Mourning Queen Elizabeth II: A look into her celebrated 70-plus years at the helm of the UK

I was picking up a package from Post and Print when the student helping me looked up from his phone, face in shock and confusion, and said “Oh my goodness, the queen is dead.” I wouldn’t be surprised if I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news for the rest of my life, as I’m sure others will as well. Britain’s longest reigning monarch, iconic matriarch and female world leader; here is an approachable overview of key moments in Queen Elizabeth’s life in power. 

Born April 21, 1926, future King George VI’s first child, queendom wasn’t set in princess Elizabeth’s future from the beginning. When her uncle King Edward VIII, heir to the throne, resigned from his duties to marry an American socialite, her father became king, and Elizabeth became rightful heir at just 10 years old. 

After serving for her country during WWII, as a subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, Princess Elizabeth married Prince Phillip, in 1947. The two had met years previously when the royal family was touring the grounds of Britannia Royal Naval College, Prince Phillip an 18 year old cadet and Princess Elizabeth only 13. In 1948, not long after getting married, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip welcomed their first child, Prince Charles. 

While on a visit to Kenya, February of 1952, Princess Elizabeth’s father was found dead in his sleep, making her Queen overnight at only 25 years old. Amidst great social and political change following the second World War, Queen Elizabeth took the reins with immediate demands from her nation. 

On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was the first to ever be publicly broadcasted, with over 30 million people tuning in to the ceremony. 

In 1970, Queen Elizabeth took the first “walkabout” while traveling to Australia. Now a habitual practice for Royals, walking and waving to crowds in person was unheard of before Queen Elizabeth’s iconic reign. 

Queen Elizabeth proclaims 1992 as “annus horribilis,” Latin for “horrible year.” During this year, three of her four children got divorced, with messy opinions from the public muddying royal support, especially concerning Princess Diana. In the same year, a fire damaged rooms in Windsor Castle.

In February of 2022, months before her passing, Queen Elizabeth celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, symbolizing a distinguished 70 years on the throne.