Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, which celebrates her 70th anniversary on the British throne, is above all a tribute to one of history’s great feats of permanence.
Her reign spanned virtually the entire post-WWII era, witnessing cultural upheavals from the Beatles to Brexit, technological advances from wireless radio to Zoom, political leaders from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson.
From the sepia-toned images of her coronation in 1953 to her emotional televised address to a nation in the grips of the pandemic in 2020, the Queen has been a feature of British life for as long as most Britons have been alive.
Their triumphs – historic visits to South Africa and Ireland – have given the country a boost. Her worries – the tense days following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris or the Covid-enforced isolation of her grief for her late husband Prince Philip – have become the worries of the nation.
Perhaps no living person has met so many famous people, a gallery of heroes and villains ranging from Nelson Mandela to Vladimir V Putin. But it’s her countless encounters with ordinary people that have left perhaps the most lasting impression on Britain’s longest-serving monarch in history.
The following photos are a small representation of her reign:
The Queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with one of her corgis in September 1952.
She was 25 when she ascended the throne in 1952.
Riding in front of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh en route to Horse Guards Parade in London for a Trooping of the Color ceremony in May 1956.
Attending a dinner with Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine in April 1955 at 10 Downing Street, London.
The Queen on a royal tour of Nigeria in 1956.
A motorcade taking Queen Elizabeth along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House in Washington on her first trip to the United States as British monarch in 1957.
Elizabeth and Philip with their three children – Prince Charles (right), Princess Anne (left) and Prince Andrew – at Balmoral in September 1960.
Troop review with Federal President Heinrich Lübke in May 1965.
Riding an elephant after a tiger hunt, part of a royal tour of Nepal in February 1961.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the Berlin Wall during a visit to West Germany in May 1965.
With Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia at Tisisat Falls in February 1965.
Flying back from a visit to Yorkshire in a photograph taken during filming of the documentary ‘Royal Family’ in 1969.
Elizabeth and Philip leave Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan during a visit to Canada in 1978.
At the British Embassy in Kuwait in February 1979.
Tour of Nizwa Fort in Oman in February 1979.
Queen Elizabeth with Prime Minister Edward Heath of Great Britain, left, and President Richard Nixon and the First Lady, Patricia Nixon, at Checkers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence, in 1970.
At Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea, October 1982.
Riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle with President Ronald Reagan during his State Visit to England in 1982.
Queen Elizabeth with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl (left), President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at Buckingham Palace in 1984.
In the mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor in Xi’an, China in 1986.
With Prince William and Prince Harry at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor in 1987.
Visit to maternity patient Molly Mavunda and her four-day-old baby boy Caswell at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1995.
With South African President Nelson Mandela at Buckingham Palace in July 1996.
Shaking hands with Innu women during a visit to Sheshatshiu in central Labrador, Canada, June 1997.
Viewing the floral tributes and other memorabilia to the late Diana, Princess of Wales at Buckingham Palace in September 1997.
With pop band The Spice Girls at the Victoria Palace Theater in London in 1997.
Queen Elizabeth with Russian President Vladimir V Putin en route to Buckingham Palace in 2003.
Visited the Royal Albert Hall in London to complete the restoration work in 2004.
The Queen received a scroll from Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum at Southwark Cathedral, London, where she attended a funeral blessing for Mahomet Weyonomon, an Indian chief of the Mohegan tribe who died in 1736 and was buried in an unmarked grave in the grounds, in 2006.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador to London, in 2011.
Planting a tree in Dublin in 2011 as Irish President Mary McAleese looks on at the first visit by a British monarch since 1911.
Seated next to Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue; Angela Kelly, a royal dressmaker; and Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, at the Richard Quinn runway show in London in 2018.
Queen Elizabeth with Charles, the Prince of Wales, center right, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, second right, at the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords in Westminster in 2019.
At a D-Day commemoration event in Portsmouth, England, with President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in June 2019.
The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in June 2019 during the Queen’s annual birthday parade.
Welcoming President Joe Biden and First Lady, Jill Biden, at Windsor Castle in 2021.
At the funeral of Prince Philip, who died aged 99, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle in 2021.
She drives her Range Rover during the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle in 2021.
The Queen meets with staff from London’s Crossrail project at Paddington Station in May.
The Queen with one of her dogs, a Corgi named Candy, at Windsor Castle in February.