The passing of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8th, 2022 has shocked the world. As family members gather at her estate, the queen is being remembered for her remarkable legacy marked by social change and historical moments.
The Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II
In 1952, Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, reigning as a record-setting monarch. Here’s a look at the queen’s monumental moments.
1. At First, She Wasn’t Supposed to Be A Queen
Queen Elizabeth II had little expectation of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. At just 25-years-old, the queen was called to assume the throne. Her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, London was the first to be broadcast on live television. The coronation took place on June 2nd, 1953 with 27 million people in the U.K. viewing.
2. She Is the Longest Serving Monarch in British History
Holding the record as Britain’s longest reigning monarch, the queen proved to keep up with the changing times. Her versatility earned her enormous praise from around the world. She served even longer on the throne than her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, the second longest-reigning monarch, who reigned for 63 years. Queen Elizabeth II reached a milestone moment in 2022 with 70 years on the throne.
3. She Helped Modernize the Royal Family
In a historic step to modernization, in 2011 the Commonwealth nations overturned a rule stating that only first-born sons can inherit the British throne, which Harper’s Bazaar described as perhaps the queen’s “most historic achievement for Britain.” The change was heralded as a “majestic moment for gender equality” by The Washington Post, with female members of the British royal family granted the same rights as males to ascend to the British throne.
4. She Took a Historic Visit to Ireland
Regarded as a historic trip to Ireland, the queen was the first British monarch to visit in 100 years. She was widely applauded for the four-day trip that took place in 2011. The visit demonstrated peace and an improved relationship between the two countries. President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins returned the gesture by vising the U.K. in 2014.
5. She Touched the Hearts of Many with Her Speeches
On December 25th, 2020, the Queen gave one of the most powerful speeches of the year. Her Christmas broadcast touched the hearts of many separated from family and friends due to the pandemic.
“Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they’d really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand,” the queen said in a video. “If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.”
6. She was a Pivotal Figure in International Relations
Traveling the world several times, the queen met with numerous notable figures. She met with every president of the United States during her reign, except Lyndon B. Johnson, reports NBCNews. She began meeting presidents at just age 25, when she was still a princess.
7. Queen Elizabeth II Supported Hundreds Of Charities
With her well-known love for animals, the Queen took the time to support hundreds of organizations ranging from wildlife conservation to education and arts. She has done more for charity than any other monarch in history, according to theguardian.com. Queen Elizabeth II has supported hundreds of British charities to raise £1.4bn. In Britain, the monarch supports a total of 2, 415 charities in Britain and almost 3,000 worldwide.
Lead image credit: Queen Elizabeth II visits Holyrood Palace to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Photo by Corporal Nathan GM Tanuku, RLC. UK MOD © Crown Copyright 2022.