Queen Elizabeth Is Turning 90: Let's Celebrate 20 of Her Most Noteworthy Moments

Amy Goldman | Apr 19, 2016 Celebrities
Queen Elizabeth Is Turning 90: Let's Celebrate 20 of Her Most Noteworthy Moments

Queen ElizabethHer Majesty the Queen is celebrating a very significant birthday. In honor of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th -- yes, 90th! -- birthday, which is on April 21, we're looking back at some of the most important accomplishments, milestones, and events of her impressive reign.

Before she even took the throne, this extraordinary monarch was inspired to find ways to support her country through thick and thin. Queen Elizabeth II has led a remarkable life in her 90 years. We can't think of any nonagenarian more deserving of a grand birthday celebration. Keep reading to see some of the queen's most noteworthy moments!


Image via Splash News

  • A Queen Is Born

    1

    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926, during her grandfather King George V's reign. Her parents, Prince Albert and Elizabeth, were the Duke and Duchess of York at the time. No one would have thought that this little girl would grow up to become the longest-reigning English monarch.

  • Heir Apparent

    2

    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Elizabeth became heir apparent to the throne in 1936 when King Edward VIII abdicated and her father was crowned King George VI. It was a surprising turn of events for a young girl who was born third-in-line to the throne.

  • The Queen's First Speech

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    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Elizabeth's desire to serve her country in wartime became evident at a young age. Elizabeth made her first public speech when she was 14. In a radio address on the BBC's Children's Hour, she told children who had been evacuated from their homes during WWII that they would be reunited with their parents.

    More from The Stir: 20 Reasons It's Pretty Darn Cool to Be Queen Elizabeth

  • Serving Her Country

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    Image via Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Determined to serve her country during WWII, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a Subaltern when she was 18. She trained to be a military truck mechanic and driver.  

  • Royal Wedding Bells

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    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, her third cousin and longtime sweetheart, on November 20, 1947. As the wedding took place soon after the end of WWII, Elizabeth had to save up ration coupons in order to buy the fabric for her wedding gown. The understated wedding took place at Westminster Abbey. 

  • The Queen Becomes a Mum

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    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on November 14, 1948. Charles would become heir apparent three years later when Elizabeth was crowned queen.

    More from The Stir: 20 Times Queen Elizabeth Dared to Wear Bold Colors

  • It's a Girl

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    Image via Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

    Elizabeth's growing family grew yet again on August 15, 1950, when her only daughter, Princess Anne, was born. Unlike her brothers who were all born at Buckingham Palace, Anne was born at Clarence House.

  • The Queen's Coronation

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    Image via STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

    Upon the death of her father, King George VI, Elizabeth was crowned to be queen at just 25 years old. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953. The queen's coronation was the first event that was televised worldwide.

  • Introducing Prince Andrew

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    Image via Bettmann/CORBIS

    The queen's third child, Prince Andrew, was born on February 19, 1960. 

    More from The Stir: 15 Times Kate Middleton & Queen Elizabeth Were So Over Each Other

  • Prince Edward Makes Four

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    Image via Fox Photos/Getty Images

    On March 10, 1964, the queen gave birth to her fourth child, Prince Edward. 

  • Time Heals All Wounds

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    Image via Jim Gray/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    The queen's 1965 visit to West Germany marked the first time a British monarch had visited the country in over half a century. Not only did the visit mark the healing of old wounds from WWII, but the queen also pledged her support for West Berliners in the midst of the Cold War.

  • A Quarter of a Century

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    Image via Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    To commemorate 25 years on the throne, the queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977. She them embarked on a tour of an impressive scale, visiting 36 counties in the UK and Northern Ireland, Western Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Canada, and more. 

    More from The Stir: 9 Beautiful Things the Royal Family Said About Princess Diana

  • A Tour of the Middle East

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    Image via Tim Graham/Getty Images

    The queen became the first British monarch to visit the Middle East in 1979. Her monumental visit included stops in Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

  • Annus Horribilis

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    Image via Tim Graham/Getty Images

    In 1992, Elizabeth experienced what she described as an "annus horribilis," otherwise known as a "horrible year." Not only did a fire damage Windsor Castle, but the marriages of Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince Andrew all ended in divorce that year.

  • The Loss of Princess Diana

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    Image via Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

    After Princess Diana's death in 1997, the queen paid tribute to her in an unprecedented way. She addressed a mourning nation with a live television broadcast in Diana's honor.

    More from The Stir: 12 Times Kate Middleton & the Royals Couldn't Hide Their Dislike for Each Other

  • Golden Years

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    Image via Steve Finn/Splash News

    The queen celebrated 50 years on the throne with her Golden Jubilee in 2002. In the same year, she lost her sister, Margaret, and her mother, Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

  • Long Live the Queen

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    Image via Pete Goddard/Splash News

    In December of 2007, Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-living English monarch. The title previously belonged to Queen Victoria, who lived to be 81.

  • Luck of the Irish

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    Image via Splash News

    The queen made history in 2011 with her visit to Ireland. This marked the first time a British monarch had visited Ireland since the country won its independence from England in 1921.

    More from The Stir: 15 Times Kate Middleton Was So Over the Whole Royal Thing

  • Diamonds Are Forever, Indeed

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    Image via WeirPhotos/Splash News

    In 2012, the queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee to commemorate her then-60-year reign.

  • Long May She Reign

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    Image via Mary McCartney/Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II/WPA-Pool/Splash News

    Queen Elizabeth II surpassed Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning British Monarch on September 5, 2015. 

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