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Reader’s Digest: Marking Queen Elizabeth’s Reign

Chelcey Berryhill - Wednesday September 09, 2015 14:19

Queen Elizabeth made history yet again today, becoming the longest-reigning monarch in British history. As rabid anglophiles, the staff at Royal Oak has been enjoying – and devouring – many of the retrospectives that have flooded the papers and webpages today in honor of the Queen.

Rather than keep these wonderful pieces to ourselves, we decided to organize our favorites. Celebrate this special day with us: settle in with a nice cuppa, sit your Corgi on the couch next to you, and enjoy our Reader’s Guide to Queen Elizabeth’s Reign.

  • The Toronto Star: Key Moments in the Life of Queen Elizabeth
    A shot of Queen Elizabeth from 1963, in uniform and ready to serve

    A shot of Queen Elizabeth from 1963, in uniform and ready to serve

    The Toronto Star offers a great look at the Queen’s life in a simple slideshow. Where they succeed is the interweaving of the Queen’s personal and political life – it’s fascinating to see baby pictures of her, and then of her with her children, alongside images of her coronation and her first public speech.

Perhaps what’s most striking, though, is to see global changes from the perspective of her throne: for instance, it’s interesting to note that her visit to West Germany in 1965 was the first by a British monarch in 52 years, or that her visit to Ireland was the first ever by a British monarch to the Republic. Not only has she lived through a great deal of history, but she’s been a key participant in it.

As a media nerd, I’ve written about key British figures in Time Magazine before, but I find old magazines endlessly fascinating. These covers chronicle Queen Elizabeth’s steadying presence through the last 63 years, and leave me with one stunning fact: she was Person of the Year in 1952 and one of the 100 Most Influential in 2007. It’s one thing to simply hold a title for a long time, but it’s quite another to be recognized as consistently, hugely  influential 55 years apart.

We all know Queen Elizabeth is a model of graceful aging, but seeing literally one picture for each year of her reign really drives that point home. Highlights include 1963’s shot of The Queen riding a horse, festooned in a bright red uniform, returning to Buckingham Palace and 2006’s shot of her joyfully examining 80th birthday cards.

A fun video that drives home the Queen’s constancy, with some fun audio and video clips from her reign. Did you know she sent her first email in 1976?

Not to toot our own horn, but Royal Oak staff has reflected on what Queen Elizabeth has meant to them. Read Jennie McCahey’s post from today, connecting this momentous occasion to the Garter Ceremony she attended this June, and check out our earlier post, on Helen Mirren’s take on the Queen in Broadway’s The Audience. Don’t miss the Queen’s biographer, Sally Bedell Smith, on that production, either.

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