Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth!
Her Majesty the Queen was born in 1926, the first daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York who later became King George VI and The Queen Mum. Having celebrated sixty eight of her ninety three birthdays as Queen, there are certain traditions for her birthday that have come to be expected including a gun salute, and Trooping the Colour parade. Unfortunately these events have been cancelled this year amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have revealed that the family has stayed in touch via video chat and FaceTime so while celebrations might be different this year, the family will likely still gather to celebrate the Queen.
Despite the departure from previous years festivities, the Queens 94th birthday is still a momentous occasion. To celebrate here are some of my favorite moments from the Queens ninety four years.
1. The Queen with her heirs
Fans have now been treated to a few photos of the Monarch with the future monarchs, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George in exclusive portraits. However, it is always exciting when the future of the British Monarchy are gathered as having three generations prepared to take the throne would have seemed impossible when the Queen was growing up.
Princess Elizabeth was never expected to become Queen as it was anticipated that her Uncle would assume the throne. Quite famously, however, her uncle opted to abdicate in favor of marrying a divorcee. Therefore the Queens father ascended to the throne and she became heir presumptive.
Over her lifetime the Queen has worked tirelessly to bring security to the monarchy and has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The Firm is not immune to drama or scandals but these portraits have painted a very clear image; the monarchy is safe and it is stable. The Queen has seen that the monarchy will last long beyond her reign because of her steady, guiding hand and her ability to remain above the fray.
2. Queen Elizabeth’s Opening of the 2012 London Olympic Games
The Queen showed off her great sense of humor during the 2012 Olympic Games in London when she agreed to do a bit with Daniel Craig who was playing James Bond at the time. The sketch featured some of the Queens Corgis as well as an inside look at Buckingham Palace. The clip ends with the Queens body double jumping from a helicopter before the Queen arrives.
You can watch the full clip here.
3. Queen Elizabeth with her Great-Grandchildren
For her 90th birthday a portrait was released of the Queen with two of her grandchildren (Lady Louise and James Viscount Severn) and her five great-grandchildren. In the four years since this photo she has welcomed three more great grand-children (Prince Louis, Lena Tindall and Archie Windsor).
The Duchess of Cambridge revealed that Prince George calls his great grandmother, Gan-Gan and that she leaves little presents for them whenever they come to visit. While the portrait is still formal, it also shows Queen Elizabeth in a role we only rarely get to see, as a grandmother and matriarch of a tight knit and loving family.
4. Estimate wins the Gold Cup
The Queen is known for her British stiff upper lip and her ability to keep calm and carry on, no matter the circumstance. Therefore, it is incredibly rare to see a unbridled excitement from her as we did when her horse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2013. You can watch the entire clip here.
5. Queen Elizabeth II Coronation
Her Majesty The Queen was only 25 when she became the third ever female British Monarch to rule in her own right. Her coronation was the first (and last) to be broadcast via television and allowed the public into a spectacle that had previously been reserved only for nobility and aristocracy. She was the first Queen to have her husband by her side for the momentous event as Queen Elizabeth I never married and Queen Victoria did not marry her husband until three years after ascending to the throne.
The day was full of historical firsts and while there are not fewer people who can recall the day first hand, it is clear that it was an event that will never be duplicated.
6. The Queens Colourful Wardrobe
It would be impossible to make a list of the best of Her Majesty the Queen and not include her well known colourful wardrobe. It seems that there is not a colour that the Queen has not worn and looked spectacular in. Known for her sensible silhouettes and ever appropriate attire, she embodies a traditional style with bright splashes, supportive footwear and matching brooches.
It is believed she selects such bright colors in order for the large crowds that gather to meet her can see her better from a farther distance. The Queens wardrobe has been written about extensively by her own dresser as well as admirers of her style. The Rainbow Queen, The Other Side of the Coin and Dressing the Queen have all chronicled Her Majesty's timeless and classic style.
7. Princess Elizabeth Helps the War Effort
Even as a young Princess, the future Queen was never content to sit on her hands. Like her father before her, actions were much more important to a young Elizabeth than words. Following her eighteenth birthday, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Services where she trained as a driver and mechanic.
She was made an honorary junior commander after five months of service, the position was the female equivalent to that of a captain at the time. In 2020 she is the only remaining head of state to have served in any capacity during World War II.
8. The Queens 14 Prime Ministers
Since becoming Queen in 1952, Her Majesty has had 14 Prime Ministers. As Sovereign the Queen invites each elected Prime Minister to form a government in her name and the PM's partake in weekly meetings in order to keep the monarch up-to-date on current happenings in Government.
As a massive history fan, there are few occasions where one person interacts with and partakes in as many historical events as the Queen has. It is easiest to see how much the Queen has lived through when looking at all of the PM's that she has invited to form a government.
Not only has Queen Elizabeth seen a large number of Prime Ministers during her reign but several of the most famous PM's in history have worked with her Majesty including Sir Winston Churchill who saw Great Britain through World War II and Margaret Thatcher, who was the first female Prime Minister.
Other Prime Ministers who have served during her reign include Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson (who served twice; from 1964-1970 and again from 1974-1976), Edward Heath, James Callaghan, John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and the current prime minister, Boris Johnson.
9. Queen Elizabeth as a Wedding Guest
Perhaps the only person who can outshine the Bride at a wedding simply by being there, Her Majesty has had to attend dozens of the most publicized weddings over the last nine decades. She has perfected the role of wedding guests through her children's and now grandchildren's enviable weddings.
Family events like this might be stressful for some, but it is where the Queen can often seem the most at ease. She has always been a dedicated and proud monarch but during family weddings it becomes clear she is also a dedicated and proud mother and grandmother.
Top (left to right): Princess Eugenie & Jack Brooksbank (12th October 2018), Princess Anne and Mark Phillips (14th November 1973), Zara Phillips & Mike Tindall (30th July 2011), Prince William & Catherine Middleton (29th April 2011)
Middle (left to Right): Prince Charles & Camilla Shand (9th April 2005), Lady Gabriella Windsor & Thomas Kingston (18th May 2019)
Bottom: Prince Edward & Sophie Rhys-Jones (19th June 1999), Prince Andrew & Sarah Ferguson (23rd July 1986), Prince Harry & Meghan Markle (May 19th 2018), Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (29th July 1981), Peter Phillips & Autumn Kelly (17th May 2008)
10. The Queen and her Corgis
The Queens love of animals is well documented, However, it is her corgis that she is perhaps best known for. Since receiving her first corgi, Dookie, in 1933 when she was seven years old. Susan was gifted to the Queen on her 18th birthday and became perhaps the best known Corgi as most of the Queens dogs were descended from her.
The Queen has had several other dogs including cocker spaniels and dorgis (Dachshund and corgi cross-breeds) and her love of horses is also well known. However, she is best known for her corgis and they have been included in several pieces of work on the Queens life as well as being the subject of a 2019 animated film, The Queens Corgi.