Remembering Queen Elizabeth II: The most important photo from every single year of her remarkable life

1927: She was the couple’s first child and was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in Buckingham Palace’s private chapel.

Little Princess Elizabeth, left, is shown in 1927. The picture was made as the baby princess was taken for a ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle, she is seen with her cousin, the honourable Gerald Lascelles, right, son of Princess Royal.

Little Princess Elizabeth, left, is shown in 1927.

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She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Mary after her grandmother Queen Mary, and Alexandra after her great-grandmother Queen Alexandra.

This picture was taken as the baby princess was taken for a ride on the grounds of Windsor Castle. She is seen with her cousin, the honorable Gerald Lascelles, right, son of Princess Royal.

1928: No one ever thought Elizabeth would become queen.

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Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II, aged 2.

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This became apparent only once her father’s elder brother Edward abdicated, putting her father on the throne and making her first in line.

1929: In this photo, a young Elizabeth is strolled by her nanny in Green Park.

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The young Queen enjoying a stroll in the park.

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The Queen was 3 years old when this photograph was taken.

1930: The Queen was home-schooled by her father and the vice-provost of Eton, Henry Marten.

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Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) picking flowers in a photograph taken by her father, King George VI.

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She also learned French after spending time with French and Belgian governesses and regularly spoke the language when delivering speeches abroad during her reign.

1931: The Queen began attending garden parties at a young age.

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A young Queen Elizabeth attending a garden party in Scotland.

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In the photo above, the future Queen is seen attending a party held at Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland, in August 1931. 

The event was in celebration of the golden wedding of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

1932: Here, the young princess walks through the rain.

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A young Queen Elizabeth arriving at the Royal Tournament at Olympia.

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She was visiting the Royal Tournament at Olympia.

1933: This photo shows a young Elizabeth playing with her family’s dogs.

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A young Queen Elizabeth II plays with her dogs.

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The image shows the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) with both daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

1934: The royals have always been keen equestrians.

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The Queen in 1934.

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This photo shows the Duchess of York arriving at Olympia’s International Horse Show with Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.

1935: Even at the young age of 9, the future Queen had perfected her royal wave.

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The royal wave started early.

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This photo was taken after the family had attended the Jubilee service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

1936: In this picture, a young Elizabeth takes her pet dog for a walk in Hyde Park, London.

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A young Elizabeth walks her dog in February 1936.

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She spent much of her childhood in 145 Piccadilly, a townhouse located next to The Ritz and bordering the city’s Green Park.

1937: The Queen Mother is shown here with her husband, King George VI, and their two daughters, Princess Elizabeth, center, and Princess Margaret.

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A young Queen Elizabeth at 11 years old.

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This is also the year Princess Elizabeth signed up as a Girl Guide, when she was 11 years old.

1938: Elizabeth and her sister were animal lovers from a young age.

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Queen Elizabeth has attended many races and pageants.

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The princesses can be seen here watching the Pony Show in London from the royal box. Since then, Queen Elizabeth attended a huge number of races and pageants.

1939: Elizabeth and Princess Margaret went to watch a swimming display given before the royal visitors at Dartmouth Naval College, on July 22, 1939.

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Elizabeth and Princess Margaret watched a swimming display at Dartmouth Naval College.

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Both were known to be keen swimmers.

1940: A year after the beginning of World War II, a 14-year-old Elizabeth sent out her first radio broadcast.

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She sent her first radio broadcast at age 14.

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She addressed the children of the Commonwealth, most of whom had been evacuated and were away from their families. She told them to remember that when peace comes, “it will be for us children of today to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”

1941: Here, Princess Elizabeth discusses the pantomime with her mother, Queen Elizabeth of England, while her sister, Princess Margaret, looks on.

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She also helped produce the play.

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The two princesses took the leading roles in the show and also produced the play for the benefit of the Royal Household Concert Wool Fund.

1942: A 16-year-old Elizabeth often met with troops and spoke with them.

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One of her first public appearances inspecting the troops.

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She was appointed colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards by her father in 1942 and made her first public appearance inspecting the troops that year.

1943: Throughout the war, Princess Elizabeth helped in several ways.

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Princess Elizabeth lent a helping hand in 1943.

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She knitted garments for the poor, contributed funds to purchase cigarettes for the armed forces, and attended dances and programs for evacuated children.

1944: Though the young royals were moved to Windsor castle for their safety during the war, Princess Elizabeth regularly greeted the troops before they began bombing raids.

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The Rose of York.

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She christened the plane in this photo the “Rose of York.”

1945: Winston Churchill joined the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace minutes after the official announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender in WWII.

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Winston Churchill made the official announcement of Germany’s unconditional surrender in WWII on Buckingham Palace’s balcony.

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Thousands of people gathered outside the royal residence to celebrate the end of the conflict.

1946: Prince Philip of Greece acted as an usher, assisting Princess Elizabeth with her coat as they arrive at Romsey Abbey for the wedding of Patricia Mountbatten.

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Princess Elizabeth attending the wedding of Patricia Mountbatten.

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A year later, they themselves would walk down the aisle.

1947: Philip and Elizabeth married at Westminster Abbey in London in front of 2,000 guests.

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She had a grand royal wedding in 1947.

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She was the first British monarch to have celebrated a diamond wedding anniversary. This family photo was taken at Buckingham Palace following the ceremony.

1948: Following the christening of Prince Charles in December 1948, this official photo was taken of the young royal.

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Elizabeth holds Prince Charles after his christening.

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He is pictured alongside his mother, his grandfather King George VI, and his great-grandmother Queen Mary.

1949: Here, an 8-month-old Prince Charles is cradled by his mother on a warm July day.

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One of the earliest photos of Prince Charles as a baby.

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The photo was taken at Windlesham Moor, their summer residence, in Ascot, England.

1950: Her second child, Princess Anne, was born on August 15, 1950.

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The Queen holds Princess Anne after her christening.

Paul Popper/Popperfoto/Getty Images

The above photo took place after Anne’s christening in October 1950.

1951: This summer picture shows the soon-to-be Queen and her family.

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Elizabeth and her family on the lawn at Clarence House.

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She’s joined in the photo by husband Prince Philip, and their children Charles and Anne on the lawn at Clarence House, London.

1952: In 1952, the Queen’s father, George IV, died.

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A veiled Elizabeth accompanies her father’s coffin to his final resting place in Windsor.

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She immediately became Queen and began what would be the longest reign of any monarch in British history. In this photo, a veiled Elizabeth accompanies her father’s coffin to his final resting place in Windsor.

1953: On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey, making her the 39th sovereign to be crowned in the iconic church.

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The Queen’s coronation took place in June 1953.


Though she officially became Queen in 1952 after the death of her father, King George, her coronation wasn’t until a year later. An estimated 27 million people in Britain watched the ceremony on TV.

1954: During her reign, she met with 15 prime ministers.

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The Queen and Winston Churchill were photographed together at Waterloo Station.


In this photo, the Queen and Winston Churchill wait at Waterloo Station in London for the Queen Mother to arrive back from a month in the US.

1955: The Queen played a key role in maintaining diplomatic relationships with other countries.

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The Queen is shown here arriving at a dinner party at the Portuguese Embassy.


Here, the Queen arrives by car with Prince Philip at the Portuguese Embassy in London’s Belgrave Square to attend a dinner party thrown in their honor by the visiting Portuguese president and Madame Craveiro Lopes.

1956: Traveling and representing Britain overseas was an important part of her job.

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The Queen visited Nigeria in 1956.


She and Prince Philip visited the Lagos City boundary in Nigeria on their way to the city from Ikeja Airport in 1956. Here, she’s pictured sitting next to Chief Oba Adeniji-Adila II, who reigned from 1949 through 1964.

1957: In this photo, the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, enjoy a day out at the horse shows in Badminton, Gloucestershire.

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The Queen continued to be an avid fan of horse shows.


The Queen is pictured holding an old-fashioned movie camera as she takes pictures of the cross-country competition.

1958: Queen Elizabeth II met many famous figures throughout her reign, from politicians to movie stars like Jayne Mansfield.

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The Queen met Jayne Mansfield in 1958.


In 1958, she met legendary actress and early Playboy playmate Jayne Mansfield at London’s Odeon Theatre during the annual royal film festival.

1959: The Queen met with every sitting US president but one, Lyndon B. Johnson.

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The Queen was photographed with Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th US president, in 1959.


Here, she stands on the grounds of Balmoral Castle, Scotland, with President Eisenhower. They are joined by Prince Philip, Princess Anne, and Prince Charles.

1960: Here, the royals are pictured enjoying some family time at Balmoral Castle.

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The royal family relaxed on the ground of Balmoral Castle in 1960.


This family photo shows the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen entertaining the kids, including a baby Prince Andrew, as they relax on the grounds of Balmoral Castle.

1961: The royals were joined by President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, at Buckingham Palace.

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The Queen with President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy.


The Queen was invited to Kennedy’s funeral following his assassination in 1963 but was unable to attend because she was pregnant with Edward.

1962: The Queen attended the Ascot races with her mother.

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The Queen and her mother attending the Ascot races in 1962.


The Queen wore a blue lace​ dress to Ladies Day, while her mother opted for a floral print.

1963: The Queen and Prince Philip visited Adelaide, South Australia.

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The Queen and Prince Philip visited Australia in 1963.


They were greeted by about 90,000 schoolchildren, some of whom had traveled hundreds of miles to catch a glimpse of the Queen and her husband.

1964: While visiting Canada, part of the British Commonwealth, the Queen addressed the provincial legislature of Quebec in October 1964.

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The Queen addressed the provincial legislature of Quebec in 1964.


She did so in both French and English.

1965: Winston Churchill died on January 24, 1965. The Queen attended his funeral on February 1.

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Winston Churchill’s funeral took place in February 1965.


World leaders and politicians from around the globe attended. A Guardian article from the day said: “By one o’clock the great State funeral was over, the Kings and Queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers, the generals and Politicians from the world over had paid their respects.”

1966: Queen Elizabeth II presented the World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy, to England’s team captain Bobby Moore on July 30, 1966.

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The Queen hands over the World Cup trophy to Bobby Moore.


This was the first — and remains the only — time England had ever won the World Cup.

1967: As part of a six-day visit to Canada, the Queen took a ride on the Expo 67 electric train, which at the time was revolutionary.

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The Queen took shelter from the rain in an Expo 67 electric train.


It was originally constructed for the 1967 world fair, which took place in Montréal.

1968: To mark the 50th anniversary of the RAF, her majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the Royal Air Force Base in Abingdon​, England.

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh took a tour of the Royal Air Force Base in 1968.


In this photo, they’re driven past a collection of Bloodhound missiles.

1969: Throughout her reign, the Queen met some of the men and women who helped shape history.

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The Queen met many influential people during her reign.


Astronauts and first men on the moon Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were invited to meet with the monarch in Buckingham Palace.

1970: The Queen entertained US President Richard Nixon and his wife on many occasions.

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The Queen was photographed with Richard Nixon and his wife in 1970.


This photo shows them with Prime Minister Edward Heath at Chequers, the country retreat of Britain’s prime ministers. The Queen visited Chequers three times throughout her reign.

1971: In 1971, Japanese Emperor Hirohito visited Britain for four days.

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The Emperor and Queen Elizabeth II’s lavish procession.

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The Emperor and Queen Elizabeth II rode in an open Landau through the gates of Buckingham Palace in a lavish procession after his arrival at Victoria Station.

1972: The Queen toured Asia.

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The Queen during a walkabout in Malaysia.

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She paid a visit to Malaysia, where she stopped to speak to schoolchildren along the way.

1973: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visited Canada again.

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The Queen arriving at an “Old Canada” exhibit.

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In this photo, they are shown arriving at an “Old Canada” exhibition in High Park, Toronto.

1974: Here, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh are pictured toasting the King of Malaysia, seated between them on July 12, 1974, at Claridge’s in London.

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The Queen toasts the King of Malaysia.

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The dinner marked the third day of the King and Queen of Malaysia’s visit to England.

1975: Film and music icon Barbara Streisand met the monarch in London at the Royal Film Performance.

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Barbara Streisand and the Queen met in 1975.

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After the presentations, the Queen saw the musical “Funny Lady,” in which Streisand was the star.

1976: US President Gerald Ford led Queen Elizabeth II in a dance following a State Dinner at The White House.

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The Queen dancing with Gerald Ford.

AP Photo/John Duricka

The dinner party was thrown in honor of Her Majesty during her tour of the US.

1977: This year marked the Queen’s Silver Jubilee — celebrating 25 years on the throne.

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The Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne in 1977.

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As part of the festivities, she conducted a brief walkabout in London where she met and spoke with members of the public before attending​ a ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

1978: Here, the Queen reviews her Yeoman of the Guard on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

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The Queen reviews the world’s oldest military corps.

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The Yeoman of the Guard is the world’s oldest military corps.

1979: The monarch was a regular guest of Middle Eastern leaders throughout her reign.

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The Queen visited Saudi Arabia in 1979.

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Here, she is escorted by King Khali of Saudi Arabia, far right, after her arrival at Riyadh Airport, Saudi Arabia. This was one of eight official state visits to various countries she made that year.

1980: The Queen visited the Vatican for the first time.

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The Queen made her first visit to the Vatican in 1980.

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Here, she talks to Pope John Paul II while her husband looks on.

1981: The Queen looked over the crowd of 600,000 people who lined the streets of London on the day of Charles and Diana’s wedding, while the bride and groom kissed.

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Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding was a major event.

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An estimated 750 million people watched the event worldwide on July 29, 1981.

1982: Pope John Paul II sought to overcome centuries of distrust when he became the first pope to visit British shores in 1982.

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Pope John Paul II visited the Queen in 1982.

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He came preaching reconciliation between the Vatican and Anglicans even as British troops battled Catholic Argentines in the Falklands.

1983: Mother Teresa of Calcutta, one of modern history’s most iconic religious figures, received the Insignia of the Honorary Order of Merit from the Queen at the Rashtrapati Shavar in New Delhi.

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The Queen presents Mother Teresa of Calcutta with the Insignia of the Honorary Order of Merit.

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The order recognizes distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or the promotion of culture.

1987: King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, who carried out a four-day state visit to Britain, was photographed with Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother, and the Duke of Edinburgh before they attended a banquet in the King’s honor at Buckingham Palace.

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The Queen is pictured during King Fahd of Saudi Arabia’s visit.

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The Queen wore the chain of the Order of King Abdul Aziz in honor of the King.

1990: The British Royal Family watched a flyover​, marking the Queen’s 65th birthday, from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

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The royal family gathered on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

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Prince Philip, the Prince and Princess of Wales, Princes William and Harry watched the flyover at the Queen’s side.

1996: The Queen visited the scene of one of the greatest tragedies in recent British history, the Dunblane Massacre.

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Princess Anne and the Queen visited Dunblane, Scotland, in 1996.

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Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter, Princess Anne, visited the small Scottish town to lay wreaths outside the school where 16 children and one teacher were shot and killed.

1998: Queen Elizabeth II joined family to celebrate the 98th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

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The Queen Mother turned 98 in 1998.

AP Photo/Louise Bullar

In this photo, the Queen Mother waves as she poses with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren outside her official residence, Clarence House.

2004: To mark the years since the death of Princess Diana, a memorial fountain was erected in London’s Hyde Park.

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Princess Diana’s memorial fountain was completed in 2004.

AP Photo/John Stillwell

The £3.6 million ($3.4 million in 2004) creation at the side of the Serpentine was surrounded by controversy, facing delays and overrunning its budget by £600,000 ($575,189.15 in 2004), as CNN reported at the time.

2007: The Queen and Prince Philip visited the White House in 2007 to attend the annual State Dinner, hosted by George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

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The Queen visited the White House in 2007.

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Bush praised the two nations’ relationship during a speech, saying that they each “hold fundamental values in common.”

“We honor our traditions and our shared history. We recognize that the strongest societies respect the rights and dignity of the individual,” he added. “We understand and accept the burdens of global leadership, and we have built our special relationship on the surest foundations: our deep and abiding love of liberty.”

2013: Malala Yousafzai met with the Queen as she attended a reception for youth, education, and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace.

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The Queen met with Malala Yousafzai in 2013.

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The Pakistani teenager, who advocates for education for girls, became the face of women’s rights in the Middle East after she survived a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012 on her way home from school.

2014: Here, the Queen walks through a field of ceramic poppies at The Tower of London in October 2014.

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The Queen walks through a field of ceramic poppies.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

The poppies were part of a ceramic poppy installation called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” which marked the centenary of the outbreak of World War I. There were 888,246 poppies in total, each one representing a British military fatality during the war.

2020: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their final appearance with the Queen as senior members of the royal family.

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The royal family departs Westminster Abbey after attending the annual Commonwealth Service in London on March 9, 2020.


Before the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world, Prince Harry and Markle shook the royal family by announcing they were stepping back from the royal family and leaving the UK. 

They marked their final appearance as senior royals for the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, where royal commentators said tensions appeared high between everyone, on March 9, 2020.

2022: The Queen unveiled her official Platinum Jubilee portrait as she celebrated an unprecedented 70 years on the throne. She died peacefully at Balmoral Castle on September 8.

The Queen smiling and sitting on a small bench in front of a large window. She's wearing a pale blue coatdress with a white and silver petal design around her collar and down the center opening.

Queen Elizabeth II official portrait in honor of her Platinum Jubilee taken at Windsor Castle released on June 1, 2022.

Ranald Mackechnie

The Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee with a four-day celebration that began with her annual birthday parade and the Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace.

She also met her granddaughter Lili for the first time as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle returned to the UK with their children for the celebrations.

The monarch died at Balmoral Castle on September 8 after Buckingham Palace said that the Queen’s doctors were concerned for her health and recommended she remain under medical supervision.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the Royal Family announced. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

On Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Charles became King and Camilla became Queen Consort.

Daniel Boan, Allison Millington, and Charles Clark contributed reporting on a previous version of this article.

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