Sixty years ago today, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth acceded to the throne on the death of her father King George VI. On the eve of this, her Diamond Jubilee, well-wishers braved the cold at her private Sandringham estate.
Celebrations today will be low key with the main events taking place in June.
Elizabeth was not always destined to become Queen. When she was born 85 years ago, her father was the younger brother of the man expected to be crowned Edward VIII. But his abdication before his coronation thrust Elizabeth’s father onto the throne and her future was sealed.
She was already married to Philip and a mother of two by the time she faced her own coronation in Westminster Abbey on June 2 1953.
Brought up to put duty and service to one’s country before everything, Queen Elizabeth’s reign has been a largely popular one although the royal family has had its critics. In 1997 after the death of Princess Diana, Elizabeth was said to have been out of touch with the public’s outpouring of grief.
Elizabeth II has been on the throne for longer than any other British monarch except for Queen Victoria and despite being in her 80s it is said she has no intention of retiring.