Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are front and center in 2020. The world’s longest-reigning living monarch is 94, while her husband is 99.
Her Majesty has reigned since she was 25 years old after her father’s death, King George VI. Thus, from February 6, 1952, until today (68 years), she’s lived up to her promise made earlier on her 21st birthday in 1947.
Princess Elizabeth made the promise via radio while on a tour of South Africa with her family. There, she laid out her vision of creating a happier world that would be an influence for good.
“If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage, and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this ancient commonwealth, which we all love so dearly, an even grander thing – more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence for good in the world – than it has been in the greatest days of our forefathers.”
Thanks to the “the inventions of science,” the Princess could make the “solemn act of dedication with a whole Empire listening.”
Then, she dedicated her life forever to the service of the Commonwealth.
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,” said then-Princess Elizabeth.
See the moment from British Pathé:
A Royal Wedding Broadcast Worldwide
Just a few months later, in November, the Royal Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was the first of its kind to be broadcast live worldwide. Some two hundred million people listened at home on six continents and seven seas.
On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth became the 10th member of the Royal Family to marry at Westminster Abbey. She was 21 years old.
Of note, Princess Elizabeth had to use clothing ration coupons to pay for her elaborate wedding dress. At the time, there were rationing measures after World War II. Hundreds of people sent The Princess their coupons, but they were returned since it would be have been illegal to use them.
See the day of the wedding from British Movietone:
Adapting to New Technology at Age 94
Today, Queen Elizabeth is still breaking new ground with the latest technology, taking part in her first public video conference call in June 2020. Princess Anne coached her mother, the Queen, through the call, a relatable moment for many of us today.
Afterward, a royal biographer claimed Her Majesty might never return to duties in person.
“Interesting listening to all your tales and stories. I’m very impressed by what you have achieved already. I’m very glad to have been able to join you today,” the Queen told the volunteers.
See the interaction from Access:
On Wearing a Crown
Several years ago, Queen Elizabeth described what it’s like to wear the Imperial State Crown in a BBC television documentary.
She noted that the diamond-encrusted crown was considerably smaller in height than when her father, George VI, wore it before her.
“It was very unwieldy. Fortunately, my father and I have about the same shaped head. But, once you put it on, it stays; it just remains itself. You can’t look down to read the speech; you have to take the speech up because if you did, your neck would break. It would fall off. So, there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise, they’re quite important things,” she said with a big smile.
See the Queen discuss the Imperial State Crown from BBC News:
On Climate Change with Sir David Attenborough
In 2018, The Queen shared a few moments with fellow nonagenarian and conservationist, Sir David Attenborough.
The iconic pair discussed climate change and her own mortality for an important documentary, “The Queen’s Green Planet.” As part of a new initiative, a vast network of forests across the Commonwealth was planted in The Queen’s name. She hoped it could contribute to the battle against climate change.
Like her great-great-grandmother Victoria, Queen Elizabeth has planted many family trees in the gardens at Buckingham Palace.
In 2019, The Queen awarded Attenborough the Chatham House Prize for his role in preserving the environment.
“Sir David, this award recognises your many talents and one can’t help but feel that, for those of us of a certain generation, we can take great pleasure in proving age is no barrier to being a positive influence.
Your ability to communicate the beauty and vulnerability of our natural environment remains unequalled as you – and your team – have engaged and enthused many people, young and old, to appreciate and preserve our world’s oceans. For that we should all be thankful.”
See the funny moments in the Buckingham Palace gardens from iTV below:
A Funny Moment with Prince Harry and the Obamas
In 2016, Queen Elizabeth created a stir on the Kensington Palace Twitter account.
Barack and Michelle Obama took part in a cheeky moment with the Queen and her grandson, Prince Harry. The funny appearance was to support the Invictus Games for injured service members in Florida that year.
The moment of humor showed another side of her relationship with Harry. Today, she’s still supportive of Harry and Meghan Markle, though they have stepped down from official roles in the royal family.
“Hey, Prince Harry. Remember when you told us to bring it at the Invictus Games?” said Michelle.
“Careful what you wish for,” said Barack.
“Boom,” said a man behind the Obamas dressed in military finery.
“Boom. Really? Please,” said The Queen.
See the funny moment from BBC News:
A Controversial Promise to ‘Obey’
When the future Queen made her wedding vows, it set off some controversy. The Princess vowed “to love, to cherish, and to obey” Philip. Thus, many people thought she should make no such promise to anybody as the future monarch.
However, Queen Elizabeth chose to follow the traditional wedding vows as would any other wife. The Netflix series, “The Crown,” featured this pivotal moment.
After a Remarkable 50 Years
Fifty years later, in 1997, the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary, and the Queen gave a speech in celebration. Looking back at the incredible changes, she reflected on how events and the “mass-media culture” transformed their lives.
“What a remarkable fifty years they have been: for the world, for the Commonwealth, and for Britain. Think what we would have missed if we had never heard the Beatles or seen Margot Fonteyn dance: never have watched television, used a mobile telephone or surfed the Net (or, to be honest, listened to other people talking about surfing the Net).
We would never have heard someone speak from the Moon: never have watched England win the World Cup or Red Rum three Grand Nationals. We would never have heard that Everest had been scaled, DNA unraveled, the Channel tunnel built, hip replacements become commonplace. Above all, speaking personally, we would never have known the joys of having children and grandchildren.”
The 73rd Wedding Anniversary
This year, 2020, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philp celebrated 73 years of marriage, releasing an official photograph. Sitting together, the royal couple looked at a card created by their great-grandchildren.
The royal couple observed England’s second national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, staying together at Windsor Castle. We wish them well as we look back on 73 amazing years.
A look back at 73 years from The Telegraph below:
Featured image: Screenshot via YouTube