The British royal family is the most famous and talked-about in the world. While their titles and powers are largely ceremonial today — the power of the monarchy has been in decline since the signing of Magna Carta in 1215 — their expansive wealth and property holdings are very real.
Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Born in 1926, she took the throne in 1952. During her reign, the United Kingdom has undergone drastic changes, among other things seeing the decline of the British Empire, “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, and the nation first entering and then leaving the European Union. Then, too, there have been personal or family crises and controversies along the way. (Her lack of direct political power is why Elizabeth can’t be considered one of the 50 most powerful leaders of all time.)
Royalty has its perks, like expenses paid by the state, control of historic properties, and a full staff of aides and helpers. However, it can also mean a lifetime in the spotlight. Some lesser royals may be able to enjoy their wealth and prestige without being the focus of constant media attention, but the monarch and her immediate family are held to a higher standard. (“The Crown,” a Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, was one of the most popular shows at the 2021 Emmy Awards.)
To determine what are likely to have been the most important events in the life of Queen Elizabeth for every year of her reign, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed sources including the BBC and the U.K.’s National Archives to find lists of significant events by year in the history of the United Kingdom and the world, as well as in Her Majesty’s personal life.