As Her Majesty celebrates her momentous Platinum Jubilee this year – the first UK monarch to ever do so – we look back over her reigning years with a sense of pride and nostalgia. Her reign has been punctuated with poignant milestones from the very beginning as a young princess and blossoming into the powerful and much-loved queen of our nation today.
George VI, who became King unexpectedly after the abdication of his brother, King Edward VII, died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham, February. 1952, aged 56. He battled ill health for quite some time, after never fully recovering from a lung operation. Then-princess and heiress presumptive, Elizabeth was in Kenya with husband Prince Philip when news broke and became the first Sovereign in more than 200 years to accede while abroad.
June 2, 1953
One year after the death of her father and a period of mourning, the late King George VI, a shy, 25-year-old then-Princess Elizabeth, attended her coronation at Westminster Abbey, where the ceremony has taken place for the past 900 years, to begin her reign. After a 3-hour service, with millions watching on TV and
around the world, Great Britain officially had a brand-new Queen Elizabeth II.
Feb 19, 1960 – March 10, 1964
Queen Elizabeth completed her family, having her third child, Prince Andrew in 1960, followed by her fourth and final child, Prince Edward, at Buckingham Palace.
May 18, 1965
The Queen’s 10-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (or West Germany) was the first official visit there by a British royal since 1913. Her visit marked the 20-year anniversary of the end of World War II.
June 2, 1977
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated 25 years on the throne with Commonwealth visits and a new public holiday.
July 29, 1981
Lady Diana Spencer stepped out at St Paul’s Cathedral with her father, Earl Spencer, to say ‘I do’ to Prince Charles, watched on by 3,500 guests and a further 750 million people on television. The wedding took place just five months after their engagement was officially announced and the Queen was a vision of aquamarine beauty and happiness on her son’s big day.
June 21, 1982
A future King is born. Although the Queen already had two other grandchildren, the birth of Prince William, born to Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, marked a new line of succession, putting baby Wills second in line to the throne, after his father.
November 20, 1992
A devastating fire wrecks part of the Queen’s home at Windsor Castle, destroying 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms. The castle was not restored
until much later, in 1997. In fact, 1992 was the year the Queen delivered a speech calling it an ‘Annus Horribilis’: Latin for ‘a horrible year.’ Charles and
Diana announced their decision to separate. Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah Ferguson, also separated, while Princess Anne divorced her husband, Mark
August 31, 1997
A poignant and heartbreaking time for the Queen as news spread around the world that daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales had died in a car crash in
Paris. The Queen was devastatingly under much scrutiny after her death due to family tensions prior to the accident, following Diana’s controversial interview
with Martin Bashir.
November 20, 1997
A true love. Her Majesty and her soulmate, Prince Philip, celebrated their Golden Anniversary with a special garden party at Buckingham Palace for couples also celebrating their Golden Wedding.
February/ March 2002
The Queen had to overcome sadness again when she lost both her sister, Margaret, to stroke complications followed closely by the death of her beloved
mum, the Queen Mother a month later, aged 101.
June 24, 2002
Another golden celebration to close the months of previous darkness, but this time Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee. To celebrate 50 years, she travelled more
than 40,000 miles in 2002, including visits to the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. She also visited 70 cities and towns in 50 counties in the
April 9, 2005
Charles wed Camilla but the Queen decided against attending, announcing that the bride would use the lesser title of HRH the princess consort when her groom took the throne. However, this year the Queen confirmed the thawing of their once-tricky relationship, by renouncing her daughter-in-law can officially take on the title given to the wife of a reigning monarch and be known as Queen Camilla to his King Charles when that time comes.
April 21, 2007
Congratulations Ma’am. Her Majesty officially became the oldest-ever reigning, British monarch, overtaking a record set by her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
April 29, 2011
The Queen was pride of place at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Brits were generously given a public holiday and street parties were held up and down the country. Kate also borrowed her wedding day tiara, known as The Cartier Halo tiara, from The Queen.
July 27, 2012
The name’s Majesty. Her Majesty. The Queen had fun as part of the London 2012 Olympic celebrations, making a cameo alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond for the opening ceremony. Her iconic line ‘Good evening, Mr Bond’ will go down in history.
July 22, 2013
Her first great grandchild was born. Prince George is the third in line to throne with his birth marking the first time since Victoria’s reign that three generations of direct heirs to the British throne were alive at the same time.
May 19, 2018
Keeping up her citrus fashion theme for another grandson’s wedding, The Queen enjoyed her day at Prince Harry’s wedding, welcome US-born Meghan Markle into the fold with open arms.
April 9, 2021
The end of an era and the nation’s biggest love story. Prince Philip passed away at the grand age of 99, leaving the Queen devastated. Losing her closest aide
and true love broke Her Majesty’s heart, and the complications from a the worldwide pandemic meant she had to sit alone at his funeral on April 17, 2021.
October 19, 2021
The Queen hosted a major Global Investment summit at Windsor Castle ahead of the COP26 UN climate change conference. She called on nations to work
together to beat climate change, saying it is the greatest challenge facing the world.