Being the longest-reigning monarch in British history, Elizabeth II became a symbol of the era and the embodiment of her country.
She died on September 8 at the age of 96.
The first televised coronation in history
The coronation of Elizabeth II took place on June 2, 1953, a year and a half after she officially ascended the throne. The young charming queen had to do the impossible: to unite the nation and hold on to the former colonies.
The coronation, previously always held behind closed doors and considered a sacred rite, could prove a vital tool to draw the public’s attention to the monarchy and a way to demonstrate the queen's closeness to the people.
More than 1.5 million pounds (more than 43 million in today's currency) was spent on the ceremony. It took over 8 months to create the coronation gown designed by Norman Hartnell, and the level of the technique used to accentuate Her Majesty’s most winning angles is astonishing.
More than 27 million people watched the live television broadcast of Elizabeth II's coronation.
Prince Philip's infidelity
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were married for 73 years. The royal couple first met as teenagers at the wedding of Philip's cousin, the Greek princess Marina. The future prince was 13 years old and Lilibeth (as Elizabeth II was nicknamed by the close family) was only 8. The tall lad with blonde hair and bright blue eyes conquered the heart of the future queen in no time.
But despite her feelings, Philip was not at all accepted by Elizabeth's family as the prince’s financial situation, as well as the reputation of the family, left much to be desired. Nevertheless, the princess wasn’t going to give up, and the wedding ceremony did take place on November 20 1947 in Westminster Abbey. Their married life seemed idyllic until the death of George VI left the young queen with many duties she could not avert.
Philip became irritated by his wife's constant meetings and her busy schedule which made him look more like a housewife. Within this tense atmosphere in the royal family, rumors began to spread about Philip's infidelity. After the news appeared in the press that the queen and the consort were sleeping in separate rooms, there were talks about imminent divorce.
Prince Philip never admitted anything about his affairs, but inquisitive journalists were constantly adding new names to the list of his potential lovers.
Succession to the throne and women's rights
For centuries, priority in the line of succession to the throne was given to the eldest male offspring of a monarch. In fact, girls were forbidden from taking the throne if they had brothers. In 2013, Elizabeth II made an amendment to the anachronistic law of crown succession, thereby canceling this discriminatory practice. By doing so, the queen gave her great-granddaughter Charlotte the opportunity to remain fourth in line to the throne, instead of her younger brother.
But this law isn’t the only Queen Elizabeth's feminist achievement. The queen was the first female member of the royal family to serve in the British Army. Trained as an ambulance driver and promoted to the rank of lieutenant, Princess Elizabeth served in the military for five months.
Taking part in a James Bond movie
During preparations for the official opening of the 30th Summer Olympics in London, British director Danny Boyle appointed to direct the ceremony got the idea to make a video praising the kingdom's national treasures. Among them, there were the Queen and James Bond. However, the director didn’t want an actress playing the role of Elizabeth II, so he plucked up the courage to ask the Queen to star in the video personally.
According to the plot, James Bond was to deliver Elizabeth to London Stadium by helicopter. Upon reading the script, the queen was thrilled and said it would be "a lot of fun." Of course, all the stunts were performed by doubles, and Elizabeth was left to say only one phrase in the video: "Good evening, Mr. Bond." However, as the director noted afterward, the queen performed her part as professionally as a Hollywood actress.
The Queen's best friends were her corgis. Her first dog ever, nicknamed Dookie, was adopted by Elizabeth II in 1933. Over the past 85 years, more than three dozen dogs roamed Buckingham Palace as pets of Her Majesty.
The corgi breed quickly became popular, but not everyone was familiar with the Royal dogs’ petulant temperament. The corgis often bit the Queen herself, the courtiers, as well as police officers, chauffeurs, letter carriers, and others who the monarch's favorites could lay their paws on.