Timeline: Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on Britain’s throne

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As the health of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II deteriorates, we reflect on the life and work of the country’s longest-reigning monarch.
Here is a timeline of some notable events:

April 21, 1926 – Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton St, London, and christened on May 29 that year in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.

December 11, 1936 – She became heir apparent, aged 10, when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated and her father George VI became king.

November 20, 1947 – She married navy lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, a Greek Prince, at London’s Westminster Abbey. They had four children: Prince Charles (born in 1948), Princess Anne,(1950), Prince Andrew (1960) and Prince Edward (1964).

February 1952 – Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, set out on a tour of Africa and Asia in place of her ailing father, King George VI. News of the king’s death reaches her in Kenya on February 6, meaning she is the first sovereign in more than 200 years to accede to the throne while abroad.

Crown Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain, later Queen Elizabeth II, with her pony, at age 10 [Getty Images]

June 2, 1953 – Queen Elizabeth is crowned at Westminster Abbey in the first televised coronation service.

November 24, 1953 – The queen’s first Commonwealth tour begins covering a distance of 43,618 miles (70,196km).

1970 – During a visit to New Zealand, the queen introduces the “walkabout”, a meet-the-people tactic for royal tours.

1977 – The queen marks her Silver Jubilee – 25 years as monarch – with a tour of Commonwealth countries and lavish celebrations in the UK.

1981 – Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer in a glittering ceremony.

1982 – Charles and Diana’s first child, Prince William, is born on June 21. Prince Harry is born two years later.

1986 – Prince Andrew marries the high-spirited publishing executive Sarah Ferguson, known as “Fergie”. The couple bbecomesthe Duke and Duchess of York.

1991 – The queen tours the United States and becomes the first monarch to address the US Congress.

US President Ronald Reagan laughs following a joke by Queen Elizabeth II, who commented on the California weather she has experienced since she arrived in the US [Bettmann/Getty Images]

1992 – Her 40th year on the throne, which she calls her “annus horribilis” (horrible year), is marked by marital upsets and public dissent. It started oith the separation of Andrew and Sarah, and Anne’s divorce from Mark Phillips.

November – Windsor Castle is badly damaged by fire. The queen agrees to pay income tax.

December – Charles and Diana announce their separation.

March 1995 –  The queen makes the first address by a British monarch to a South African parliament since 1947.

December – Buckingham Palace confirms the queen has written to Charles and Diana urging them to divorce.

1996 – In August, Charles and Diana are divorced.

1997 – On August 31, Diana and her millionaire companion Dodi al-Fayed are killed when their car crashes while being chased through Paris by photographers on motorcycles. The queen and the royal family are criticised for their reserved response.

Princess Diana with the queen watching a polo game [File: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images]

February 9, 2002 – The queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, dies at the age of 71 after a life of glamour and heartbreak.

March 30 – Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, dies at Windsor Castle aged 101.

June 1-4 – Four days of nationwide celebrations mark the queen’s Golden Jubilee.

2005 – Son and heir Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles at a civil ceremony in Windsor.

April 29, 2011 – The queen attends the wedding of her grandson Prince William and Kate Middleton, estimated to have been watched by about two billion people worldwide.

May – Queen makes four-day state visit to Ireland, the first by a British monarch since Ireland won its independence from London in 1921.

2012 – The diamond jubilee to mark her 60th year on the throne sees four days of celebrations in June along with a nationwide tour. A million people gather for a pageant on River Thames, and millions more attend street parties.

2013 – Prince William’s wife Kate gives birth to a son, Prince George. Their second child, Princess Charlotte is born in 2015 and their younger brother Prince Louis is born in 2018.

June 23-26, 2014 – The queen embarks on what was her last foreign state visit to Germany.

September 9 – Elizabeth becomes the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

April 21, 2016 – Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday, the first British monarch to reach the milestone.

August 2, 2017 – Husband Philip bows out of public life after 65 years of supporting his wife.

Queen Elizabeth waits to read the Queen’s Speech to lawmakers in the House of Lords, next to Prince Philip [File: Oli Scarff/pool/Reuters]

November 20 – Elizabeth and Philip celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with a private party at Windsor Castle.

2018 – The queen’s grandson Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle, a divorced US actress from Los Angeles, at a star-studded wedding at Windsor Castle.

October 2019 – A family dispute between William and Harry becomes public, with the younger prince confirming the rumours of a rift.

November 15 – Prince Andrew gives a disastrous interview to BBC TV in an attempt to draw a line under a sex scandal. Days later, he is forced to step down from royal duties over his links to the disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was jailed in 2008 for child sex offences.

January 2020 – Harry and Meghan announce they will no longer be working members of the royal family. They move to Los Angeles in March.

April 5 – The queen makes only the fifth special televised broadcast of her reign to rally the nation amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

April 9, 2021 – Prince Philip, the queen’s husband of 73 years, dies peacefully aged 99 at Windsor Castle.

October 20 – The queen spends a night in hospital for the first time in years for what Buckingham Palace termed “preliminary investigations”.

November 30 – Barbados becomes a republic, meaning the queen is now the head of state of just 15 realms.

Prince Andrew attends a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Bruges [File: John Thys/AFP]

Jan 13, 2022 – Buckingham Palace says Prince Andrew has been stripped of his military links and royal patronages and will no longer be known as “His Royal Highness” as he defends a US lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre who said the royal sexually abused her when she was a teenager.

February 6 -The queen marks her 70th year on the throne, using the occasion to give her blessing to Charles’s second wife Camilla being called “queen consort” when he becomes king.

February 15 – Prince Andrew pays an undisclosed sum to settle the US lawsuit, but admits no wrongdoing.

February 20 – The queen tests positive for COVID-19 and is said to be suffering from mild cold-like symptoms. She soon returns to official duties.

September 6 – The monarch formally appoints Liz Truss as the UK’s prime minister, asking her to form a new government.

September 8 – The queen dies at the age of 96. She died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, Buckingham Palace announces.

Queen Elizabeth II welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral [File: Jane Barlow/Pool Photo via AP]

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