Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was not born to wear the crown. But destiny intervened.
Sunday will mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s birth. This unprecedented reign has made her a symbol for stability in an age when the United Kingdom was often uncertain.
The queen was a young, glamorous royal, wearing dazzling tiaras, from her youth to her current role as the nation’s grandmother. She has seen the decline of the British Empire, international terrorism rise, Brexit, and the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been a constant in a world of constant change — representing the U.K. abroad, commiserating with its failures and applauding its successes, and remaining above politics.
Hugo Vickers, royal historian, stated that Elizabeth should be honoured for her constancy, which is similar to the royal epithets of Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great.
Vickers stated that she has always believed Elizabeth the Steadfast should be her name. It’s an excellent way to describe her. She didn’t expect to be queen but she accepted the responsibility.
Elizabeth, 95, is the older daughter of King George V’s first son. She was expected to lead a life similar to a minor royal. A country house, dogs and horses were a good match for her — a happy, but not very successful, life.
However, everything changed a decade later, when Edward VIII, her uncle, abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcée. Elizabeth’s father was King George VI, and the young princess became the heir apparent.
George VI, whose struggle to overcome a speech disorder were depicted in the 2010 film “The King’s Speech,” was a hero to the nation for refusing to leave London when bombs fell in the first months of World War II.
Elizabeth followed in the footsteps of her father and joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (early 1945), becoming the first woman to join the armed forces as an active member. She dedicated her life to the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of states that grew from the British Empire, on her 21st Birthday.
In a broadcast radio address, she stated that “I declare before all of you all that my entire life, no matter how long or short, will be devoted to the service of your great imperial family to whom we all belong,”
The young princess, in 1952, embarked on a tour through the Commonwealth to replace her father who was ill. When she heard that her father had died, she was in a remote lodge in Kenya with Prince Philip.
After returning to London in mourning clothes, she embarked on the plane to start her reign as queen. Since then, she has ruled with crown and scepter for big events, but more often wearing a broad-brimmed cap and carrying a simple bag.
Over the past seven decades, the queen shared confidence with 14 prime ministers and has met 13 U.S. presidents.
She travels the mile from Buckingham Palace up to the House of Lords once a year for the official opening of Parliament. When world leaders call, she hosts state banquets where her diamonds sparkle under TV lights while presidents and prime minsters debate whether or not to bow or offer toasts.
It is the smaller events that make the queen feel connected to the public.
The garden parties honor soldiers, charity workers, long-serving school librarians, and crossing guards. Guests wear festive hats as they drink tea and try to spot the queen on the lawn at Buckingham Palace. Because she prefers bright colors, the honorees can see her from afar.
There is also the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial for those who died in conflicts around the globe, along with the many school openings, hospice visits, and tours of maternity units that fill her days.
The longest serving monarch of Britain, and the sovereign most Britons have ever known. He has been present since 1956’s Suez Crisis, when Egypt took the Suez Canal. This was a reminder of Britain’s decline in power, as well as the labor strife that characterized the 1980s and 2005 terror attacks in London.
She wore a black mask to the funeral of Prince Philip, which was held during the pandemic.
“She is not dependent on the electorate. Emily Nash (royal editor of HELLO!), said that she is not dependent on the success of her latest movie or hit. magazine. She’s just there. She does what she has to. She does her job without complaining or making personal dramas. People respect her for this.
There have been many controversies.
The early 1990s saw criticism rise due to reports about the queen’s wealth and concern over the cost of the monarchy. The queen accepted in 1992 that she would pay for the expenses of the majority of her family members and became the first monarch to have to pay income taxes since 1930.
Tensions flared once more in 1997, when Prince Charles’ ex-wife, Princess Diana, died. This fueled the anger of Diana’s many admirers.
The scandal caused by Prince Andrew’s sex abuse suit against the queen, the second son of the queen, and the fallout from Prince Harry and Meghan, two of the most beloved members in the royal family, is still causing controversy for the monarchy.
Kelly Beaver, CEO of Ipsos UK polling firm, stated that the queen has remained popular despite scandals. She has been following her popularity for many decades.
Beaver stated, “Participation because she is so synonymous… with the monarchy which is something that the British people are proud off,” Beaver added.
Tiwa Adebayo is a social media commentator, writer, and blogger who believes that younger people want more transparency — to see the royal family go beyond the “never complain, ever explain” approach that has defined the queen’s reign.
Sunday will be bittersweet for the queen as it marks both her long reign, and the 70th anniversary her father’s passing.
Vickers stated that she believed that one of her philosophies was that she wanted to be a good daughter to her father, and fulfill all his wishes for her. “And, you’re sure, assuming there is an afterlife and they meet again. My goodness, he’ll be able to say thank you for that.”