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Seventy Years of Change – Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

Twenty-five years ago, as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations, Queen Elizabeth addressed Parliament and said “Change is a constant, managing it has become an expanding discipline. The way we embrace it defines our future.”

As we now come to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II as the longest-reigning British monarch in history and her Platinum Jubilee, we take a look at just some of the world-changing events over the past 70 years. Many of these continue to have an impact.

 

Technology

While steeped in tradition, the Queen has embraced many technological advances during her reign.

The Queen’s coronation was the first to be broadcast live on television. 27 million people in the UK (out of a population of 36 million) watched the ceremony, and 11 million more listened on the radio.

The Queen has seen the launch of mobile phones, the internet and social media.

To mark the opening of a new Science Museum gallery, the Queen sent her first Tweet in October 2014. It read: “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.”

Follow The Royal Family on Twitter @RoyalFamily

 

Health

Albeit some recent mobility challenges, Queen Elizabeth II has experienced good health throughout her reign. Long Live the Queen, by British culturalist Bryan Kozlowski explores how the Queen eats, stays on top of work, spends leisure time, and navigates both family and professional relationships, managing to do it all while aging gracefully.

This video from the Royal Society of Medicine celebrates the eight extraordinary medical breakthroughs during The Queen’s 70-year reign, from the discovery of DNA through to 3D printing of organs.

 

Travel

The words “God save the queen” were spoken in space for the first time when British astronaut Tim Peake uttered the famous phrase in a video message sent to Earth on 31 December 31, 2015.

During her reign the Queen has travelled far and wide, experiencing the ever-changing advancements in travel from the first motorway to air travel. We haven’t yet seen a member of a monarchy travel to space, but it could certainly happen within our lifetimes!

Since her first tour in the winter of 1953-4, in Australia, the Queen has travelled extensively during her reign. This Telegraph article highlights many of her trips – over 1 million miles of travel!

From steam trains to the HS2 high-speed rail line linking London to the North West, the UK’s railways have also seen significant changes over the past 70 years. To honour Queen Elizabeth II, the new high-frequency suburban passenger rail service in London (Heathrow to Reading), the Elizabeth Line was named after her majesty who officially open the line on 17 May 2022.

 

New Elizabeth line of London tube network, England

 

The EU and the Commonwealth

The European Committee was formed in 1972 intending to promote trade, travel and cooperation with Europe. The United Kingdom was admitted in 1973, and in 2016 the country voted to leave the European Committee’s successor, the European Union. The impact of these changes is now becoming evident.

At the start of her reign, Britain had more than 70 territories overseas. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, the British Empire slowly experienced a wave of decolonization. Today, just 16 countries are known as Commonwealth realms.

 

LGBTQ+ and Women’s Rights

In 1967, both abortion and homosexuality were legalized in the UK. Decades later, the Queen was reportedly “elated” to sign the royal assent to the decree legalizing same-gender marriage (in 2015). In 2016 the Queen’s cousin Ivor Mountbatten came out as the first openly gay member of the British royal family, and Prince William made history by appearing on the cover of a gay publication.

At the State Opening of Parliament in 2017, the speech included an important statement of support in tackling discrimination, “My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability, or sexual orientation” said Queen Elizabeth.