After King George VI passed away in 1952, this left Elizabeth next in line to the throne. The following year, the Queen had her coronation and has since been leading and serving the United Kingdom, as well as the rest of the Commonwealth since the age of 25.
Today marks the Queens 95th birthday. This article will look at some of the ways the monarchy has changed since the start of Her reign.
The young Queen to the longest-lasting monarch
At just 25, Elizabeth took the throne and was often looked down on as the new kid in the room, full of presidents, prime ministers and world leaders. At this time we had the likes of Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin and D. Eisenhower in power – the towering male figureheads posed a huge juxtaposition to the young Queen.
Despite this, she outlasted them all, being a symbol of commitment, continuity and adaptability. She has seen the world change around her, being the longest-lasting British monarch of all time.
Her empire to the personal Commonwealth
When Elizabeth began her reign, the British empire was huge with more than 70 territories overseas. At the height of the empire, it was said that every one in four people was a British subject. When the Queen inherited the empire, it was in crisis. The government had recognised that we’d need to give more power to the colonies for it to survive. However, during the 60s, the Queen slowly started giving up colonies from Africa to Asia.
Now, the Queen is the monarch to 16 countries known as the Commonwealth realms. In 1953, the Queen said, “the Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past” which anticipated the end of the British empire.
The changing perceptions of the Royal Family
Previously, Elizabeth had witnessed her family being very buttoned-up in nature, covering up scandals and keeping conflicts under wraps. The atmosphere was full of secrecy with the family even trying to cover up Princess Margaret’s love life, as divorce was such a huge royal taboo.
Since then, the family have become more accepting of the fact that no family is immune to scandal, especially those who are world leaders. The Queen’s reign has seen Princess Margaret divorce in 1978, as well as Prince Charles in 1992. Divorce is no longer a taboo within the family, and speaking out on hardships has become more and more accepted.
The off-limits monarch to the free Queen
Before Queen Elizabeth II, the monarchs were much more exclusive, being kept away in their castles, making very rare appearances. This was also reinforced by the perception of women in the 1950s, being a “modern mother”, who didn’t have jobs but kept occupied with family work and children.
The Queen changed this completely, with her and her husband, Philip, being some of the busiest royals ever. The Queen went on her first “walkabout” in New Zealand in 1970 which was a limited meet-and-greet that became a tradition ever since. The Queen put herself in direct contact with excited crowds around the world.
Royal traditions turned to keeping up with the times
The British monarchy are famously known for their tradition, and doing things by the book. As mentioned above, the family, specifically the heads of state were hugely exclusive. Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 was the first to be broadcasted on television, which was a contraversial decision at the time. The Queen herself was camera-shy, and royalists thought it was ridiculous to allow cameras into Westminster Abbey for such a formal occasion. Despite this, the Queen insisted on the coronation being live broadcasted.
Of course, technology has hugely progressed since the 50s, but the exclusivity has diminished, with the monarchy taking advantage of smartphones, social media and their global reach, taking their public image into their own hands. The family regularly use the platform to share exclusive photos and share their updates and news.
Happy birthday Your Majesty!