Queen Elizabeth II's 100-Year Life Told in Historical Photos
Queen Elizabeth II has been a staple of England (and the world) for nearly 100 years. She was one of the longest-living monarchs that ever lived, and with her passing, we want to honor her in the best way we know how: her life in pictures.
She saw some of the biggest things happen in the world and even impacted it herself. What is it like for a monarch to grow up during WWII and even participate in it?! That’s right! It’s hard to remember, but the queen had actually served in the military.
So, without further ado, let’s go over her life and everything we loved about her. We found some rare pictures along with some truly historic photos that showed how great of a queen she really was. We’re going to start from when she was a small child all the way up to the most recent events that impact the world.
How did you feel about the queen? How were you impacted by her reign and passing? It’s hard questions, but we’re all mourning her at the same time – you’re not alone!
Three-Year-Old Princess Elizabeth
Have you ever seen a picture of the Queen when she was a kid? Chances are, you've never seen her this young! This image was taken when she was just three years old. Can you imagine being born into royalty? Every second of your life would be examined by your family, paparazzi, and even those who you rule over.
It's gotta be rough, but this little girl looks like she's living in total bliss. Queen Elizabeth looks like a perfect little cherub in this image, and we're sure she was a great kid. The photo itself was taken in 1929! The shocking thing is this image was taken before her father even took the throne as King George VI.
Nope, it’s not with her husband, Prince Philip. It was with her corgis. Her life-long love affair with this stubby-legged, butt-wiggling breed began when she was a child and led her to own more than 30 corgis during her reign, not including those she and her family owned prior to her coronation.
The corgis look a little different than what we're used to seeing, but that could be because she had the purest of corgis. If there was one thing the Queen made sure was happy and taken care of, it was her little pooches. We can't blame her for loving them, though. Their little bubble butts are beyond adorable.
That Overjoyed, Excited Face
It's an understatement to say that Her Majesty was photographed multiple times. Thanks to this, you can easily tell the difference between her polite smile for the public and other dignitaries and her true, I’m-so-dang-excited smile. We love when a person wears her emotions on her sleeve, and the Queen did just that. Also, she occasionally throws some facial shade, which is glorious.
This image was taken in 1947 after Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth got married. She's clearly beyond happy, and you can see the true love in their eyes — love that would last a whopping 73 years! The pair weren't even married for a decade before Princess Elizabeth's father died, and she took the throne as none other than Queen Elizabeth II.
Meeting Marilyn Monroe
The Queen met plenty of dignitaries and world leaders, but she also loved to meet famous celebrities from around the world. One of those was the famously beautiful Marilyn Monroe. She had a lot more class than some of the other women that the Queen had met in her life.
Monroe stated afterward during an interview, "The queen is very warm-hearted. She radiates sweetness. She asked how I liked living in Windsor, and I said, 'What!' And she said that as I lived in Englefield Green, near Windsor, we were neighbours. So, I told her that Arthur and I went on bicycle rides in the park."
There are a lot of rumors about Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana. Everyone loved Princess Diana, but publications stated that the Queen was less than pleased. That's all wrong. The Queen made it clear that she approved of the would-be Princess. In fact, she played with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward when they were all young.
As Princess Diana and Prince Charles's relationship became rocky, Diana would regularly turn up unannounced to see the Queen. The pair were closely close. After Princess Diana's death, the Queen made a big change. She tried harder to be there, including spending more time with Prince William's bride, Catherine Middleton. It was a lesson learned at a price.
Serving Her Country
Queen Elizabeth was known for getting involved in the world around her. She amended laws that previously prevented certain grandchildren from being called “princess,” but now male and female great-grandchildren will all be princes and princesses. On top of that, she also served in the military! Bet you didn't know that.
This is a portrait of Princess Elizabeth wearing her Sea Rangers uniform. During WWII, the Queen was the only female member of the royal family to enter the armed forces. At the time, she was a mechanic and driver, and she was eventually promoted to honorary junior commander five months after she finished her training.
Her Staying Power
As of September 9th, 2015, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch in England’s entire history, beating out Queen Victoria. During that time, we've seen 12 prime ministers, 11 U.S. presidents, 7 popes, but only 1 British queen. Naturally, she met with many of these world leaders and religious figures.
This photo was taken when the Queen met John F. Kennedy. The shocking thing is that the first lady said that Queen Elizabeth II was "a middle-aged woman so incurious, unintelligent and unremarkable that Britain’s new reduced place in the world was not a surprise but an inevitability." Yikes. Are we sensing a little jealousy?
When Queen Elizabeth II was coronated and became the Queen of England, it was a big to-do. The coronation happened on June 2, 1953. Prince Philip thought that the coronation should be televised for all to see, but the British government was vehemently against it. It had never been done before, but this was a new day and age.
As we all know, it was televised, and 11 million people listened on the radio while thousands of others attended the celebration in person. After the event, the Queen appeared on the balcony to greet her people alongside her family. This is the photo that was captured at that time.
In her last hours, the Queen took solitude in Balmoral. Balmoral castle was an important place for her and her family. It was originally built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert but was passed down through the family (and will continue to be). The Queen spent a lot of time there and even added some features to the existing structure.
The family picnics just wouldn't be as beautiful if it weren't for her and Prince Philips's additions. They famously added herbaceous borders and a water garden. The Queen would also break tradition by appointing British Prime Minister Liz Truss two days before she would pass away.
Her Own Noah's Ark
As the Queen, she owned all swans and “Fishes Royal” in the waters around the UK. She also frequently received exotic animals as gifts from foreign dignitaries. These animals, think sloths and monkeys, are always given to zoos where they can live in comfort. At home, she had her own beautiful animals. Corgis were her first love, but she almost had a zoo of her own.
Queen Elizabeth II got her first horse at the age of four — a shetland pony. That was just the beginning. She got into Thoroughbred racing, and her horses won over 1,600 races! We're sure she had only the best. That doesn't mean she didn't ride them, however. In fact, one of her favorite places to visit was Kentucky, where she met other horse enthusiasts and rode beautiful ponies.
The Queen's Family
The Queen was a family woman, but it wasn't easy. After having her first two children, she decided to wait a full decade before having more. It's hard being a mother and the Queen of a country! Over the years, the Queen and Prince Philip had four children, with the last being born in 1964.
This photo, taken in 1965, shows Princes Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Princess Anne — all the children together! They were there to celebrate her 39th birthday. She sure accomplished a lot before she even reached 40 years old. Some of her children stated she wasn't around as much as they wanted, but who can blame her? She was running a country.
Meeting Jayne Mansfield
Doesn't she look fabulous here? Who are we talking about? Both! Queen Elizabeth II is wearing a phenomenal fur shawl and Jayne Mansfield is wearing a simple but incredibly flattering dress. The pair met in 1957, soon after she took the throne as the Queen of England.
That surely puts a lot of pressure on someone. Apparently, anyone that meets the Queen has to follow a strict set of rules. That makes the pressure so much worse, but it had to be such an honor to see her!
The Queen of England was also the queen of timeless, classic style. She was known for her monochromatic outfits, complete with matching hats and jaw-dropping jewelry. Fun fact: Queen Elizabeth II began wearing bright, one-colored outfits so she could be easily spotted in large crowds. She was smart and stylish without a doubt.
The Queen hugely impacted fashion in every way, even encouraging other royals around her to dress very similarly. However, they could never get close. While she often preferred to wear blue and pink, she wasn't afraid to wear brighter colors like yellow and even neon green! Only she could pull that color off.
Queen Elizabeth II was a world traveler. If she could, why not? It's a dream of many people's, and we're glad she had the chance with her busy schedule. Along the way, she would meet thousands of people from regular people to other royals. Any time she went somewhere, she had to shake hands.
This is her standing next to Mayor Celent Woodall. This photo was taken during a walkabout tour of Devonport, New Zealand. If you look closely, you can see a lot of children and nurses that are lining up to meet none other than the Queen of England.
Prince Philip's Funeral
Grieving your husband isn't easy, and the Queen had to do so in public. Even during his funeral, photos were taken of her, so she didn't have a chance to really express her true feelings. She had to be strong for her country. It must have been very difficult especially since Prince Philip was the Queen's rock.
As is customary, the Queen entered an eight-day mourning period following his death. During this time, she didn't perform any of her royal duties or stately affairs. Soon after his death, Prince Charles stepped up to take whatever was necessary off the Queen's plate. Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth had been married for over 70 years.