Queen’s life in pictures: Most memorable images of monarch through the decades

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The world is in mourning today after Buckingham Palace confirmed the death of Elizabeth II. She died surrounded by her loving family at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, which is said to be on of her favourite places. Her death marks the end of a momentous reign which saw her become the guiding light of the nation.

The Queen’s enduring and consistent service has spanned seven decades, seen 15 new prime ministers, and six major world conflicts including the Second World War.

She leaves behind her four devastated children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

As the world mourns the loss of the Queen, here is look back at her remarkable reign and life in pictures over nine incredible decades.

Princess Elizabeth was born on April 21, her full name being Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor.

She was born in Mayfair, London, the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

At 10-years-old, Elizabeth suddenly became the heir apparent to the British throne following her Uncle’s abdication when her father Albert became King George VI in 1936.

Elizabeth came to the throne after the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952, when she was just 25.

A young Elizabeth was crowned on June 2 1953 during her coronation at Westminster Abbey with her husband Prince Philip by her side.

The pair had already welcomed two children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

It was the first ever coronation to be televised and the first major event to be broadcast worldwide – in colour.

She became monarch at a time when Britain retained much of its empire. It was emerging from the ravages of the Second World War, with food rationing still in force and class and privilege still dominant in society.

In the years that followed, the Queen had two more children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Winston Churchill was the first prime minister who served during her reign, Joseph Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union, the Korean War was raging.

And now PM Liz Truss is the 15th premier of her record-breaking reign.

The Queen’s incredible 73-year marriage to Prince Philip, who died in 2021, saw Elizabeth transform from Princess to Queen, have four children and eight grandchildren.

When a then Princess Elizabeth’s father King George VI gave his blessing for the couple’s marriage in 1946, Prince Philip admitted he had “fallen in love completely and unreservedly”.

The prince’s undying love for the future monarch would lead him to sacrifice his military career after he vowed to act as the future monarch’s “eyes and ears” when the pair tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947.

Philip had hoped to enjoy a life overseas in high command for the Royal Navy before his royal duties got in the way.

But the duke went on to help his wife adapt the monarchy to the changing times of the post-Second World War era as the loss of empire and the decline of deference challenged the world’s most prominent royal family.

The Queen said goodbye to her beloved husband in April 2021, and poignant pictures showed the Queen sitting alone in Westminster Abbey for the duke’s funeral due to Covid restrictions.

Speaking on her first Christmas without her husband, the Queen paid tribute to her “irrepressible” husband of 73 years.

She said: “That mischievous, inquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.

“But life of course consists of final partings as well as first meetings.”

In 1977, the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years on the throne.

October 1986 saw Queen Elizabeth II become the first British monarch to visit China.

It was one of the most important tours she had ever undertaken, and was seen as a critical piece of diplomacy, coming soon after testing negotiations between the UK and Beijing.

The Queen marked her Golden Jubilee in 2002, with 50 years spent on the throne.

Waving from her gilded carriage, the Queen marked her Golden years with a weekend of celebrations in London.

But celebrations were marred by the loss of her beloved sister Margaret, who died from complications of a stroke, as well as the Queen Mother just over a month later, aged 101.

She would celebrate her Diamond Jubilee 10 years later, becoming only the second monarch to reach the milestone.

And by September 9 2015 she would go on to surpass the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become our longest-ruling monarch ever.

The 90-year-old chose not to celebrate the milestone and instead carried on with business as usual.

The Queen celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee – marking 65 years on the throne – in February 2017.

She chose to mark the milestone in quiet contemplation at her Sandringham estate where her father died 65 years before.

But a beautiful David Bailey portrait of the monarch was released to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the monarch’s accession to the throne.

The stunning image showed the Queen wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.

In 2016, the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday with a weekend of events.

She was joined by her family, including her great-grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte, for a traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony.

A brand new portrait of Queen Elizabeth was released by The Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the occasion of her 96th birthday earlier this year.

The Queen turned 96 on April 21 celebrated in Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate.

In the photo, the monarch was seen standing proudly in between two white horses and surrounded by blossoming Magnolia trees.

Just months later, the Queen marked her momentous Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark 70 years on the throne with a bank holiday weekend of celebrations.

Although, the Queen was not able to attend all the public engagements due to ongoing mobility issues, images of her on the balcony Buckingham Palace admiring the crowds gathered to see their Queen will go down in history.

The monarch looked overcome with emotion as she waved at her adoring fans.

The photograph above shows the Queen with one of her corgis. Queen has been fond of the corgis since her parents presented her with a pup named Dookie as a child.

She has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, continuing a tradition dating back to Queen Victoria.

Much like their owner, the dogs famously follow strict protocol, and are served dinner in order of seniority.

The Queen is also famous for having a passion for horses which runs in the Royal Family, with the monarch known for her love of horse racing.

She also enjoyed horse riding and was often spotted out and about on horseback wearing her trademark headscarf.



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