war ended, crowds flooded Trafalgar Square in London to celebrate. The Queen slipped into the crowds in her ATS uniform unnoticed with her sister to enjoy the festivities.
Elizabeth II never expected to be Queen as her father, King George VI, was crowned after his brother Edward VIII abdicated. Westminster Abbey was the tradition, but Queen Elizabeth’s broke the mould; being the first to be televised, with a 27 million-strong British audience on 2 June 1953.
Meeting Philip and Family Life
In 1947, Princess Elizabeth, aged 21, married Philip of Greece, who was five years older. The wedding was a simple ceremony at the time as Britain was still recovering from the war, so Princess Elizabeth had to collect coupons for her dress, much like any other bride at the time. The couple have four children: starting with the eldest: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Now, the Queen has eight grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
The ‘Annus Horribilis’
The Queen referred to the year 1992 as the ‘Annus Horribilis’ (Latin for a horrible year). It was the year that saw the collapse of marriages of her three children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Andrew. There was also a fire that severely damaged their Windsor castle home.
The Diamond Jubilee
In 2012, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated 60 years since the accession in 1952. Festivities spilt into regional tours in the UK and the commonwealth, and ‘Big Jubilee Lunches’.
Responding to Terror
In July 2005, suicide attackers targeted London’s public transportation system, killing 56 people. Queen Elizabeth addressed the country, saying, ‘Atrocities such as these simply reinforce our sense of community, our humanity and our trust in the rule of law.’
The Passing of Prince Philip
On 9 April 2021, the whole of the UK stopped when Queen Elizabeth lost her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh. Serving as the longest Royal Consort in history, The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen were a love match when they married. Back in 1997, in a speech the Queen touchingly said this of Prince Philip: ‘He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.’
The Platinum Jubilee
This year, the country celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked 70 years since her succession. It was the first time a British monarch reached this milestone, with events taking place throughout the year and culminating in a four-day celebratory weekend in June. Celebrations included a special Trooping of the Colour and a party at Buckingham Palace featuring performances from some of the world’s biggest stars, plus street parties all over the city.