On the 9th September 2015, Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch and in an address to the nation reflected that ‘inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones- my own being no exception‘. In recent years the Queen has celebrated both her Diamond Jubilee and 65th wedding anniversary, and today, Elizabeth, already Britain’s oldest and longest reigning monarch, will reach another landmark occasion; her 90th birthday.
Although this milestone will not be celebrated publicly until her official birthday in June, it seems appropriate to look ahead to how this event will be marked in the months to come, whilst reflecting on her life and achievements as Queen. So let’s take a look at 9 moments that have defined Elizabeth II’s exceptional life.
1.) On the 9th September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest reigning monarch. At 17:30, she had reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes, overtaking Queen Victoria.
2.) In 2013 the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement were amended by the Succession to the Crown Act which made succession to the crown not dependent on gender. In short, the law was changed so the monarch’s eldest child now has the right to succeed the throne, rather than the eldest male child.
3.) On the 20th November 1947 Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh. This marriage has given the Queen four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and, in 2012, the couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
4.) In 1940, when Elizabeth was just 14 years old she made her first radio broadcast when she addressed Britain’s children to offer sympathy and raise spirits during WW2. Her words ‘in the end all will be well, for God will care for us and give us victory and peace’ reflect the Christian values she continues to promote today whilst showing how even from a tender age the Queen’s life has been bound by duty and service.
5.) Whilst on an official tour in South Africa, on her 21st birthday Elizabeth II addressed the commonwealth with a speech. Her memorable words ‘I declare before you all that my life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to the service of our great and imperial family’ perfectly capture the Queen’s devotion to service that has characterised her life.
6.) During her lifetime Elizabeth II has secured her place as the most widely travelled head of state in history, having travelled to as many as 127 countries on 270 official visits.
7.) However, during her life the Queen has had to face tough times. She declared the year 1992 her ‘Annus Horribilis’ following the breakdown of three of her children’s marriages, the publication of Andrew Morton’s scandalous tell-all biography ‘Diana: Her True Story’, and a destructive fire at Windsor Castle. Following Princess Diana’s tragic death in 1997 the Queen faced further challenges in responding to the intense public mourning.
8.) In 2012 the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was met with a wave of celebrations. 60 years previously Elizabeth II became Queen aged 25 with her coronation being the first to be televised.
9.) In 2012 the Queen appeared alongside Daniel Craig in the James Bond sequence in the Olympics opening ceremony. The Queen’s cameo delighted the nation and allowed us to relish in the Queen’s great sense of humour.
The Queen’s 90th birthday will be celebrated on her official birthday in June. The trooping of the colour will take place on Saturday 11th June followed by a Patron’s Lunch, a giant street party along the mall, on Sunday 12th June.
In 2015 Queen Elizabeth II conducted 340 public engagements and her work ethnic and sense of duty have earned her universal love and respect. Queen and grandmother, head of state and national treasure, the Queen is invited into our homes on Christmas Day, has shaken the hands with the nation and makes her love for her horses and dogs well known, however at no point has she risked over-familiarity. The Queen has acted as a constant during what has been 90 years of change and has ensured the monarchy is as popular, relevant and necessary as ever.