Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: A 70 Year Reign

• Written by Kyle

After an illustrious and record-breaking reign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96. In memory of her life and service, LifeConnect24 would like to look back and commemorate her many achievements over the years.

Birth and Childhood

It was April 21st, 1926, when Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born. Hers was a caesarean section birth, which took place at 17 Burton Street in Mayfair; this home belonged to her maternal grandfather.

Princess Elizabeth was born to her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York – and later King George VI – and her mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, after whom she was named. Her baptism took place on the 29th of May in a private chapel at Buckingham Palace.

It was in her early life that Elizabeth first gained the nickname of “Lilibet”. This was how she first referred to herself, and it was a moniker her family quickly adopted. Her grandfather, King George V, was greatly fond of her, and she of him. She is said to have referred to him as “Grandpa England”. In 1929, when George V fell seriously ill, regular visits from Princess Elizabeth were credited as aiding his recovery.

In 1930, Elizabeth gained a sibling: Princess Margaret. She would be Elizabeth’s only sibling. The two were home educated, with lessons focusing predominantly on history, language, literature, and music. Their education was supervised by their mother alongside their governess, Marion Crawford.

Abdication Crisis

1936 was marked by an event in young Elizabeth’s life that altered her destiny forever. Her grandfather, King George V, passed away and her uncle took the throne. However, Edward VIII would not remain on the throne for more than a year before he abdicated.

The catalyst of this crisis was Edward’s intention to marry a divorced American socialite named Wallis Simpson. Due to laws at the time, as well as social and moral attitudes, there was outrage at the idea. Simpson had divorced one husband and was in the process of divorcing a second. Many believed Simpson was interested in Edward purely for his money and power.

Ultimately, Edward VIII gave up the throne – and nulled the claim of any children he may have – so that he could marry Wallis Simpson. As heir apparent, Prince Albert took the throne, becoming King George VI. As he had no male children, Elizabeth became first in line for the throne.

Had George VI gone on to have a son, Elizabeth would have become second in line for the throne again. However, as this never happened, Elizabeth became heir.

Second World War

Elizabeth was thirteen when the Second World War broke out. It was proposed that Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to Canada, but the Queen refused. She was staying with the King, and the children would stay with her. Instead, they moved to Balmoral Castle in Scotland until Christmas 1939. After this they moved to Sandringham House in Norfolk, before living in Windsor for the remainder of the war.

In 1940, Princess Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC’s Children’s Hour. The broadcast was targeted predominantly at children who had been evacuated from the cities.

She would later go on to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service – the women’s branch of the armed forces – training as a driver and mechanic. After five months she was named an honorary junior commander, which was a rank equivalent to captain. It is said that she retained her training and mechanical knowhow even into her later life, though she retired from driving in 2019.

When the war ended, Princess Elizabeth, accompanied by Margaret, joined the VE Day celebrations anonymously. Years later, the Queen described the experience:

“I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, and all of us were swept along by tides of happiness and relief.”

Marriage to Prince Philip

Perhaps the most prominent figure in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s life was Prince Philip. The couple were married for seventy-three years before he sadly passed away in 2021.

Elizabeth first met Philip in 1934. They were attending the wedding of Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, to Prince George, Duke of Kent – Elizabeth’s uncle. Their meeting was brief but appeared to make an impression on Princess Elizabeth. They met again in 1937, and a third time in 1939. After this third encounter, it is said that Elizabeth had fallen in love with him. They began exchanging letters that year.

Their courtship continued until 1946, when Philip asked King George VI’s permission to propose to Elizabeth. The proposal was approved on the condition that any announcement of their engagement be delayed until Elizabeth was 21. This was only a year away, so the pair were engaged in secret. The announcement was ultimately made on 9th July 1947.

Elizabeth and Philip were married on November 20th, 1947, at Westminster Abbey. HM the Queen was the tenth member of the royal family to be married there. It was officiated by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and was broadcast by radio to over 200 million people.

Before their wedding, Philip renounced his titles – Prince of Denmark and Greece – and converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism. He also adopted the surname of Mountbatten, taking his mother’s British name. The day before the wedding, King George VI granted Philip the title of “Royal Highness”, and on the morning on November 20th he was invested as Duke of Edinburgh. Upon their marriage, Elizabeth became Duchess of Edinburgh.

Elizabeth and Philip went on to honeymoon at Balmoral.


HM the Queen had four children, two of whom were born prior to her coronation. These two are Prince Charles – born in 1948 – and Princess Anne – born in 1950.

His Majesty King Charles III succeeds Her Majesty to the throne of the United Kingdom. His life has been one of much scrutiny, including his marriage to – and subsequent divorce from – Lady Diana Spencer. Together they had two sons, HM the Queen’s grandsons, Princes William and Harry. In 2005, HM King Charles III married Camilla Parker-Bowles, who is now Queen Consort.

Princess Anne was originally born third in line for the throne. She is now, however, 16th in the line of succession. At the age of 25, Anne became an Olympian, competing in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Unfortunately, she did not win a medal. She did, however, go on to compete is equestrian sports elsewhere. Princess Anne – known today as the Princess Royal – had two children with her first husband: Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips. Her second husband is Sir Timothy Laurence.

Prince Andrew is the third child of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and was born at Buckingham Palace in 1960. He was the first child born to a reigning monarch for 103 years. He was named Duke of York in 1986, when he married Sarah Ferguson. They separated, however, two years later.

The fourth and final child is Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, who was born in 1964. He married Sophie Rhys-Jones in 1999, and the couple have had two children. The Earl of Wessex is known for his charitable contributions and has took over as president of the Royal Windsor Horse Show after the passing of his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on June 2nd, 1953, in a televised event at Westminster Abbey. The coronation took place over a year after the passing of her father, King George VI on February 6th, 1952. This was in keeping with the custom of mourning and to allow time for preparations to be made.

The coronation service lasted almost three hours and was split into six parts. These were the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture – at which point Elizabeth was crowned – the enthronement, and the homage. In total, there were 8,251 guests at the coronation ceremony; Prince Charles was the only of Elizabeth’s children to witness the event in person.

It was the first coronation to be televised in full. 27 million people watched on television, many of whom had never watched an event on television before. A further 11 million people listened on the radio.

Following the coronation, Queen Elizabeth II returned to Buckingham Palace along a 7.2km route. This was so as many people in London as possible could lay eyes upon the procession. It took two hours to complete.

The Commonwealth

As Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II was also Head of the Commonwealth. This led to a lifetime of travel around the world, making hundreds of state visits to other countries. She also performed many tours of the Commonwealth, visiting every member state at least once except for Cameroon and Rwanda.

Under Elizabeth II, the process of decolonisation in Africa and the Caribbean was accelerated. More than 20 countries gained independence from Britain throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

In 2018, it was announced that His Majesty King Charles III would succeed her as Head of the Commonwealth.

Loss of Prince Philip

2021 was marked by the tragic loss of Prince Philip. They had been married for 73 years at the time of his passing. She was at his side when he died but was forced to sit alone at his funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions. In March of 2022, she attended a thanksgiving service for Philip, accompanied by her children.

Throughout their marriage, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II referred to Philip as her strength and her joy. Though she had struggled with the occasional health problem before his passing, the time since was marked by cancelled appearances and health scares. In February of 2022, Queen Elizabeth II was diagnosed with Covid-19, which she remarked as leaving her “very tired and exhausted”. In May 2022, she did not attend the State Opening of Parliament for the first time in 59 years.

A Long and Storied Reign

Queen Elizabeth II officially became the longest-lived British monarch in 2007, when she surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. In 2015, she achieved two more records, becoming the longest-reigning British monarch and longest-reigning female head of state in the world. In 2022 the nation and the world celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70 years of service to the people.

Before her death, she had also achieved the records of longest-serving current head of state in 2016 and oldest current head of state in 2017. Hers was a memorable reign characterised by her professionalism and compassion, as well as her support for numerous charities.

Her death on 8th September has seen HM King Charles III ascend to the throne. The date of his coronation has not yet been set, but will likely take place by Autumn 2023.

Tributes from Across the World

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II touched the hearts of many around the world and will be remembered fondly for years to come. Tributes have flooded in from world leaders. Here are some of the sentiments expressed by world leaders and celebrities.

“She charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom.”

– Joe Biden, President of the USA

“I’m having trouble believing my last sit-down with her was my last. She was one of my favourite people in the world.”

– Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“She was a towering figure among the European monarchs and great inspiration to us all.”

– Queen Margrethe II of Denmark

“The death of the queen, who led Britain through turbulent times in the world, is a great loss not only for the British people but also the international community.”

– Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan

“A reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change.”

– António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations

“The Queen was a great friend of Africa and Africa showed her affection in return.”

– Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon


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