Shakespeare once said: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,” and that is no doubt true about the way Queen Elizabeth II must feel some of the time. Not only did her actual crown weigh a hefty 2.3 pounds, but along with being the British sovereign and head of the Church of England, she also fulfilled many other roles — all very much in the public eye.
In light of her passing, we thought we’d take a look back at her 70 years as sovereign of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms and consider the woman beneath the jewels and finery, especially at the many other “hats” she wore during her impressive reign.
The Queen adored her father, King George VI, and the day she became the queen would have been the most painful in her young life. Not only had she lost her beloved Papa, she would have felt overwhelmed taking on such a huge role as sovereign while also being a young wife and mother.
The sovereign also rose through the ranks since her first posting all those decades ago, at the time of her death she acted as colonel-in-chief to 16 different British army regiments — a role she took most seriously. And of course, she could still be seen behind the wheel of the car not long before she passed away.
As a princess, the young Elizabeth took to the air waves for the first time in 1940 to give some encouragement to the nation’s children who’d also left their homes during the Blitz. Her following message was broadcast and played on Children’s Hour:
Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you, as we know from experience what it means to be away from those you love most of all. To you living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.”
Elizabeth II also made many other addresses over the years: from her Christmas addresses to occasional addresses to offer support to the British public in tough times.