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timeline 60 YEARS

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Explore 60 years of history with the help of our interactive timeline. From the conquest of Mount Everest to the Arab Spring and beyond, this is the story of Her Majesty’s reign.


7 February 1952: Dressed in black, The Queen sets foot on British soil for the first time since her accession as she lands at London Airport after her journey from Kenya following the death of her father, King George VI.

The Queen, followed by The Duke of Edinburgh, is seen with welcoming officials, including the Governor, Sir Ronald Garvey, at King’s Wharf, Suva, Fiji.

A car of the Royal procession passes through an ornate triumphal arch in Nuku’alofa, capital of the Kingdom of Tonga, on the island of Tongatapu.

The Queen, wearing a Korowai Cloak, symbol of paramount rank, and carrying a traditional kete (flax basket), inspects a Maori guard of honour in Rotorua, New Zealand.

The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, congratulates world champion sheep shearers, brothers Ivan and Godfrey Bowen, after watching them at work in Napier, New Zealand.

Crowds of cheering people press forward as The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh tour Stratford, New Zealand.

The Duke of Edinburgh looks on as The Queen films the scene at Prince’s Pier, Hobart, as the Gothic arrives in Tasmania. The Royal couple’s arrival coincided with the 150th anniversary of Hobart’s foundation.

Children curtsey to The Queen as she walks through a guard of honour mounted for her visit to a youth rally at Wayside Oval in Adelaide, Australia. The rally was the largest of its kind staged during the Royal tour of the Commonwealth.

A farewell message is formed by the crew of the HMAS Vengeance, the Royal Australian Navy’s flagship, to make the end of The Queen’s tour of Australia.

London’s Tower Bridge salutes the Royal Yacht Britannia as The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh return from their circumnavigation of the globe. They visited 13 countries and covered around 50,000 miles over the course of nearly seven months.


4 July 1954: Fourteen years of rationing in Britain come to an end as restrictions on the sale of various products are lifted. This picture, taken later in the same year, shows members of the Women’s Royal Army Corps taking receipt of some new “kit”.

Elvis Presley’s first record, That’s All Right, is released on 19 July 1954. The singer, soon to be crowned the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, is pictured in 1957 as he sits his pre-induction exam for service in the US Army.

6 May 1954: Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old medical student, hits the tape at Oxford’s Iffley Road Track to become the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. The benchmark had been thought impossible.


14 May 1955: The Eastern Bloc responds to West Germany’s integration into NATO by establishing the Warsaw Treaty Organisation of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance – more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact.


19 April 1956: The world watches as Hollywood movie star Grace Kelly marry Prince Rainier of Monaco.

The Suez Crisis erupts following Egypt’s decision to nationalise the Suez Canal Company. In this picture, dated 12 November 1956, the crew of HMS Theseus await orders as smoke billows up from Port Said.

17 October 1956: The Queen opens the Calder Hall nuclear power station. The plant in Cumberland is regarded as the world’s first nuclear power station to deliver electricity in commercial quantities.


21 October 1957: The Queen addresses the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, lauding the New York headquarters as a place “dedicated to peace, where representatives from all over the world meet to examine the problems of the time”.

1957: The Queen’s first televised Christmas Broadcast is streamed into a London home. “That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us,” said Her Majesty.

1970: The year 1970 marks the 200th anniversary of the voyage of Captain Cook to Australia, and The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast includes footage shot in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

1975: The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast of 1975 is broadcast from the gardens of Buckingham Palace. It is the first time the message has been recorded out of doors.

1982: The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast of 1982 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Christmas Message and is filmed in the Library of Windsor Castle for the first time.

1986: The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast of 1986 is partly filmed in the stables of the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace.

2003: The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast of 2003 is filmed at Windsor’s Combermere Barracks in recognition of the professionalism of the Armed Services. It is the first to have been recorded entirely on location outside of a Royal Residence.

2006: The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast of 2006 is filmed in Southwark Cathedral in London where Her Majesty meets children working on a Nativity collage. “The wisdom and experience of the great religions point to the need to nurture and guide the young,” The Queen says.


26 January 1963: Prince Andrew, The Queen and the corgis await a ride from Liverpool Street Station to Buckingham Palace on their return from a visit to Sandringham.

27 January 1965: The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Andrew alight from their railway carriage in London on their return from a visit to the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

17 September 1982: Prince Andrew returns home on board HMS Invincible having seen active service in the Falklands War. He was greeted with a kiss from his mother, The Queen, and a tumultuous welcome from 15,000 well-wishers.

23 July 1986: Prince Andrew kisses Sarah Ferguson on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their marriage at Westminster Abbey. At the time of their marriage, they were created The Duke and Duchess of York.

23 July 1986: Prince Andrew kisses Sarah Ferguson on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their marriage at Westminster Abbey. At the time of their marriage, they were created The Duke and Duchess of York.

The Duke and Sarah, The Duchess of York pose with their daughters Princess Eugenie (left) and Princess Beatrice (right) during a family skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps in February 2001.

The Duke of York carries out a wide range of public duties in the UK and overseas. Many are connected to his career in the Royal Navy. He is pictured, in 2005, sharing a joke with William Stone, who enlisted in the Royal Navy during the First World War.

The Duke of York has also served as the UK’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment. In 2008, His Royal Highness undertook almost 600 engagements, the majority of which concerned the promotion of British industry.

The Duke of York is passionate about enabling young people to fulfil their potential, a commitment that reflects in his ties with organisations such as the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, The Outward Bound Trust and the Sea Cadets.

2 March 1969: Concorde makes its maiden flight. The Anglo-French plane took off from Toulouse and was in the air for just 27 minutes before the pilot made the decision to land.

21 July 1970: The Queen is joined by Prince Charles and Princess Anne as she attends her first Commonwealth Games, held in Edinburgh, Scotland.

15 February 1971: Children marvel at a 50 pence piece – the world’s first seven-sided coin – as Britain decimalises its currency. Under the old currency, the pound was made up of 240 pence, with 12 pence in a shilling and 20 shillings in a pound.

1 July 1969: The investiture of The Prince of Wales takes place at Caernarfon Castle, Wales.

Prince Charles (now The Prince of Wales) was born at Buckingham Palace on 14 November 1948. He is pictured with (L-R) King George VI, Princess Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, at his christening on 15 December 1948.

18 July 1949: The Queen with Prince Charles in the grounds of Windlesham Moor, Ascot.

27 May 1955: His Royal Highness waves to crowds outside Buckingham Palace as he makes his way to Balmoral for a family holiday.

13 September 1975: Prince Charles inspects troops in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during celebrations to mark the country’s independence from Australia.

29 July 1981: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales and Diana, The Princess of Wales, make their way to Buckingham Palace in an open-top carriage following their wedding ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.

1 June 1989: The Prince and Princess of Wales with sons Prince William and Prince Harry prepare for a cycling trip during a family holiday in the Scilly Isles.

29 March 2002: The Prince of Wales with Prince William and Prince Harry during a skiing holiday in Klosters, Switzerland.

8 August 2008: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall share a joke at the Mey Highland Games in Caithness, Scotland.

As well as undertaking duties in support of The Queen, The Prince of Wales is Patron or President of around 400 organisations and works as a charitable entrepreneur with a special interest in young people, healthcare and the environment.

















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