The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth IICelebrating 70 years of her accession to the British throne is above all a tribute to one of history’s greatest acts of fortitude.
Her reign spanned virtually throughout the post-World War II era, bearing witness to cultural upheaval from The Beatles to Brexit, technological advances from wireless radio to Zoom, and political leaders from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson.
From sepia color photos of her coronation in 1953 to her emotional televised address to a nation in the grip of a pandemic in 2020, the Queen has been ever present in British life for as long as most Britons are alive.
Her victories – history-making visits to South Africa and Ireland – lifted the country. Her grief – the charged days after Diana, Princess of Wales, died in a car crash in Paris, or the isolation imposed by Covid over her grief for her late husband Prince Philip – has become the grief of the nation.
Perhaps no living person has met so many celebrities, a showcase of heroes and villains from Nelson Mandela to Vladimir Putin. But it was her countless meetings with ordinary people that left perhaps the most lasting impact on the longest-reigning British monarch in history.
The photos below are a small representation of her reign:
The Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with one of her dogs in September 1952.
She was 25 years old when she acceded to the throne in 1952.
Riding in front of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on his way to the Horse Guards Parade in London for the Colored Troops Gala in May 1956.
Attending a dinner with Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, at No. 10 Downing Street, London in April 1955.
The Queen on a royal tour of Nigeria in 1956.
Queen Elizabeth’s motorcade drives along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House in Washington in 1957, on her first trip to the United States as Britain’s Queen.
Elizabeth and Philip with their three children – Prince Charles, right, Princess Anne, left, and Prince Andrew – at Balmoral in September 1960.
Troop review with West German President Heinrich Lübcke in May 1965.
Riding an elephant after being chased by a tiger, part of a royal tour of Nepal in February 1961.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the Berlin Wall during a visit to West Germany in May 1965.
With Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia at Tissesat Falls in February 1965.
Returning from a visit to Yorkshire in a photo taken during the filming of the 1969 documentary The Royal Family.
Elizabeth and Philip leaving Fort Cobell, Saskatchewan, during a visit to Canada in 1978.
Worked at the British Embassy in Kuwait in February 1979.
A tour of Nizwa Castle in Oman, February 1979.
Queen Elizabeth with British Prime Minister Edward Heath, left, President Richard Nixon and First Lady, Patricia Nixon, at Checkers, the prime minister’s official residence, in 1970.
At Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, in October 1982.
Ride on the grounds of Windsor Castle with President Ronald Reagan during his official visit to England in 1982.
Queen Elizabeth with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, left, President Ronald Reagan, and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Buckingham Palace in 1984.
At the mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor, in Xi’an, China in 1986.
With Prince William and Prince Harry at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor in 1987.
Visiting maternity patient Molly Mafunda and her 4-day-old baby, Caswell, at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1995.
With South African President Nelson Mandela at Buckingham Palace in July 1996.
Inu women shake hands while visiting Shichacho in central Labrador, Canada, in June 1997.
Watching the floral and other memorabilia tribute to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace in September 1997.
With pop group The Spice Girls at the Victoria Palace Theater in London in 1997.
Queen Elizabeth with Russian President Vladimir Putin on their way to Buckingham Palace in 2003.
Visiting the Royal Albert Hall in London to celebrate the end of restoration work in 2004.
The Queen received a scroll from Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum at London’s Southwark Cathedral, where she attended a funeral blessing for Mahomet Weyonomon, a Native American leader of the Mohegan tribe who died in 1736 and was buried in an unmarked grave on the grounds, in 2006.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Winfield House, the residence of the US ambassador in London, 2011.
A tree is planted in Dublin in 2011, as seen by Ireland’s President Mary McAleese, during the first visit of a British monarch since 1911.
sitting next to Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue; Angela Kelly, royal tailor; and Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, at the Richard Quinn fashion show in London in 2018.
Queen Elizabeth with Charles, Prince of Wales, center right, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, second right, at the formal opening of Parliament in the House of Lords in Westminster in 2019.
At the D-Day Memorial Celebration in Portsmouth, England, with President Donald Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump, in June 2019.
The royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in June 2019 during the annual Queen’s Birthday Parade.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden salute at Windsor Castle in 2021.
At the funeral of Prince Philip, who died at the age of 99, at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in 2021.
She drives a Range Rover during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle in 2021.
The Queen meets with staff at London’s Crossrail Project at Paddington Station in May.
The Queen with one of her dogs, a corgi named Candy, at Windsor Castle in February.
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