iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for Queen Elizabeth II

Listen now 12 mins

Listen in pop-out player

Queen Elizabeth II

12 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 07 September 2012

The New Elizabethans: Queen Elizabeth II who celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this year.

As the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom after Queen Victoria, she has been served by a total of twelve different Prime Ministers and has witnessed tremendous social, political and cultural changes, including the transformation of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Queen and her family have adapted to increased public scrutiny and media interest during that time, allowing cameras to film behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, meeting ordinary people during the first walkabout in 1970 and even in 2012 participating in the opening ceremony of the Olympics where The Queen met her most famous spy, James Bond.

Despite criticism after the death of Diana, The Queen's position has not weakened but strengthened. In an address to Parliament in 2012, she paid a rare public tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, her "constant strength and guide" and in her Diamond Jubilee message said she hoped "this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart."

The New Elizabethans have been chosen by a panel of leading historians, chaired by Lord (Tony) Hall, Chief Executive of London's Royal Opera House. The panellists were Dominic Sandbrook, Bamber Gascoigne, Sally Alexander, Jonathan Agar, Maria Misra and Sir Max Hastings.

They were asked to choose: "Men and women whose actions during the reign of Elizabeth II have had a significant impact on lives in these islands and/or given the age its character, for better or worse.".


    Frank Gillard despatch from Nairobi on the Death of King George VI, BBC Radio, broadcast on 06/02/1952.

    Coronation commentary by Norman Hartnell of The Queen arriving at Westminster Abbey from Carry on up the Fifties: The New Elizabethans, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 15/11/1989.

    The Queen speaking on Children’s Hour in 1940 broadcast on 13/10/1940.

    The Beatles “She Loves You” for the Royal Command Performance performed at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London, in the presence of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret on 04/11/1963.

    Ronald ALLISON reporting from Sydney about Royal Tour broadcast on BBC TV on 03/05/1970.

    The Queen speaking at Guildhall broadcast on PM, BBC Radio 4 on 24/11/1992.

    The Queen speaking at Dublin Castle, on her visit to the Irish Republic, broadcast on BBC TV on 18/05/2011.

    Music: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Hwv 351: IV Le Rejouissance from The Very Best Of Handel CD, Naxos label, 2005.


    The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy by Ben Pimlott published by HarperCollins, 2002, ISBN-10: 0007114362.
    Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times by Sarah Bradford published by Viking, 2011, ISBN-10: 067091911X.
    The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People by Andrew Marr, published by Macmillan, 2011, ISBN-10: 023074852X.
    Queen Elizabeth II: A Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Album by Jane Roberts published by The Royal Collection, 2011, ISBN-10: 1905686404


Featured in...

  • The Queen

    A collection of programmes and clips about Queen Elizabeth II

Free download

  1. Image for The New Elizabethans

    The New Elizabethans

    To mark Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, James Naughtie introduces the 60 new Elizabethans who…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss