The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Li Qian
Her role as monarch ended as the most popular member of the royal family but it was not always smooth sailing as she oversaw the decline of Empire and the death of Princess Diana.
Li Qian
The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Tributes to the Queen on the screen at Piccadilly Circus in London

It felt like the curtain was coming down on the world as we know it when Queen Elizabeth II – Britain's longest-serving monarch – died today at the age of 96.

It has been such a long journey since she took the throne in 1952. And though she was thrust into the role as queen aged only 25, she buckled down to the mighty task.

During her 70 years on the throne, she was solidly committed to her duty, as her Accession Day message for her Platinum Jubilee shows: "As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service."

Hence, she reigned as a beloved figure.

Over the past 10 years of tracking, the Queen has consistently been the most popular member of the royal family, according to YouGov, a London-based international research data and analytics group.

YouGov royal favorability data published on her platinum jubilee showed that eight in 10 people (81%) held a positive opinion of the Queen, versus 12 percent who saw her negatively, giving the monarch a net score of +69.

Notably, she held a positive net favorability across all age groups, including the youngest adults who are considered as the least likely to want the UK to remain a monarchy.

Let's check the keywords in her life to have a deeper look at her.

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen Elizabeth II posed on her Coronation day in London on June 2, 1953.

The odds of becoming queen

From the very beginning, no one thought she would ever be a queen.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926, as the first child of the Duke of York and the third in line to the throne.

The turning point of her life took place in 1936 when her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated because of his marriage to an American divorcée. Her father became king, as George VI, and destined her to be his successor as queen.

King George died of lung cancer on February 6, 1952, when the young princess was on a royal visit to Kenya.

It was reported that the new monarch didn't show her feelings in front of the African crowds but she couldn't help bursting into tears on the return flight.

Upon arrival in London, she appeared as a woman meant to be a queen.

"By the sudden death of my dear father, I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty," she said after her meeting with the succession council.

"My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than I shall always work as my father did throughout his reign, to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over."

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Far above: Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace,on her Coronation day on June 2, 1953 in London. Above: The Queen watched a special flypast as part of her platinum jubilee celebrations in London on June 2, 2022.

History witness

The Queen was born at a time when Britain was still a dominant force in the world, but "the empire on which the sun never sets" started to collapse around the time she became monarch, losing control of colonies and becoming enmeshed in financial crisis. She pieced the crumbling Britain back together by making the Commonwealth a priority.

In decades, she witnessed massive political and social vicissitudes at home and abroad, from World War II and the Cold War to the Afghanistan War.

Fifteen prime ministers had served under Queen Elizabeth during her 70 years on the throne, from Winston Churchill to Margaret Thatcher to Liz Truss, the latter sworn in by the Queen only two days before her death.

"She has managed to modernize and evolve the monarchy like no other," her grandson Prince William said in a 2012 documentary.

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

(From left) Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, fiance Lady Diana Spencer (Princess Di) on March 27, 1981

Princess Diana

Diana might be the name that the Queen could never steer clear of.

In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles, the Queen's eldest son. Nearly 750 million television viewers across the world witnessed the fairytale wedding of the 20-year-old young beauty. At that time, their romance was the envy of the world, and no one expected it would end in tragedy.

Lady Di's activism and glamor earned her global popularity but didn't win Charles' heart. The two separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

In an interview with the BBC, Diana said Charles restarted his affair with his old fame Camilla Parker Bowles just five years after their marriage. Here, she made a famous statement: "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Prince Charles with his new bride, the former Lady Diana Spencer. They were posing on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the wedding.

In 1997, Diana died in a car accident in Paris when she was being pursued by the paparazzi. The Queen maintained her silence in the aftermath of Di's death, leaving her wide open to accusations of heartlessness. Arguably, it was one of very few occasions when the Queen's popularity declined.

In fact, the Queen was at Balmoral, where she herself died, after Diana's passing and broke protocol to fly the Union Jack flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace on the day of Diana's funeral.

Five days after Diana's passing, the monarch spoke to the nation.

"It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger ― and concern for those who remain. We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart," she said.

"No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her."

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Rainbow style of fashion of Queen Elizabeth II

Fashion icon

It's widely believed that Queen Elizabeth II share different personalities with Princess Diana – the former as silent and traditional and the latter as modern and outspoken. But they shared at least one thing in common: Both were fashion icons.

It is said that the Queen rarely wore the same outfit twice in front of the public during her 70-year reign. This means she would have owned tens of thousands of outfits.

Also, she was known for a rainbow style of fashion as she tended to wear one color, a particularly bright color, from top to toe. There were so many examples.

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip the Duke of Edinburgh on the Great Wall of China during a royal visit in October 1986

She wore a pink dress with a jacket and hat for a walkabout during her Silver Jubilee in 1977, a skirt suit in purple during her visit to the Great Wall of China in the late 1980s and a light shade of yellow for Prince William's wedding.

In celebration of he 90th birthday, she opened her closet doors and showcased 150 of her outfits to the public, including her lace christening gown, wedding and coronation dresses. It was the biggest collection of the monarch's fashion ever put on public display.

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth ll arrived at Aberdeen Airport with her corgis to start her holiday in Balmoral, Scotland, in 1974.


All through her life, the Queen owned more than 30 corgi dogs.

She was first introduced to the breed at the age of 7, and was given her first corgi, Susan, at the age of 18 as a birthday gift. Susan was more than just a pet. She was like a family member. Susan witnessed the Queen's wedding and honeymoon, and accompanied her through her father's death and her path to become a queen.

When Susan died in 1959 at the age of 15, the queen designed the headstone for her grave, which read: "The faithful companion of the Queen." Though Susan's gone, her descendants were still there to do service with the Queen. They often traveled with her and accompanied her to meet official guests.

It is said that the corgis had their own room at Buckingham Palace dubbed the "Corgi Room." They had footmen to look after them and chefs to prepare their food.

In 2015, the queen made up her mind to stop raising new corgi puppies. In 2018, Willow, a 14th and the last-generation descendant of Susan, was put down after suffering from cancer.

The 70-year reign of beloved Queen Elizabeth II

Corgi dogs and their owners take part in a corgi dog parade organized by the UK Corgi Club and Great Corgi Club of Britain, as part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations in London, Britain, on June 3, 2022.

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