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Queen Elizabeth's 10 greatest royal moments

BY READERS DIGEST

8th Sep 2023 Life

Queen Elizabeth's 10 greatest royal moments

Icon, hero, and grandmother; Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most important figures of the last century. In honour of the longest reigning monarch, here are her 10 finest moments.

1. Elizabeth ascends the throne

George VI
King George VI, the Queen's father. Image in public domain. 

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. 

In spite of her grief she didn’t miss a step and was later named Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year.

2. The Coronation

Elizabeth II and Philip during her coronation
Newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Image in public domain. 

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 ministers 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. Image © Rept0n1x via Wikimedia Commons

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 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.

The Queen's brood grew quite significantly before her death, becoming a grandmother many times over, and later, a great-grandmother too. 

5. The Royal Family in the face of adversity

Windsor Castle
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 made the British people proud.

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

Princess Diana
The late Princess Diana. Image © John MacIntyre via Wikimedia Commons

When Diana died in a car crash in 1997, many members of the general public felt that the royal family had reacted coldly. Elizabeth 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 Mother
Elizabeth II's mother Queen Elizabeth, known as the Queen Mother. Image in public domain. 

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

Prince Charles and Camilla
Prince Charles and Camilla. Image in public domain.

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 mattered, the Queen was humble enough to forgive and forget.

9. The Queen advises on the royal wedding

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 visits Townsville, Australia, 1970
Queen Elizabeth II in Townsville, Australia, 1970. Image © Queensland State Archives via Wikimedia Commons

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.

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