I'm not certain I really need to write and introduction to this as so many of my favorite moments speak for themselves. Though the Queen was not as visible as she has been previously (as her health and safety have come first, obviously) she still managed to have some of my favorite moments of the year. While I am hopeful we might see her Majesty with a bit more frequency in her 95th year (her birthday is on April 21st) every appearance this year was made more special by the infrequency of them. So here are my favorite moments from Her Majesty the Queen in 2020.
10. The Queen marking Remembrance Day
While Remembrance Day celebrations were quite different this year, The Queen, as always, was present. Having visited Westminster Abbey earlier in the week to mark the centenary of the burial of the unknown soldier, she joined other royals (and one of her ladies in waiting) on the balcony outside the cenotaph for a rather poignant day of remembrance. For many this year felt like a different type of war, and the Royal Family honored that during their commemorations, with the Queen leading the way.
9. Her Majesty with Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George
It seems almost impossible this adorable portrait with the Queen alongside her son, grandson and great-grandson was released this year but it was one of the first images of the Queen in the 2020's. Released at the beginning of January, taken by Ranald Mackechnie was used to help mark a new decade. It is similar to other portraits of the Queen and direct heirs that have been taken previously but it was still a fan favorite. Since the Queen became the heir presumptive under rather scandalous circumstances (due to the abdication of her uncle), it is a testament to Her Majesty to see the next three generations of the monarchy together and secure.
8. Joint engagement with Prince William
In one of only a handful of in person appearances this year, the Queen was joined by Prince William to open the new Energetics Analysis Centre. During the visit the pair saw a demonstration and learned about counterintelligence and counter terrorism tactics that the Defense Society and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. It was the first engagement the Queen attended during the brief period between lockdowns and bringing her grandson along was a delight for fans. Prince William and Prince Charles, along with their wives, were some of the most active members of the family during the year as they all regularly participated in virtual events and attended in-person when it was safe.
7. Princess Anne helps the Queen on Zoom
I must admit I remember very little about the actual contents of this zoom call but hearing Princess Anne trying to help her mother log onto zoom this year was a definite highlight. As so many with older parents can probably relate to, zoom was definitely an adjustment. Knowing that the Royal Family had some of the same struggles with everything going virtual as the rest of us was brilliant and brought a bit of much needed levity to an otherwise difficult year.
6. The Queen at the mini Trooping the Colour
While the larger Trooping the Colour parade was cancelled this year, a smaller socially-distanced Trooping was held at Windsor. The Day ended up being a busy one for the Queen as she held an investiture to knight Sir Captain Tom Moore before attending her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice's surprise wedding. She was seemingly very happy to be able to host a smaller parade in the Quadrangle in July and it was the first event she had attended in person since lockdown began.
5. Reuniting with the family at Windsor Castle
Her Majesty was able to see her family for a socially distanced reunion in December as the closing event of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Royal Train Tour. Family members in attendance included the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal. Many took those in attendance to be the future of the Royal Family as there have been questions about who would continue to represent the Queen after Prince Harry and Meghan stepped down in the beginning of the year.
4. Her Majesty's first virtual audience
This was a year of firsts for the Queen including her first virtual audience. She has since hosted a handful of dignitaries virtually between Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Audiences with the monarch are one of the Queens main governmental roles and most audiences were cancelled this year due to the pandemic. They have however found a solution as I suspect she will continue to host virtually until a vaccine is widely available in the United Kingdom.
3. The Queen's Christmas Address
The Christmas Address is always a favorite of mine but this year was especially poignant. Rather than a table of family photos she only had a photo of Prince Phillip (who celebrated his 99th birthday this year). She also took special care in acknowledging the challenges of the year and assuring the country that they were not alone. As she typically spends Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the entire family, she was among the hundreds of thousands who were unable to be with their family over the holidays.
2. Her Majesty's first zoom call
Just like her first virtual audience, the Queen held her first zoom call this year as well. She has subsequently spoken to members of the military, citizens of the Commonwealth and Volunteers from some of her patronages. Her Majesty was one of the last working royals to begin doing zoom calls and it was uncertain for a long while if she would adapt to the new virtual landscape or simply wait it out. As always, she chose to adapt and (with some assistance from family and courtiers) began carrying out engagements again during the summer months.
1. The Queens Covid-19 Speech
Definitely the highlight of the year for the Queen, Her Majesty gave a wonderful speech in the beginning of lockdown. In it she harkened back to the times of the blitz and the indestructible spirit of the United Kingdom, even in such difficult times. As her annual Christmas speeches are typically the only time she addresses the nation, her decision to do so now proved to help unify and lift the spirits of so many in what were truly depressing, hopeless and uncertain months for most of the world. She ended with an uplifting reminder that "We will all meet again"
I hope everyone has had a happy and healthy new year and wishing you all the best in 2021. xx