Most people don’t do anything for 70 years, but the Queen managed to lead the nation for that much time. This made her the longest-reigning monarch in British history ahead of Queen Victoria. Furthermore, only France’s King Louis XIV sat on a throne for longer than Queen Elizabeth.
The Sun King reigned for 72 years but he came to power when he was a young boy. Elizabeth’s longevity is all the more impressive because she was an adult when she replaced her father. In 2022, she celebrated an unprecedented Platinum Jubilee to much acclaim (via Platinum Jubilee).
Many Prime Ministers formed U.K. governments with Queen Elizabeth’s approval. One of the most noteworthy was Winston Churchill, a giant of British history. He famously led the nation through World War II and was one of the most inspiring PMs ever (via Global News).
Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Churchill didn’t always run smoothly. But she gained the respect of the war veteran and mourned his death. It’s remarkable that she met him and even considered him a friend. Few modern leaders reached the same stature.
The world witnessed one of the worst modern terror attacks in 2017. A suicide bomber killed over 20 people as they left an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. This event rocked the nation because most of the victims were children. However, it also hardened the hearts of its citizens against terror.
The Queen visited many of the surviving victims in hospitals after the atrocity. She paid her respects to the families and ensured that they knew that they had her support. This is one of the most difficult aspects of being a monarch because they must remain strong in these horrible moments (via Sky News).
In 1954, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip went on one of the most famous tours of their lifetime. They traveled around the Commonwealth as they visited countries like Australia and New Zealand. The photo below shows a still from their short stay in Ceylon or modern-day Sri Lanka.
This trip reinvigorated the image of the Royal Family across the Commonwealth after World War II. However, it was a tumultuous time too because many countries considered becoming republics. The Queen went all out on this tour as she reminded the world of their power (via State Library).
The simplest things made Queen Elizabeth happy. It’s easy to get the feeling that she preferred being away from London in the tranquil countryside. There’s a wide beam on her face as she visits a farm of Highland cattle. These distinctive cows have massive horns and a long floppy fringe.
It appears as though this moment was during the 1980s as the Queen still had her rich-brown hair. The image captures the peace that she craved throughout her reign. In the end, she maintained her dedication to her people despite giving up her personal life (via Telegraph).
London hosted the Olympic Games in 2012 and won global acclaim in the process. The opening ceremony was a highlight of the event because it was spectacular. Meanwhile, the Queen stunned the world when she participated in a short sketch with famed British actor, Daniel Craig.
Craig played the iconic role of James Bond as he escorted the Queen to the event. Brilliant choreography made it appear that the pair skydived into the arena. It was also a smart move on the monarch’s part because she knew that the public enjoys this engagement with popular culture (via AV Club).
Ronald Reagan was one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite U.S. Presidents because of his personality. She enjoyed her meetings with the former actor and his wife, Nancy. They met several times throughout his tenure in the U.K. and the U.S. Reagan once described the Queen as a “truly fine and gracious lady.”
The duo had a shared love of horses and this brought them closer together. This went beyond the usual pleasantries of state visits because they had something in common. Queen Elizabeth visited the United States’ West Coast in 1983 and rode with Reagan during that trip (via NBC Los Angeles).
We don’t know the exact location of this photograph but it reveals a lot about Princess Elizabeth. She already enjoyed life’s simple pleasures as she sits and reads in a beautiful garden. It’s a bright summer’s day and she’s smiling with joy because everything is perfect.
Many of the Royals ask people what it’s like to walk into a supermarket without anybody recognizing them. They live with a complete lack of privacy because of their public status. Even here a palace photographer is capturing an intimate moment. Their lives aren’t as dreamy as ordinary people may think (via Politico).
Prince Andrew is the most polarizing member of the Royal Family because of his close friendship with Jeffrey Epstein. Furthermore, he endured strong allegations of raping a minor provided by the convicted pedophile. The news hurt the Queen who ruthlessly moved her favorite son out of the spotlight.
In the end, he settled with his alleged victim out of court. But this came after a ridiculous interview where he infamously said he has a condition that prevents him from sweating. This made him a figure of contempt because he blatantly lied to the British public (via Newsweek).
The Royal Navy named its new aircraft carrier after its supreme commander. HMS Queen Elizabeth II is the pride of the British fleet and can carry up to 40 aircraft. This massive craft is an incredible feat of engineering and represents the peak of shipbuilding.
Here we see the Queen visiting the ship and meeting some of the crew members. Red is traditionally the color of the Royal Military so perhaps this is why she chose this color for her tour. She instantly stands out amongst the sober navy uniforms (via Royal Navy).
Paddington Bear is a beloved icon of British media. The author Michael Bond created this charming character for his series of children’s books. Then they became the source of TV and movie adaptations. The Queen knew this and welcomed a crossover with this wholesome figure.
She participated in a sketch for her Platinum Jubilee with the beloved bear. It was a lovely video that worked perfectly in maintaining her image as a caring person. Paddington enjoys tea and marmalade sandwiches with the monarch throughout the gentle clip (via ITV).
The Royal Variety Show is a traditional part of the Queen’s calendar. Talented artists receive the opportunity to perform in front of the monarch on a night of great entertainment. Throughout her reign, she witnessed many top musicians, dancers, and even magicians.
In the background, we see the likes of crooner Tom Jones applauding the queen. She clutches a bouquet as she waves to the audience and wishes them well. Maybe she would have preferred to stay in bed and watch Netflix but she did her duty (via Express).
Richard Nixon was one of the most controversial U.S. Presidents but he’s all smiling in this photo. The California native paid an official visit to the U.K. in 1970. Then he met P.M. Harold Wilson as well as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (via Royal Collection Trust).
The Queen and Pat Nixon wear red and beam at each other. Meanwhile, Wilson and Nixon are in somber suits that reflect the political tensions of the era. Nixon famously became the first President to quit after the Watergate scandal made his job untenable.
People think that it’s easy to be a member of the Royal Family. But the reality is that there is a lot of work behind the scenes. They’re constantly on the move and must do a lot of research to ensure they’re aware of current affairs. In this photo, the Queen is reading the newspaper on a private flight (via Al Jazeera).
Meanwhile, a dossier of important information rests on the table. It’s an exhausting business because these papers never stop coming. Prince Philip is also checking his notes at another table as he considers his schedule. It’s fair to question the value of the Royal Family but as people, they worked hard.
The Queen called 1992 the worst year of her reign because everything went wrong. Princess Diana died in a tragic car crash in Paris with her lover Dodi Al Fayad. Queen Elizabeth received a lot of vitriol and criticism for her reaction to this event (via Town And Country Mag).
She made an infamous speech that came across very badly in the U.K. This was the only time of her reign where people seriously criticized her on a personal level. However, she rebounded and rehabilitated her image for a new generation. But this was a crucial lesson for the veteran monarch.
Prince Harry and Prince William stand beside their beloved grandmother outside Buckingham Palace. These two young men faced many challenges in their lives. Firstly, they dealt with the tragedy of their mother’s death in the early ’90s. Then they endured a media dissection of Princess Diana’s life (via Washington Post).
Later, the dawn of social media created new problems because there was no escape. Prince Harry instigated another controversy when he left his official duties behind. He wanted to have a stable relationship with his wife Meghan Markle and their son Archie.
The Queen met hundreds of celebrities during her long life. One of these was Sir. Elton John famously received a knighthood from the monarch. The flamboyant singer wears a bright pink jacket as he greets the regent. There’s a genuine pleasure on the Queen’s face as she shakes his hand.
Elton John has always spoken very highly about the Queen and has a lot of respect for her. Meanwhile, Tom Jones lurks in the background again like a bad smell. It’s safe to say that Queen Elizabeth preferred a particular generation of musicians (via Vogue).
The Duke of Kent was one of the Queen’s closest confidants. After Prince Philip died in 2021, he noticeably made more appearances alongside his monarch. This was because he wanted to support her in her time of need. His intentions were very noble and deserve credit.
He inherited his title as a seven-year-old after his father died in an airplane crash. Later, the Duke served for over 20 years in the military as his uniform reveals. The military veteran cuts a frail but dignified figure as he stands beside the queen in solidarity (via Metro).
Sometimes a picture doesn’t tell the full story about an occasion. Former President of the United States Barack Obama visited the United Kingdom in 2009 and attended a state banquet. Here he touches glasses with Queen Elizabeth as the proceedings begin. There’s nothing to suggest that anything exciting happened.
However, sources claimed that Obama had a very good time at the Palace. He allegedly drank a few martinis and was enjoying himself. But the Queen jokingly told him that it was time to go home because she wanted to go to bed. Obama appreciated her candor and her sense of humor (via Mirror).
It’s impossible to escape the Queen’s influence in London because it’s everywhere. The London Underground opened a new train line in 2022 and named it in honor of the monarch. The Elizabeth Line was the newest addition to the sprawling rail system (via Washington Times).
Queen Elizabeth surprised many people when she visited Paddington Station after it opened. The line used the color purple as its identifier because of its association with royalty. It has 41 stations and runs for over 100km as it brings the city closer together.
The photograph below became one of the defining images of the global health crisis. Prince Philip passed away but the health restrictions prevented open displays of public mourning. He should have had a grand state funeral but it didn’t happen in this way (via USA Today).
The Queen sat alone in Westminster Abbey as she paid her last respects to her beloved husband. It was a devastating image because she was old and frail. It also reminded the world that she was mortal and human too. Her eyes tell the story of the emotions that she couldn’t openly express.
King George VI never expected to become the reigning monarch. However, he was next in line after his brother, Edward VIII abdicated. This rocked the United Kingdom and threatened the future of the monarchy. It also made Elizabeth the heir to the throne (via Express).
In this photo, Elizabeth and Philip stand beside the future queen’s parents. Notably, George wasn’t the King’s given name but the monarch could change it. Queen Victoria instructed that none of her descendants should eclipse her husband, Albert.
President Trump visited London in 2018 under a cloud of protests. He visited the Queen at Buckingham Palace but broke convention by arriving late. The worst aspect was that he left the elderly lady standing for almost 15 minutes. Then he defied further protocols by walking in front of her.
Despite this, Trump claimed that he had a great working relationship with the Queen. He extended his sympathies after she passed and reminisced about her sense of humor. The polarizing President appeared sincere in his condolences (via Newsweek).
Queen Elizabeth extended her patronage to many sports and creative arts. However, she only attended Wimbledon four times in her life. The tournament is British tennis’s showpiece event and takes itself incredibly seriously. All athletes must dress head-to-toe in white if they wish to play.
But the Queen never enjoyed tennis and only went when the occasion demanded it. Her final visit to the event was in 2010 when she watched Andy Murray win. Otherwise, she allowed her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge to attend in her stead (via The Sun).
The Royal Garden Parties are the stuff of legend. All of the who’s who of society attend this event and the Queen played host. Usually, they took place at Buckingham Palace with one also in Scotland. Many aristocrats and famous socialites ensured their presence.
30,000 members of the public also come to these parties and enjoy meeting the Royal Family. They consider it to be a massive honor because it’s a unique opportunity. Some people dream of this moment but never receive the chance. That’s why they want to make the most of it (via Vogue).
It’s safe to say that Boris Johnson was one of Queen Elizabeth’s least favorite prime ministers. The polarizing figure’s tenure in charge of the nation came to a humiliating end. Finally, his party ousted him and replaced him with Liz Truss. His attitude and antics allegedly infuriated the Queen too.
Nonetheless, the Queen never made her personal feelings public. She took immense pride in maintaining a stoic demeanor when it came to constitutional matters. It was immensely damaging for governments if it became known that they had a poor relationship with the Palace (via E Online).
The Queen’s death rocked the nation because it appeared to happen very suddenly. After all, she even met the new Prime Minister two days before she passed. She continued to fulfill the official duties of the state until the very end. That was the way she wanted to go as she refused to retire completely.
Her body passed from Balmoral to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. From there it made the journey south to London where she would finally rest in Westminster Abbey. The coffin lay in the state along the way so that British citizens could pay their respects to their fallen monarch (via Indian Express).
It’s difficult to put a price on the Queen’s tiaras and jewelry because the palace will never sell them. This makes it priceless but keen-eyed auctioneers have made estimates. They believe that ornate pieces including the one below have a value of six to 12 million dollars.
The Queen owned at least four dozen crowns throughout her reign as well as innumerable necklaces and brooches. Any of them was worth a fortune but with this came great responsibility. These were her uniform and showed her status as Protector of the Realm (via The List).
The Queen allegedly owned the second-most expensive car in the world. She had a massive collection of vehicles but one stood out. This was her Bentley State Limousine, a gigantic burgundy beast of a car. However, it had many additional features that ensured her protection.
This bespoke vehicle had kevlar tires and armor-plated doors. Meanwhile, it could resist chemical attacks as well as significant explosions. There are likely more unspecified features including blood supplies to protect the Queen’s health in a crisis (via Obul).
The Royal Family played a crucial role in maintaining the morale of British citizens during World War II. This was a harrowing time for the nation as they came under assault. However, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret refused the offer of evacuation as they served their country.
One duty saw them make regular radio speeches as they spoke to their subjects. This heartened the men and women who lost everything during the nightly bombings. They knew that millions of people were dying across the planet in the battle against Fascism (via Forces.net).
The beautiful photograph below shows Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrating their lengthy 73 years of marriage. This remarkable milestone outlines their commitment to each other. While Netflix’s The Crown hinted at infidelity, there were no signs of this in reality.
Prince Philip sacrificed a lot to become Elizabeth’s husband. He knew that he would remain in her shadow for the remainder of his life. This was a serious proposition because there was no escaping it without scandal. But they made it work and remained happy (via NBC News).
Finally, let’s enjoy this photograph of the Queen laughing at an unknown joke or comment. Everybody who met her insisted that she had a fantastic sense of humor. They claimed that her dry wit broke the ice on tense occasions. It also reminded people that she was human, too (via Sky News).
It’s crucial to remember that the Queen was a woman who accomplished a ton throughout her 70-year reign. She was an incredible person with remarkable longevity. But she enjoyed life’s smallest pleasures more than anything because these were the hardest for her to claim. The British people will never forget Queen Elizabeth II.