The reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been a rare constant in a changing world. Here are seven of the most historic moments of the Queen's remarkable 63-year reign.

1. The Commonwealth, 1953


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

From Elizabeth's birth onwards, the British Empire began a transformation into the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1953 and 1954 she and husband Philip embarked on a six-month tour around the world, making her the first reigning monarch to visit Australia and New Zealand. Throughout her reign, tours of this kind have been a common occurrence, and she is the most widely travelled head of state in the world.

 

2. Beatle-mania, 1960s


The Beatles

The 1960s saw the explosion of rock 'n' roll, the 'teenager' and of course those four lovely lads from Liverpool. The Beatles' fame was such that discussions took place in Parliament to determine whether police forces were sufficiently protected should they get caught up in the fevered crowds that followed the band around the country.

 

3. Decolonisation, 1960s and '70s


President Jomo Kenyatta

The 1960s and 1970s saw the long-awaited decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean. Over 20 nations declared independence from Britain during this period of planned transition. This dismantling of the Empire then paved the way for Britain' entry into the European Community.

 

4. The European Union, 1973


Prime Minister Edward Heath, Queen Elizabeth II, President and First Lady Nixon

Under the government of Edward Heath, the UK became a fully fledged member of the European Economic Community. Prime Minister Heath was confident joining the EEC would enable the UK to be "more efficient and more competitive in gaining more markets, not only in Europe but in the rest of the world."

 

5. The World Wide Web, 1989


Tim Berners-Lee

In 1989 British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee distributed a proposal for what would later become known as the world wide web. Initially designed as a CERN communication system, Berners-Lee saw the potential of his invention and set about making it accessible the world over. Fortunately his hunch was right and people all over the world now have access to countless sources of knowledge, all at the touch of a button. Just think what this has meant for millions of Brits. From reconnecting with long lost family over social media, to being exposed to world changing political movements, or even just the simple settling down to Netflix on a Sunday.

 

6. Visit to the Republic of Ireland, 2011


Queen Elizabeth II and President Mary McAleese

Following the peace process in Northern Ireland, Queen Elizabeth, on the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese, became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland. The trip was received with warmth and affection and has helped to thaw a once frosty relationship.

 

7. Diamond Jubilee, 2012


Mosaic by Helen Marshall, Towner Gallery.

In 2012 the Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne and as part of the festivities, Elizabeth and Philip embarked on an extensive tour of Britain, while her children and grandchildren completed royal tours of other Commonwealth nations on her behalf.

In a message released on Accession Day, Elizabeth expressed that her Jubliee be a time "to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart."

Buy, The Queen's Speech, a study the queen's life told through her speeches

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