Special Report

The Most Important Event in the Life of Queen Elizabeth in Every Year of Her Reign

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> Event: Summer Olympic Games in London

In 2012, London hosted the Summer Olympic Games for the third time, after 1908 and 1948. Queen Elizabeth officially opened the games and starred in two short comic films as herself beside Daniel Craig as James Bond and Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean. It was actually the second Olympic Games personally opened by the Queen, the first having been in Montreal in 1976.

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> Event: Birth of Prince George

Prince George, born July 22, 2013, is the first son of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. George is currently third in the line of succession and will likely take the throne after his father. He made his first public appearance in 2015, and has already started to accompany his parents on diplomatic trips — meeting Barack and Michelle Obama at the age of three, for instance.

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> Event: Failure of Scottish independence referendum

In 2014, Scottish voters went to the polls to answer the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Some 55.3% voted “No” and 44.7% said “Yes.” With over 84% turnout, the election had one of the highest recorded rates of voter participation in the history of the United Kingdom. While that seemed to settle the question for the moment, the U.K.’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016 has reignited the debate. In 2013, the Queen had officially given her approval for the initial referendum to take place.

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> Event: Conservative Party domination

In the 2015 general election, the Conservative Party came out ahead of its rival Labour Party and maintained control of the government. Leading up to the election many experts underestimated the level of support for the Conservatives. Conservative David Cameron became prime minister in 2010, remaining in office until he was succeeded by Theresa May in 2016.

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> Event: Passage of “Brexit”

In 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom went to the polls and narrowly voted to take their nation out of the European Union. After the result, David Cameron, who had called for the referendum apparently believing that it had no chance to succeed, resigned as prime minister and Theresa May took over. On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union after several years of planning and negotiating with the rest of the EU. The Queen gave her royal assent to the bill that triggered the U.K.’s withdrawal.

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> Event: Terrorist attacks

In 2017, the United Kingdom saw a string of terrorist attacks beginning when a man drove a car across Westminster Bridge in London, killing four pedestrians and injuring several more. A month later, 22 were killed when a man detonated a suiсide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Throughout the year, several other attacks involving automobiles and bombs happened in the country. Several citizens were awarded honors by the Queen for their bravery during the attacks.

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> Event: Marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

In 2017, Prince Harry married American actress Meghan Markle, known for her role on the American TV series “Suits.” Officially known now as the Duchess of Sussex, she retired from acting upon marrying Harry. As a divorced woman of color, she has been controversial in the U.K., with some citizens embracing her as a face of the future while others react negatively. In 2020 the couple stepped down as senior members of the royal family and moved to California, where they are doing charity work and considering business opportunities. They have two children, Archie and Lilibet.

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> Event: Resignation of Theresa May

Theresa May was responsible for carrying out Brexit negotiations with the European Union and helped to eventually reach the Brexit withdrawal agreement. However, she decided in March 2019 that she would not be leading the United Kingdom to the next stage of Brexit negotiations. She officially tendered her resignation to the Queen on July 24, 2019, and was succeeded by Boris Johnson.

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> Event: Appearance of COVID-19

Covid-19 affected everyone’s life, including that of the Queen. She has been witnessed wearing a facemask and social distancing throughout the pandemic. The Queen and her husband, the since-deceased Prince Philip, were among the first Britons to get vaccinations, receiving their first doses in January 2021.

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> Event: Death of Prince Philip

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away on April 9, 2021, at the age of 99. The prince and Elizabeth had been married for over 70 years, since 1947 — five years before she took the throne. Philip was born in Greece in 1921 and was a member of both the Greek and Danish royal families. He died of natural causes at Windsor Castle, two months before his hundredth birthday.

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> Event: Death of Prince Philip

The Queen’s last official duty – two days before she died – was inviting the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party, Liz Truss, to become prime minister and form a new government.

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