Icon, hero, and grandmother; Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most important figures of the last century, and she continues to inspire people globally. In honour of the longest reigning monarch, here are her 10 finest moments.

1. Elizabeth ascends the throne


King George VI, the Queen's father

While on holiday in Kenya, at the tender age of 25, Elizabeth learned her father had died. She rushed back to Britain and was instantly thrown into the global spotlight. Inspite of her greif she didn’t miss a step, and was later named Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

 

2. The Coronation


Newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip 

The coronation of Elizabeth II was a national event—occurring on 2nd June 1953, it was the first ever to be broadcast on television.

With over 8,000 VIP guests, from foreign prime minsters to Commonwealth heads of state, the ceremony saw the Archbishop of Canterbury adorn her with the crown, and her reign began.

 

3. Silver Jubilee


Silver Jubilee street party

An audience of a million swarmed the streets of London to see the royal family, in a golden state coach, be led to St Paul’s to mark the start of the Silver Jubilee celebrations. The Queen delivered a moving speech which featured the heartfelt appreciation of the ‘loyalty and friendship’ extended to her by the British people.

 

4. The birth of the Queen's grandchildren


The Queen, her daughter Princess Anne, and two grandchildren Zara and Philip

The 1970s saw the birth of the Queen’s very first grandchild, Peter Phillips. In 1981 her second grandchild was born. Both Peter and Zara are the children of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.

A long time has passed since then, and Zara herself now has a child which making the Queen a royal great grandmother.

 

5. The Royal Family in the face of adversity


Windsor Castle 

In times of adversity, we see a person’s true character. In 1992, two of the Queen's children divorced and Windsor Castle caught fire. The strength and dignity the family displayed throughout did the British people proud.

 

6. The Queen’s response to Diana’s death


The late Princess Diana with the Queen 

When Diana died in a car crash in 1997, many members of the general public felt that the royal family had reacted coldly. Elizabeth very quickly changed all that by bowing to the coffin and paying a heartfelt tribute to Diana in a live television broadcast.

Of Diana she said: "She never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys."

 

7. Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother pass away


Queen (middle) with her sister Margaret (left) and her mother Queen Elizabeth

A decade on in 2002, the Queen lost two people incredibly close to her—her only sibling Princess Margaret, and her mother. The Queen stayed by her mother’s bedside and received the news of Margaret’s death with "great sadness".

 

8. Charles and Camilla’s reconciliation with the Queen


The Queen with Camillia

Although the Queen never agreed with the relationship between Charles and Camilla, in 2005 she held a reception in honour of the marriage. This moment showed that when it matters, the Queen is humble enough to forgive and forget.

 

9. The Queen advises on the royal wedding


The Royal Wedding 
Dutourdumonde Photography / Shutterstock.com

As well as keeping guard of the guest list (binning William’s own), the Queen even chose what her grandson wore – his Irish Guard’s uniform.

 

10. Visits to Australia


Queen Elizabeth II in Australia in 1954

Aged 85, only last year the Queen began what many have described as a “farewell tour” of Australia - the 16th time she’s visited the continent.

The Queen also made history in 2011, by becoming the first monarch to pay a trip to the Republic of Ireland since it became independent.

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

Header Image

Shaun Jeffers / Shutterstock.com

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