Queen Elizabeth II turned 96 on Thursday. These are some of the key moments in her life.
– 1926: royal birth –
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born at 2:40 a.m. on April 21, 1926, in Mayfair, central London. She is the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who will become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
– 1940: Move to Windsor –
As Nazi Germany bombs the British capital, Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, move to Windsor Castle, west of London, for their safety.
During World War II, she trains as a military auto mechanic.
– 1947: Marriage and family –
Princess Elizabeth marries Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey.
Their first child, Prince Charles, is born in 1948. A daughter, Anne, arrives in 1950, followed by Andrew in 1960 and Edward in 1964.
– 1952: From princess to queen –
Princess Elizabeth, then 25 years old, visits Kenya with Philip when her father dies at the age of 56 on February 6, 1952.
She cuts the trip short and rushes back to Britain.
– 1953: The Coronation –
She is crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, in front of 8,500 assembled guests.
The ceremony is seen around the world and causes an increase in television sales.
– 1977: Silver Anniversary –
The Queen reaffirms the vow of lifelong service to Great Britain and the Commonwealth that she made in a 21-year-old speech in 1947.
He tours the country and the Commonwealth. Celebratory street parties illuminate the economic pessimism of industrial decline and strikes at home.
– 1992: ´Annus horribilis´ –
Prince Charles separates from Princess Diana and Andrew separates from his wife, Sarah.
The queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, is divorcing her husband, Mark Phillips. Windsor Castle is also seriously damaged by fire.
The queen calls 12 months her “annus horribilis”.
– 1997: Death of Diana –
Diana’s death in a car accident on August 31, 1997 shakes the royal family to the core, prompting rare criticism of the queen for continuing to stay at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.
He eventually returns to Buckingham Palace, where the Union Jack is lowered to half-staff, and pays a televised tribute to Diana, which helps defuse public anger.
– 2002: Golden Jubilee –
The celebrations for the queen’s 50 years on the throne come in the same year as the death of her own mother and her younger sister, Margaret, and show public support for the monarchy.
Large crowds gather on The Mall in central London to watch Queen guitarist Brian May play the national anthem from the roof of Buckingham Palace before a star-studded pop concert.
– 2011: State visit to Ireland –
The Queen’s high-profile visit to Ireland is the first by a British monarch since the Republic of Ireland gained independence in 1922.
A speech in Irish, as well as other symbolic gestures, help drive reconciliation and cement the peace process in Northern Ireland after years of conflict over British rule.
– 2012: Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee –
The queen and other royals visit every region of Britain to mark 60 years on the throne. Beacons are lit across the country and a river parade is held in London.
A surprise cameo appearance by the monarch alongside James Bond actor Daniel Craig is a hit at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.
– 2021: Covid, Felipe, health fears –
The coronavirus pandemic forces the elderly queen to isolate herself in Windsor, from where she makes public appearances by videoconference.
Prince Philip dies aged 99 in April 2021, while fears for the queen’s health are rising later that year after she spends a night in hospital and is forced to reduce her duties.
– 2022: Platinum Jubilee –
On February 6, she becomes the first monarch in British history to rule for 70 years. Two weeks later, she tests positive for Covid-19 but with only “mild” symptoms before returning to work in March.