A Look Back At The Life Of Our Queen, Part II

Shutterstock / Shaun Jeffers © queen

This is the second part of Ian Lloyd’s tribute to the Queen, looking at the years from 1970 onwards.

This article was originally published in time for the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.

Read part one of Ian’s piece by clicking here.

The Queen marked two major anniversaries in the 1970s.

In November 1972, she and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their silver wedding with a service at Westminster Abbey.

Later in the day the two of them, accompanied by Prince Charles and Princess Anne, carried out one of the first walkabouts in this country, when they had a chance to talk to ordinary members of the public who had come out to see them.

These would become a staple part of most of the Queen’s engagements in the years that lay ahead.

The Lord Mayor of London hosted a lunch for the royal party and the Queen made one of her funniest speeches.

“I think everybody really will concede that on this, of all days, I should begin my speech with the words, ‘My husband and I’,” she began, before adding, “We, and by that I mean both of us . . .”

It was a real ice-breaker and, of course, poked fun at her habit of using that phrase in many a formal address.

Suddenly “hip” again

Five years later the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee. Many thought it would be a flop in the nation. This was, after all, the era of punk rock and rebellion against the establishment. It was certainly a far cry from the Coronation of 1953.

However, June 1977 was one of those glorious summers that shone through the Seventies and many people held street parties and made the Queen suddenly “hip” again.

Of their four children, it was Princess Anne who herself shone through this decade. In 1971 she was voted “Sports Personality of the Year” for her success at three-day eventing.

In 1973 Anne became the first of Elizabeth’s children to marry when she wed fellow rider Mark Phillips at Westminster Abbey. Four years later the princess made the Queen a grandmother with the birth of Peter Phillips in November 1977.

The 1980s saw an emphasis on the next generation. In July 1981 Prince Charles married lady Diana spencer in a lavish ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral. The world had fallen in love with “Lady Di”.

There was the birth of an heir to the Waleses. Prince William was born on June 21, 1982. The Queen, who became “Granny one” to the baby, came to see him in hospital and joked, “Thank goodness he doesn’t have his father’s ears.”

Then Prince Harry was born in September 1984.

The Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, married Sarah Ferguson in July 1986. “Fergie” was widely seen as a breath of fresh air in the Eighties.

An unexpected disaster

The 1990s proved to be an unexpected disaster for the monarchy with crisis after crisis.

The year 1992 opened on a high note with the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Queen’s accession and a new documentary, “Elizabeth R”, which showed the Queen as a hardworking woman with a deadpan sense of humour. she certainly needed it as the year progressed.

In March, Andrew and Fergie split up. In April, Anne’s divorce from Mark was finalised, but most damaging was the break-up of the marriage of Charles and Diana and the start of the so-called “war of the Waleses” when each of them tried to win over the public at the expense of the other.

Then, of course, there was the disastrous fire at Windsor Castle that November. No wonder the Queen dubbed it her “annus horribilis”.

Diana, as she said herself, was not going “to go away quietly.” Her interview with Martin Bashir on “Panorama” in which she suggested Charles wouldn’t be King was watched by 21 million people.

The Queen was horrified. She wrote separately to both her son and daughter-in-law, telling them to divorce for the sake of the monarchy.

Then, of course, in august 1997, the princess was killed in a car crash in Paris with Dodi Fayed. The Queen could not have predicted the emotion that began sweeping the country, particularly in London.

Finally, after a week of negative and damaging headlines, the Queen saved the day by arriving early in the capital for the funeral, calling to pay her respects at Diana’s coffin, mixing with the crowds and addressing the nation live on the eve of the funeral.

The nation rallied to support the monarch

The new century got off to a dutiful start for Elizabeth. on New Year’s Eve she went to open the new Millennium Dome alongside Prime Minister Tony Blair.

There was more sadness for the Queen when her sister Princess Margaret died in February 2002 followed six weeks later by their mother, Queen Elizabeth, at the remarkable age of one hundred and one.

The nation rallied to support the monarch who now moved up to being the matriarch of the family.

The crowds came out in force for the Golden Jubilee celebrations that June and the Queen was moved to tears.

Her youngest son Edward married Sophie Rhys Jones in 1999. And this royal union proved to be a genuine love match.

The couple gave the Queen her youngest grandchildren, Lady Louise, born in 2003. A brother, James, Viscount Severn, arrived four years later.

Although the relationship of Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles proved a little difficult for the Queen, there were no such problems with the wedding of her grandson Prince William to Catherine Middleton.

As with Sophie, “Kate” came from a solid middle-class background and had dated the prince for many years, so they had developed a great partnership even before they reached the altar.

The next few years would see more joy

The next few years would see more joy with the births of five greatgrandchildren. only one monarch before – Queen Victoria – had lived to see a great-grandson who would one day be King.

Elizabeth was one of the first to visit Prince George of Cambridge, born in 2013, and his sister, Charlotte, who arrived in 2015.

By this time the Queen and Prince Philip were breaking records nearly every year. They marked their Diamond wedding in 2007 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

In September 2015 Elizabeth became the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

By her side is Prince Philip, the man she calls “my strength and stay,” who will be ninety-five that day.

She once said about the help the Duke has given her over the years, “I couldn’t have done it without him.”

The people of these islands and countless overseas territories could easily echo these words to the Queen
at ninety.

“Have two very happy birthdays, Ma’am. We couldn’t have done it without you!”

For more fascinating features from “The People’s Friend”, click here.

Iain McDonald

Iain is Digital Content Editor at the "Friend", making him responsible for managing flow of interesting and entertaining content on the magazine's website and social media channels.