Today marks 67 years since Princess Elizabeth became Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During her lengthy reign, the Queen has become patron to over 500 charities, visited over 120 countries and has seen 12 British Prime Ministers.
As we celebrate this remarkable anniversary today, we take a look back at the key moments of Her Majesty’s record-breaking reign:
- 1.The day it all began
The Queen’s father, George VI had been in ill health for a while before his death. Princess Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh had embarked on a tour of the Commonwealth, and were in Kenya when the news of her father’s death reached them. Philip broke the sad news to the new queen, and that day they left to return to Britain. Elizabeth was sworn in immediately as monarch and her responsibilities began from that moment. Elizabeth was just 25 years old when she was announced as the new Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries.
- 2. Her Coronation
On 2 June 1953, the Queen’s coronation took place at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was the first event of its kind to be televised, with 27 million Britons tuning in to watch the spectacle and thousands more watching from around the world. For much of the population, this was their first experience of television as many bought their first set to watch the new Queen be appointed! The ceremony took place over a year after her succession to the throne, allowing the nation time to mourn for her much-loved late father.
- 3. The Birth of Her Children
Prince Andrew was born on 19 February 1960 to the 34 year old monarch. The Queen’s third child, Andrew made history as the first baby born to a reigning monarch. The last time this happened was when Queen Victoria gave birth to her youngest child Princess Beatrice in 1857. The Queen would go on to also give birth to her fourth child, Prince Edward in 1964.
- 4. Public restoration of confidence in the Royal Family
In the 1990s, the Royal Family came under some intense scrutiny in the public eye. Following the public separation of three of her four children from their spouses, along with a fire at their Windsor Castle residence, Her Majesty called the period her ‘annus horibilis’. Public enthusiasm for the family was low. Then, after the sudden death of Diana, Princess of Wales, they faced more criticism for their handling in the aftermath of the tragedy during a time of intense public mourning and hysteria. However, the Queen confidently steered the family into calmer waters in the lead up to her Golden Jubilee in 2002, an event which showed how popular the Queen and her family truly were.
- 5. The 2012 London Olympic Games Opening Ceremony
It has long been known that the Queen has a wicked sense of humour, and so when Her Majesty made her debut acting role in a James Bond sketch for the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony, the nation rejoiced. The world watched as 007, played by Daniel Craig and the Queen walked through Buckingham Palace surrounded by the famous royal Corgis, ready for their mission. The pair then climb aboard a helicopter, flying above the stadium and saw the two ‘parachute’ out. At that moment, the Queen made her entrance into the stadium for the first time, to rapturous applause. It was considered the best-kept secret of the ceremony!
- 6. A brand new Heir is born
During her reign, the Queen has seen many new additions to her family, but one particularly remarkable royal birth occurred on July 22nd 2013 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, George. Her great-grandson, upon his birth automatically became third in line to the British throne, behind his grandfather Charles, Prince of Wales, and his father William, Duke of Cambridge.
- 7. The world’s longest-reigning living monarch
On September 9th 2015, the Queen became the longest reigning British monarch, surpassing the 63 years, seven months and two day-long reign of her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. Then, following the death of King Bhumibol of Thailand on October 13th 2016 aged 88, Her Majesty gained the title of the longest reigning living monarch in the world!
- 8. The Queen celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee
In February 2017, the Queen went on to break yet another record – celebrating an incredible 65 years since her succession to the throne! The event has never before been seen in British history, and it is likely an event that will not be seen in our lifetimes – or even our grandchildren’s lifetimes! In her years of service, Her Majesty has dedicated her life to her duty as Sovereign, and has worked tirelessly to strengthen the Commonwealth into the honourable entity it is today.
- 9. The Queen and Prince Philip’s Platinum wedding anniversary
On 20th November 2017, the Queen celebrated another incredible milestone – her 70th wedding anniversary to the Duke of Edinburgh. They now have the longest marriage in British royal history and became the first British monarch and consort to ever celebrate an astonishing seventy years of marriage. Such an event is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion! The Queen famously described Prince Philip as her ‘strength and stay’, a tribute which can be equally applied to their partnership, as they have provided their countries with stability and constancy throughout their time as Queen and consort.
- 10. A new technological era
The Queen’s reign has run long into the 21st century, and to keep in touch with modernity, the monarch has found herself going digital! With the advancement of social media, each of the royal residences have their own Twitter account, tweeting important announcements and anniversaries. In 2014, the Queen wrote her first and only tweet at an exhibition in London’s Science Museum that celebrated the history of communication technology. Sent from the @BritishMonarchy Twitter account, it read “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.” In a sign of the times, the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s second child Charlotte was, for the first time, announced via tweet in 2015.