Queen Elizabeth II at 90: A Look Back

Queen Elizabeth II marks her 90th birthday on Thursday as Britons and many throughout the world celebrate her long and dignified reign. She will celebrate again in June with national events to mark her official birthday.

Here are answers to some questions about the queen’s extraordinary life and times:



It may seem excessive, but the British monarch celebrates his or her birthday twice a year, once on the actual day (for Elizabeth, April 21), and once in early June, when the event can be marked with the gala Trooping the Color parade in central London. The June date is chosen in part because the famously fickle British weather just might produce a few sunny hours at that time of year. And the Buckingham Gardens are gloriously in bloom.



Elizabeth was a young princess during World War II, and her father King George VI was concerned for her safety as London came under the repeated German bombing raids known as The Blitz. She and her sister Princess Margaret were moved to Windsor Castle, 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of London for security reasons. She later persuaded her parents to let her serve in the Auxiliary Transport Service, where she learned how to drive and repair ambulances and trucks as part of the war effort. She was assigned number 230873 while in the service.



Elizabeth’s life was changed forever in 1936 when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated so he could marry his divorced lover Wallis Simpson. This made her father the king and Elizabeth heir to the throne. King George VI’s health failed, however, and he was too ill for a planned tour of the Commonwealth in 1952, so he sent Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, in his place. They were staying in a remote part of Kenya on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was told that the king had died. She automatically became queen upon her father’s death, although the official coronation did not take place for more than a year.



No, that’s just not done. The closest Elizabeth has come to exhibiting human frailty to her subjects was in 1992, when she made a rare admission that her life, so picture perfect on the outside, was marred by the marital woes of three of her four children. She didn’t complain in English, however, looking to Latin to proclaim it had been something of an “annus horribilus” — a horrible year that included a disastrous fire at her beloved Windsor Castle.



This would undoubtedly be the stormy days that followed Princess Diana’s sudden death in a car crash in September, 1997. The princess was tremendously popular, and many held the royal family responsible for her unpleasant divorce from Prince Charles. The queen was castigated in the press for not returning to London immediately after Diana’s death and for not flying the royal standard atop the palace at half-staff as a sign of respect. Thousands of mourners placed flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace, Diana’s residence, and many complained the queen was insensitive and out of touch.



You’d have to ask her. And she won’t tell.



The strong-willed and able-bodied queen has given no indication she plans to leave the throne, and has described her unique position as a “job for life.” Her own mother lived to be 101, and was generally in fine fettle in her final years. Still, it is possible Elizabeth would step down if she developed severe problems that made it impossible for her to carry out her role.


No. This is a constitutional monarchy, with rules of succession.



Below is a selection of photos from The Associated Press’ archive featuring Queen Elizabeth II through the years.

See these photos on APImages.com


Text from the AP news story, Queen Elizabeth II at 90: A look at highs, lows of her reign, by Gregory Katz


Follow AP photographers on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP/lists/ap-photographers


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49 thoughts on “Queen Elizabeth II at 90: A Look Back

  1. During the first official Royal Visit to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1951, HRH Princess Elizabeth and her husband HRH Prince Philip arrived in Amherst by train. Although they stopped for only ten minutes, local farmers were instructed to monitor their local cattle flocks for hours in order to keep them off the tracks. The Royals were greeted by 20,000 people, including 3000 children. You can see some photos of the 1951 Nova Scotia Royal Visit here: https://novascotia.ca/archives/Jubilee/results.asp?Search=1951


  2. A very informative article not just containing factual details rather pictorial representation for mass reader base. The Queen has many accomplishments to her credit. However , one that touched me the most is disclosing more than 50 years old government record of Alan Turing ; the inventor of Enigma saving over 14 million lives. Not many have the courage to accept their sins and ask for redemption. Contributions of a man who was forced to commit suicide because of government mandated hormonal therapy and assault.
    A big gratitude for disclosing the facts and trying to make up for the past by granting a royal pardon Her majesty herself.


  3. Extremely interesting! Having studied ‘The Kings Speech’ we are able to get an insight into the life of the royal family throughout the years. As a student it is great to read such interesting and educational blogs! My blog centres around my life and the struggles I face as a teenager trying to succeed in this world so if you would be interested please give my blog a read and leave some feedback, any constructive criticism would be truly appreciated!


  4. I remember celebrating her golden jubilee in 2002 ( I was in primary school). Did anyone else get a unique massive gold coin? The queen has so many achievements and she’s only 90 years young. I can’t wait to see what the future has for our Queen.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A living legend throughout history. The queen has seen so much and has been through so much. Not many people are still alive and have seen as much as her. From prime ministers, influential people, and trips across the world, the queen has seen so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. The oldest monarch ever eh? What an amazing achievement! Its not often that I write anything political what so ever but, this queen has served this country well and spent her entire life almost dedicated to her people. She has a lot of respect for her!

    Liked by 4 people

  7. She’s a legend. I can only imagine how great it is if she’s your grandmother, so many interesting stories to listen, you’ll throw that children’s story book! More strength and wisdom for the Queen! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Try as I may, I just cannot comprehend the kinds of minds that pay tribute, homage to such despicable people as “royalty.” No matter the title, king, queen, president, prince, princess, they are all the same; arrogant, egotistical, megalomaniacs!

    This particular monarch, a few years back, was complaining that she finds it difficult to live on two million dollars a year. Poor baby. God knows how many men, women and kids are on the streets in the UK, without food and a place to lay their heads.

    World-wide, there are about three and a half BILLION people without running water, food, sewage and a place to live. But that’s okay, socialism is evil. This begs the questions, which should be obvious: how is it that looking out for the indigent, the down-and-out, is wrong and, in some eyes, evil, but spending two million a year for the sustenance of such a female pig is the honorable and right thing to do?

    Then of course there is one other question that SHOULD command all our attention, all our contemplation: how is it possible to be ruled and yet be free? And, pray tell, why would ANYONE desire to be ruled by maggots who believe they have the right to rule?


    Liked by 5 people

  9. some wonderful images on this article. I was lucky enough to be at Windsor Castle yesterday when the Queen made her birthday walkabout. I was even more lucky to see her up close as she walked past right where I was standing amongst the crowds. She looked stunning in her spring green outfit. The perfect lady and a wonderful queen. we are tremendously lucky to have her as our Monarch. I wrote a blog about the day if you’re interested and I would very much like to add a link to this blog so that my readers can have a look if they so desire. Thank you. charming images

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Well, the monarchy, what exactly is it? An institution for what purpose, to provide a face for the stamps and bank notes or does the acting head of state for a 21st century nation have more profound duties? Is there a case for a head of state committed to protect rights and liberties, oversee the proper application of democracy and has that purpose has been served, can it be served in the future, with the current institution?

    I don’t have any intrinsic objection to monarchy, I just don’t see how, an uncontested and unassailable appointee, has mandate to fulfil any meaningful obligations. Politicians and politics represent the worst of any nation, they’re catalysts for meaningless division, they’re opportunities for gaspers and thieves, they’re institutions riven with favour and patronage.

    So are you happy, how much do think your vote counts when the agents of the state, make policy in extra national forums like the G8? Do you think there’s any consideration given to your well-being, your aspirations, the environment you live in, when decide to tear up that field, build that estate, close down that industry? I don’t think there is, I think the political class is remote from democracy, because they’re aligned with those they consider their equals. Those equals wouldn’t be people with votes, they would be banks, international institutions, allegiances across state borders. And what part do you think an effective heads of state should play in this circumstance?

    Liked by 6 people

  11. wonderful collection. I am Canadian and have always had a dream of traveling to Britain, specifically London. Bucket list for sure! I have an obsession with everything “royal”. The whole modern day monarchy just fascinates me sooo much!

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Though I’m not really in favour of monarchy (we’re in the 21st century!!) you can’t but be fascinated by Queen Elizabeth…. I really enjoyed reading this!

    Liked by 9 people

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