A Queen that needs to be seen to be believed
Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V. Her father, the Duke of York (later King George VI), was the second son of the King.
Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in July 1939; Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—said she fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters. She was 21 when their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.
In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6 February 1952, while still in Kenya, news arrived of the death of the King and consequently Elizabeth’s immediate accession to the throne. Philip broke the news to the new queen. She chose to retain Elizabeth as her name; thus, she was called Elizabeth II.
In August 1997, a year after the divorce of Diana Spencer from her son Charles, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. For the five days consecutive to Diana’s death, the Queen and her consort shielded their grandsons – Princes William and Harry – from the intense press interest by keeping them at Balmoral where they could grieve in private; however, the royal family’s silence and seclusion caused public dismay. Pressured by the hostile reaction, the Queen agreed to return to London and do a live television broadcast on September 5th – the day before Diana’s funeral. In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana and her feelings “as a grandmother” for the two princes. As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.
On 19 March 2020, the Queen moved to Windsor Castle and sequestered there as a precaution, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United Kingdom. Public engagements were canceled and Windsor Castle followed a strict sanitary protocol. On 5 April, in a televised broadcast, she asked people to “take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return”. She added: “we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again”.
After 73 years of marriage, Philip died on 9 April 2021. She was reportedly at her husband’s bedside when he died and remarked, in private, that his death “left a huge void“.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee began on 6 February 2022, marking 70 years since she acceded to the throne on her father’s death. In her Accession Day message, Elizabeth renewed her commitment to a lifetime of public service, which she originally made in 1947.
The Queen does not intend to abdicate; although, Prince Charles began to take on more of her duties as she grew older and began carrying out fewer public engagements.
set out for= si misero in viaggio
by way of= passando attraverso per
to retain= mantenere
grieve in private= compiangersi in privato
live television broadcast= una trasmissione televisiva dal vivo
evaporated= svanì nel nulla
sequestered= si rinchiuse
as a precaution= come precauzione
public engagements= incontri pubblici
take comfort= prender conforto
reportedly= così ci è stato riferito
remarked= fece un commento
huge void= grosso vuoto
marking= che segnano
take on= accollarsi
carrying out= svolgere