London – Westminster Abbey played a major role throughout the long life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
– 1934: Princess bridesmaid –
In her first major appearance at the abbey, the eight-year-old princess Elizabeth of York was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her uncle prince George, duke of Kent, and princess Marina of Greece and Denmark on November 29.
It was the first royal wedding to be broadcast by radio.
– 1937: Father’s coronation –
Her father was crowned King George VI on May 12, five months after his brother King Edward VIII abdicated.
“I thought it all very, very wonderful,” the 11-year-old princess Elizabeth said in a handwritten account.
“At the end the service got rather boring as it was all prayers.”
Afterwards, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret helped themselves to “sandwiches, stuffed rolls, orangeade, and lemonade”.
– 1947: Elizabeth marries Philip –
The November 20 wedding lifted some of the post-war gloom.
Having renounced his Greek and Danish titles, Philip was created the Duke of Edinburgh.
The ceremony was broadcast by BBC radio to 200 million people around the world.
So soon after World War II, Philip’s three surviving sisters, who married German princes, could not attend.
Princess Elizabeth still needed ration coupons to buy the satin for her Norman Hartnell dress.
– 1953: The coronation –
The June 2 coronation saw Queen Elizabeth make the sacred vows of lifelong service that she upheld throughout her reign.
It was the first televised coronation and for many it was the first time they had watched TV.
Some 27 million out of Britain’s 36 million population did so. It was also filmed in colour and experimental 3D.
The service lasted almost three hours. There were 8,251 guests, crammed into temporary tiers, while 129 nations and territories were officially represented.
In 2018, the sovereign described the Gold State Coach ride as “horrible”.
– 1960: Margaret gets married –
Queen Elizabeth’s sister Princess Margaret was talked out of marrying equerry Peter Townsend in 1953, as he was divorced.
She married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones on May 6 with their artsy friends in attendance.
Prince Philip walked Margaret down the aisle.
The Earl and Countess of Snowdon drifted apart and divorced in 1978.
– 1973: Anne’s wedding –
Princess Anne was the first of Queen Elizabeth’s children to wed, marrying army lieutenant Mark Phillips on November 14 in a ceremony televised globally.
Unusually, Phillips, an Olympic gold medal-winning equestrian, did not take a title. The couple divorced in 1992.
– 1986: Andrew and Fergie –
After Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981, Queen Elizabeth’s second son Prince Andrew married fun-loving Sarah Ferguson, a major’s daughter.
The couple have two children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. They divorced in 1996.
– 1997: Diana’s funeral –
Queen Elizabeth was criticised for her seemingly stand-offish response to Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris.
Nearly a million people lined the streets, while an estimated 2.5 billion people watched the September 6 service on television.
When the cortege passed Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth publicly bowed her head.
Diana’s brother Charles Spencer rebuked the royal family in his eulogy. The Windsors took note and gradually began to modernise.
– 2002: Queen Mother’s funeral –
The April 9 funeral of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother marked the end of an era. Aged 101, the royal matriarch was the last empress of India and a link to a bygone age.
Coming two months after Margaret died, the death sparked an outpouring of public sympathy for the monarch, after years of hostility over Diana’s death.
– 2011: William and Kate –
On April 29, the biggest royal wedding in a generation was watched by up to two billion people worldwide and helped breathe new life into Britain’s monarchy after years of crisis.
Queen Elizabeth allowed William to rip up the stuffy original guest list and start again, bringing in more of their own friends.
– 2013: Coronation anniversary –
The service to mark 60 years since her coronation was the last major personal anniversary Queen Elizabeth attended at Westminster Abbey.
The queen smiled as she paused by the Coronation Chair that she sat in 60 years beforehand.
– 2022: Prince Philip memorial –
The queen was last at the abbey in March, for a delayed memorial service to her late husband Prince Philip, who died in April 2021, aged 99.
But her appearance was overshadowed by outrage at her second son Prince Andrew helping her to her seat, just weeks after settling a US civil claim for sexual assault.