Queen Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest serving monarch and celebrates her 90th birthday on 21st April!
Not only is Queen Elizabeth II Britain’s longest serving monarch she’s actually the longest lived as well after passing Queen Victoria’s 81 years. She’ll even get to celebrate her 90th birthday all over again on her official birthday on Saturday 11th June!
The Royal Life
Over her lifetime the Queen has seen many changes and important events in the United Kingdom. So, in honour of her 90 years, let’s take a look at some of them.
Elizabeth was only 2 years old when women finally received the right to vote in the Representation of the People Act in 1928.
Since then Elizabeth has seen important laws like the equal pay act and the sexual discrimination act that ensure fair and equal treatment for female workers. And the first female British Prime Minister was elected in 1979 when Elizabeth was 53.
Elizabeth was a young woman during World War II and stayed in Britain throughout the war despite suggestions from politicians that the princesses should be evacuated to Canada. Not only did the war have an enormous social and economic impact on Britain, its end also marked the beginning of the decline of the British Empire.
By the time Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1953 the British Empire had already begun its transformation into the Commonwealth of Nations and her role as the head of multiple independent states such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand was already established.
Throughout her reign more and more of the territories and colonies of the British Empire declared their independence finally culminating in Hong Kong’s (Britain’s last major overseas territory) return to China in 1997.
And it’s not just overseas territories that have changed. Northern Ireland was self-governing had its own parliament and prime minister until 1972 after the escalating violence of The Troubles convinced the British government suspend the Northern Irish government. It wasn’t until 1998 that the Northern Irish National assembly was established.
Actually, 1998 was also a big year for Scotland and Wales as the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly were established!
In 1971 The UK switched to a decimal based currency, forever making our money make much more sense (and be easier to count).
In 2012 London hosted the Olympics for the second time in Elizabeth’s lifetime (1908 and 1948). The opening ceremony celebrated British history and culture covered topics from the Industrial Revolution, World War II, celebrated British children’s literature, popular British music, and even included a short film with a cameo by the Queen and James Bond!
Moby claims that this is the email the Queen sent but we have it on good authority that it was Tim.
The Queen hasn’t just seen societal change during her lifetime but a huge technological change as well. She’s considered the the first head of state to have used email after she sent her first message over ARPANET – the forerunner to today’s Internet in 1976 at a technology demonstration.
The very first British television broadcast was in 1929, when the queen was only 3 years old, but it wasn’t until the 1950s and 60s that televisions began to be common. The BBC even stopped broadcasting during WWII and people relied on the radio instead.
Although cars and phones existed before the Queen was born they were radically different to the smart phones, which are basically tiny computers in your pocket, and environmentally conscious hybrid cars you find today.
For example, according to futurist Michio Kaku a modern smartphone has more computing power than all of NASA in 1969 – when NASA was sending missions to the Moon!
Medicine has taken leaps and bounds in the last 90 years. For example penicillin was discovered in 1928 and the first vaccine for measles was created in 1963. MRIs, CAT scans and other medical technologies and advancements now help people live long and healthy lives.
Computers and the Internet are probably the most drastic change in the Queen’s lifetime. Especially in such a small amount of time. Personal computers (the kind you’d have in your home) only really started to become available in the late 1970s and now they’re a part of everyday life in the Western world.
Similarly, the Internet has connected the people from all across the world and given people access to huge swathes of information. It’s been a huge cultural and technological phenomenon.
And without it you wouldn’t have BrainPOP!
Wow! It’s been a busy 90 years! Happy birthday Elizabeth – after all that we hope you get to put your feet up and have a cup of tea!