Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne of Great Britain on Feb. 6, 1952, upon the death of her father King George VI. Sixty years later, Queen Elizabeth has become the only second monarch after Queen Victoria to celebrate diamond jubilee of her reign.
Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth was not expected to become queen, for she was third in line of succession after her father and his brother King Edward VIII.
However, her accession to the throne at a very young age of 26 was destined to happen through some unexpected series of events in the royal family following the death of the queen’s grandfather King George V in 1936. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne for love within a year of his coronation, and the queen’s father eventually became the king in the same year making the then Princess Elizabeth first in line of succession.
King George VI could not serve for long because of his deteriorating health conditions and illness that took his life on Feb. 6, 1952. Princess Elizabeth, who was by then already married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, now His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and was a mother of two, acceded to the throne the same day. Her coronation took place at Westminster Abbey in London on June 2, 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II has remained as a pillar of British royal family for the last 60 years of her reign, and she is still going strong.
Snubbing rumors of her stepping down from the throne to crown her son Prince Charles, the heir apparent, Queen Elizabeth vowed to serve her country throughout her lifetime.
In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighborliness,” the queen said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
“I hope also that this jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart as we join together in our celebrations.”
As Queen Elizabeth II marks the start of her milestone 60th year on the British throne on Monday, here’s is a look back at her life as Queen through the years…
The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. The Coronation service began at 11.15 am and lasted almost three hours, concluding at 2.00 pm, after which The Queen, wearing the Imperial State Crown and carrying the orb and sceptre, returned to Buckingham Palace in the Gold State Coach. The royal procession, which included over 16,000 participants and covered nearly five miles, finally arrived at the Palace at 4.30 pm. Royal Collection
Delightfully photographs of the Royal Family, including this portrait of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and the infant Prince Andrew. Royal Collection
In 1961 President J.F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline made a private visit to London, where they were welcomed to Buckingham Palace by The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. This photograph was taken before the Dinner Party given by The Queen in their honour. Among the other guests were Admiral of the Fleet the Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and his wife, Lady Dorothy. Royal Collection
The number and extent of the overseas visits undertaken by The Queen during her sixty-year reign must be unprecedented: in her Silver Jubilee year alone, it was estimated that she travelled 56,000 miles. As Head of the Commonwealth, and accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen made two extensive tours in 1977 – the first to the Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Australia, the second to Canada and the Caribbean. The Queen is pictured here with The Duke of Edinburgh during the first of these tours. Royal Collection
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England. Library and Archives Canada/K-
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is seen here with the Queen (R) waving to well-wishers gathered outside the balcony at Buckingham Palace as she celebrates her 100th birthday in this August 4, 2000 file photo. The Queen Mother, the 101-year-old mother of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, died in her sleep on Saturday March 30, 2002. Reuters
A vintage newspaper announces birth of Prince Charles in 1958. Queen Elizabeth was married and mother of two when she acceded to the throne of England. REUTERS