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The reign of Queen Elizabeth II: A timeline


On 8 September 2022, Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died at the age of 96, after reigning for 70 years. Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, following the death of her father, King George VI. As the monarch of the United Kingdom and 15 Commonwealth realms, she lived a life of service. As we remember and honour her 70 years on the throne, here are some key moments from the Queen’s long reign and life.


Birth of Princess Elizabeth of York on 21 April at 17 Bruton Street, London, her maternal grandparents’ house.


Birth of Princess Margaret of York on 21 August.


King George V dies.

Edward VIII abdicates the throne.


Coronation of King George VI at Westminster Abbey.

Princess Elizabeth, aged 11, becomes a Girl Guide.


A 13-year-old Elizabeth meets 18-year-old Prince Philip of Greece at the Royal Dartmouth naval college.

The Second World War begins and Britain declares war on Germany.


The London Blitz begins. Although the King and Queen stay in the city, Elizabeth and Margaret are evacuated to Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth’s first radio address to the nation.


Elizabeth carries out her first public engagement on her 16th birthday when she inspects the Grenadier Guards.


Elizabeth receives her first corgi as an 18th birthday present.


Princess Elizabeth joins the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), learning how to drive and maintain vehicles.

VE Day on 8 May.

VJ Day on 15 August.


Elizabeth’s first overseas tour, to South Africa.

Elizabeth and Philip’s engagement is announced by Buckingham Palace on 9 July.

Elizabeth and Philip marry on 20 November at Westminster. King George VI created Philip Mountbatten the Duke of Edinburgh the previous day. 


Birth of Prince Charles, later the Prince of Wales, on 14 November.


Birth of Princess Anne, later the Princess Royal, on 15 August.


Elizabeth and Philip depart for Kenya on 31 January.

King George VI died on 6 February and Elizabeth succeeds to the throne.

Funeral of King George VI takes place at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 15 February.

A proclamation issued on 7 April declaring the family’s dynastic surname will remain Windsor.


Coronation Day on 2 June at Westminster Abbey - the first televised coronation service.


The Queen and Prince Philip embark on a six-month tour of the Commonwealth.


Princess Margaret issues a statement confirming she will not marry Gp Capt Peter Townsend. It was a controversial relationship that was opposed by large sections of the establishment.

Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Anthony Eden.


The Suez Crisis.


Harold MacMillan named Prime Minister.

The Queen addresses the United Nations and opens the twenty-third Canadian parliament.

First televised Christmas broadcast.


Birth of Prince Andrew, later the Duke of York, on 19 February.

Princess Margaret marries photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones.


Alec Douglas-Home replaces Harold MacMillan as Prime Minister.


Birth of Prince Edward, later the Earl of Wessex, on 10 March.

Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson takes office.


The Queen visits West Germany, the first British monarch to do so since the First World War.


The Queen launches the Cunard cruise liner QE2


The Royal Family, a documentary with unprecedented access to the family’s daily life, aired.

Prince Charles is invested as Prince of Wales.


Edward Heath becomes Prime Minister.

The Queen attends her first Commonwealth Games.


The Queen travels to first CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) held outside Britain.


Princess Anne marries Captain Mark Phillips.


The Queen refuses to intervene in an Australian constitutional crisis when Prime Minister Gough Whitlam is dismissed by Governor General Sir John Kerr.


The Queen marks her Silver Jubilee.

Birth of the Queen’s first grandson, Peter Phillips.


Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, is assassinated by the IRA off the coast of Sligo in Ireland.

Margaret Thatcher is elected the country’s first female Prime Minister.


Prince Charles announces his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer on 24 February.

Charles and Diana marry on 29 July in St Paul’s Cathedral.


Falklands War.

Birth of Prince William on 21 June.

Michael Fagan breaks into the Queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace.


Birth of Prince Harry on 15 September.


Prince Andrew marries publishing executive Sarah Ferguson on 23 July.


Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by John Major.


First Gulf War.


Elizabeth R film aired.

Princess Anne and Mark Phillips divorce.

Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales and Andrew and Sarah, Duke and Duchess of York agree to separate.

Windsor Castle is partly destroyed by fire on 20 November.

The Queen gives a speech at Guildhall to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession. She refers to recent events as an ‘annus horribilis’.

Princess Anne marries Commander Timothy Laurence on 12 December.


Buckingham Palace State Rooms open to the public in April to help find the restoration of Windsor Castle. 


Fiftieth anniversaries of VE and VJ Day.


Andrew and Sarah divorce. The marriage is dissolved on 30 May 1996

Charles and Diana divorce. The marriage is dissolved on 28 August 1996.


Tony Blair becomes Prime Minister.

Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a car crash in Paris on 31 August.

Hong Kong reverts to China after 155 years of British rule.

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary.

Her Majesty’s yacht Britannia is decommissioned and the government decides against funding a replacement.


The Queen opens the National Assembly for Wales on 26 May.

Prince Edward marries Sophie Rhys-Jones on 19 June.

The Queen opens the Scottish Parliament on 1 July.


Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother celebrates her 100th birthday.


Princess Margaret dies on 9 February.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, dies on 30 March.

The Queen celebrates her Golden Jubilee.


Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker-Bowles in a civil ceremony at Windsor’s Guildhall. 


The Queen celebrates her 80th birthday.


Tony Blair resigns, Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister.

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

The Queen surpasses Queen Victoria to become the UK’s oldest reigning monarch on 22 December.


The Queen becomes a great-grandmother upon the birth of Savannah Phillips.

David Cameron becomes Prime Minister.

The Queen cancels a planned Christmas party at Buckingham Palace, deciding it would be inappropriate as Britons feel the effects of an economic crisis.


Prince William marries Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on 29 April.

Prince Philip celebrates his 90th birthday.

The Queen makes her first state visit to the Republic of Ireland, the first British monarch to do so since its independence in 1921.


The Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.

London hosts the 2012 Summer Olympics.


The Succession of the Crown Act 2013 receives royal assent, so that the eldest child inherits the throne regardless of gender.

Birth of Prince George of Cambridge on 22 July.


Scottish voters reject proposal by the Scottish National Party to leave the UK.


The Queen becomes the oldest serving monarch in the world.

Birth of Princess Charlotte of Cambridge on 2 May.

The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, wins the General Election.

Seventieth anniversaries of VE and VJ Day.

The Queen becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history on 9 September.


The Queen celebrates her 90th birthday.


Prince Philip, aged 96, retires from official royal duties as the Queen’s consort.

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrate their platinum wedding anniversary after 70 years of marriage on 20 November.


Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to a second son, Prince Louis, on 23 April.

Prince Harry marries Meghan Markkle at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on 19 May.


Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gives birth to a son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor on 6 May.

Following a scandal surrounding a friendship with Jeffrey Epstein and a subsequent controversial BBC Newsnight interview, the Queen gives Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, permission to step back from public duties for the foreseeable future. 


Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, announce they will step back from their roles in public life as senior members of the royal family. 

The Queen and Prince Philip move to Windsor Castle and public engagements are cancelled as the coronavirus pandemic hits the UK.

The Queen gives a rare televised address to the nation on 5 April, as an unprecedented lockdown is enforced due to coronavirus. 


Prince Philip, the longest-serving royal consort in history, dies peacefully at Windsor Castle, two months short of his 100th birthday on 9 April.

Funeral of Prince Philip at Windsor. The service is brought in line with Covid regulations.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, gives birth to a daughter, Lilibet on 4 June.


Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages and will not use the style HRH in any official capacity.

The Queen celebrates her platinum jubilee after a record 70 years on the throne. She makes a last-minute appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to bring a close to four days of festivities over an extended Bank Holiday weekend.

In a break from tradition on 6 September, the Queen appoints Liz Truss Prime Minister at Balmoral Castle, rather than Buckingham Palace, due to her ongoing mobility issues.

The Queen dies peacefully at Balmoral Castle on 8 September.

Adapted from Queen Elizabeth II: Pocket GIANTS by Victoria Arbiter

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