Magazine

Queen Elizabeth II, 63 years in 63 pictures

  • 9 September 2015
  • From the section Magazine

Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning monarch in British history on the evening of 9 September 2015. To mark the event we present an image from the archives of the Press Association from every year of her reign.

1952

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II, in a black mourning outfit, waves as she returns to Clarence House in London the day after she became Queen. Princess Elizabeth, then just 25, was thousands of miles away in Kenya when her father King George VI died.

1953

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Image caption After her coronation in Westminster Abbey, London, Queen Elizabeth II is seen wearing the St Edward's Crown.

1954

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Image caption Prince Charles and Princess Anne with their parents, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their return from the Commonwealth tour.

1955

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II is seen at Doncaster Racecourse to see the St Leger. An avid racing fan, she began riding lessons at the age of three and is renowned for her knowledge of thoroughbreds and breeding.

1956

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II walks through Windsor Great Park with Prince Charles to watch the Duke of Edinburgh play polo.

1957

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II in the Long Library at Sandringham after making the first televised Christmas Day broadcast to the nation. The Queen is holding the copy of Pilgrim's Progress from which she read a few lines during her message.

1958

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Image caption The Queen is seen here during her visit to Rothes Colliery, Fife, it was her first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face.

1959

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Image caption The monarch has been a frequent visitor at the three-day Badminton Horse Trials for many years.

1960

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Image caption Prince Andrew became the first child to be born to a reigning monarch for 103 years.

1961

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Image caption With the Prince of Wales out riding at Windsor Castle.

1962

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Image caption The leopard-skin coat worn at a Sandown Park race ensemble has since been consigned to the wardrobe after conservationists urged her not to wear it - but she has been spotted in other fur coats and hats over the years.

1963

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Image caption Riding side-saddle the Queen returns to Buckingham Palace after attending the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade. She has appeared at her annual birthday parade every year of her reign, except for 1955 when a national rail strike cancelled the event, she began riding in a carriage in 1987.

1964

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Image caption The Queen inspects the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Coldstream Guards, at Windsor.

1965

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II, baby Prince Edward, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh, in the gardens of Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire, as they celebrate the Queen's 39th birthday. The same pram was used to ferry the Queen's great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte to her christening in July 2015.

1966

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Image caption The House of Lords during the opening of Parliament on the Queen's 40th birthday. The Queen has only missed two of the ceremonies during her reign - in 1959 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and in 1963 when she was expecting Prince Edward.

1967

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Image caption The Queen at the garden party in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London, to mark the 50th anniversary of women in active service, during World War One. She was in uniform herself when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and became No 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor. She learned to drive and qualified in April 1945 and was promoted to Junior Commander.

1968

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Image caption With the WD Barnetson, Chairman of the Press Association, looking at a collection of Royal images from the archive during a reception in Guildhall, London, marking the centenary of the Press Association.

1969

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II formally invests her son Prince Charles with the Coronet of the Prince of Wales during a ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. He actually took on the title when he was nine, but the Queen insisted the ceremony should wait until he fully understood its significance.

1970

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Minister Edward Heath (second right) and American President Richard Nixon and his wife Pat Nixon at Chequers, Buckinghamshire. Since the Queen came to the throne, there have been 13 US presidents and she has met every one except Lyndon B Johnson.


1971

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Image caption The Chelsea Flower Show in London is a regular fixture in the royal calendar. The Queen usually attends each year, the Prince of Wales - a keen gardener - has picked up several silver medals for his own gardens at the show.


1972

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Image caption The Queen in her study at Balmoral on the year of her silver wedding anniversary. Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, the Queen receives official papers nearly every day of every year and her working day begins at her desk.


1973

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Image caption Sitting with her corgis at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip, in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show. The Queen has owned more than 30 corgis, with many of them direct descendants from her first one Susan. Now she has only two - Holly and Willow - but she will not be getting any more as she does not want to leave any young dogs behind.

1974

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Image caption The Queen and Princess Anne in Buckingham Palace meeting people decorated for their bravery after going to Anne's assistance during an attempt to kidnap her as she was driven back to the Palace along Pall Mall. When armed kidnapper Ian Ball, who was going to demand £3 million from the Queen for her release, demanded Anne get out of the car, she retorted that his plot was not "bloody likely" to work.

1975

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Image caption The Queen is seen beside an oak sapling which she planted in the garden of the government guesthouse in Tokyo, after it had been brought to Japan from Windsor Castle. Tree planting is a staple part of royal duties and the monarch has planted hundreds all over the world during her reign.

1976

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Image caption The royal couple are pictured during their traditional summer break at Balmoral Castle. The highland retreat is one of the Queen's favourite places and each year she heads off to Scotland for the summer. "It is rather nice to hibernate for a bit when one leads such a moveable life," she once said.

1977

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Image caption The Queen marked 25 years on the throne with a busy UK tour - visiting 36 counties over 10 weeks, as well as travelling 56,000 miles around the world in celebration.

1978

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II with a Jersey cow presented to her at the Country Show at Le Petit Catelet, Saint John, Jersey. An exotic range of live animals have been given to the Queen as gifts over the years, including a canary from Germany, jaguars and sloths from Brazil, two black beavers from Canada, two young giant turtles from the Seychelles and an elephant called Jumbo from the Cameroon. They were placed in the care of London Zoo.

1979

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Image caption In 1979 she visited Oman, and is seen here during a walkabout in Muscat.

1980

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Image caption The Queen and some of her corgis walk the Cross Country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials.

1981

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Image caption The monarch usually attends the Royal Ascot race meeting each year and has owned 22 winners.

1982

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Image caption The Queen often gets behind the lens herself to take photos of the Duke of Edinburgh carriage driving and while on tour. Here she is taking photographs with her gold Rollei camera during her visit to the South Sea Islands of Tuvalu.

1983

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visiting the Indian President Zail Singh at his palace in New Delhi. The Queen has travelled to some 129 different countries during her reign so far, but does not have a passport because British passports are issued in her name.

1984

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Image caption A formal picture of the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince and Princess of Wales after the christening ceremony of Prince Harry. The Queen has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

1985

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II taking the salute of the Household Guards regiments during the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London.

1986

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Bedaling Pass, on the Great Wall of China, on the third day of their state visit to China. No British monarch had ever travelled to mainland China, let alone walked the Great Wall so the Queen's trip in October 1986 made history.

1987

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Image caption At a reception and banquet in Berlin's Charlottenburg Castle after arriving with the Duke of Edinburgh for a two-day visit to join in the city's 750th anniversary celebrations. She was first pictured wearing reading glasses in 1977.

1988

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Image caption Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with Queen Elizabeth II in the traditional carriage procession along the course at Royal Ascot.

1989

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Image caption The Queen with US President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy at Buckingham Palace in London. The Queen and the former film star shared a love of horses and were once pictured riding together at Windsor.

1990

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.

1991

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II gesturing to Ruud Lubbers, Prime Minister of the Netherlands and President of the EC Council of Ministers, to sit on an empty chair after the Duke of Edinburgh was absent, as the leaders of the G7 Summit countries gathered for a pre-dinner photocall in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, London.

1992

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II surveying the scene at Windsor Castle following a fire. She dubbed the year her "annus horribilis" as it also saw the Princess Royal divorce and both the Duke and Duchess of York and the Prince and Princess of Wales separate.

1993

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Image caption The Queen, with Chief Instructor Lt-Col George Harvey, firing the last shot on a standard SA 80 rifle when she attended the centenary of the Army Rifle Association at Bisley.

1994

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Image caption French President Francois Mitterand and Queen Elizabeth II prepare to cut the ribbon at the new terminal for the Channel Tunnel at Coquelles, France.

1995

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Image caption South Africa's President Nelson Mandela greets Queen Elizabeth II as she steps from the royal yacht Britannia in Cape Town at the official start of the her first visit to the country since 1947.

1996

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath at the gates of Dunblane Primary School after one of the deadliest firearms incidents in UK history. Gunman Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and one teacher at the school near Stirling, Scotland on 13 March before committing suicide.

1997

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II inspecting an Indian Forces' Honour guard at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy's Palace and Secretariat) in the centre of New Delhi, India, in a visit that marked the 50th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain.

1998

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II, Colonel-in-Chief of the Corps of the Royal Engineers, looking though a Theodolite during her visit to the 42 Engineer Regiment at Denison Barracks in Hermitage, Berkshire.

1999

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Image caption The Queen joining Mrs Susan McCarron for tea in her home in the Castlemilk area of Glasgow, as the royal family experimented with a more intimate, informal approach of meeting the public. The monarch is a fan of Earl Grey tea with milk, but no sugar.

2000

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II (left) and the Queen Mother leaving church by horse-drawn carriage on the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk. The Queen was close to her mother, whom she called "Mummy", and they shared a passion for everything equestrian and enjoyed talking about the turf.

2001

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen Vic pub during a visit to Elstree Studios where EastEnders is filmed. She was accompanied by long-standing cast member Barbara Windsor (Peggy Mitchell) and her character's on-screen son Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell).

2002

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II enjoying a walkabout after visiting the Old Government House in Fredericton, New Brunswick during her two-week royal visit to Canada.

2003

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II and Berry the corgi pose with the England rugby squad, at a reception at Buckingham Palace in London to celebrate winning the Rugby World Cup.

2004

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Image caption The Queen lays a wreath at the Neue Wache Memorial, a tribute to victims of war and tyranny, in Berlin at the start of her three-day state visit to Germany.

2005

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Image caption The Prince of Wales leaving St George's Chapel in Windsor after marrying Camilla Parker-Bowles, making her an HRH and the Duchess of Cornwall. Queen Elizabeth II attended their religious blessing but was not present at their civil ceremony. The monarch told guests in a speech at the wedding reception that her son was "home and dry with the woman he loves".

2006

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Image caption In the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace in London looking at some of the cards which were sent to her for her 80th birthday

2007

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh revisiting Broadlands in Hampshire, where they spent their wedding night in November 1947, to mark their diamond wedding anniversary.

2008

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II addresses a state banquet at Windsor Castle at the start of a two-day state visit by President Sarkozy.

2009

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Image caption Planting a tree at Newmarket Animal Health Trust during a royal visit which marked her 50th year as the charity's patron.

2010

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II talking with Pope Benedict XVI during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh during a four-day visit by the Pope to the UK.

2011

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Image caption During a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, the Queen laid a wreath next to a section of the Armed Forces Memorial where the names of servicemen killed in 2010 are inscribed. The memorial bears the names of more than 15,000 servicemen and women killed on duty since the end of World War Two

2012

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Image caption On stage outside Buckingham Palace in London with Charles, Camilla and a host of pop stars at the Diamond Jubilee concert during celebrations to mark her 60 years as sovereign.

2013

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Image caption Queen Elizabeth II joining The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS) for a group photograph during her visit to Howe Barracks in Canterbury, Kent.

2014

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Image caption Actress Angelina Jolie (right) being presented with the Insignia of an Honorary Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace, London.

2015

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Image caption So there we are, a 63-year reign in 63 images.