As we wait for news about Queen Elizabeth II, let’s reflect on the word “queen.” We use it loosely to describe a person who is strong, charismatic and true to themselves. A leader. A force.
And in some respects we do that because of THE queen, now “resting comfortably” at Balmoral Castle. The woman who has ruled for 70 years through ups and downs, deaths and divorces. Fires and family embarrassments.
She is from a generation of women who were only expected to support their husbands, raise their children and bake perfect pies. But she embraced the job thrust upon her at age 25 when her father, King George VI, died. It’s a role with lots of rules and regs. Pomp and protocol. And, yes, perks, too. But it was never her choice. She stepped up and never stepped down, even in these last few years as her age began to show.
She evolved the role with the times—creating the walkabout decades ago and bringing television cameras into the palace. More recently she was the first in her family to tweet and have a Facebook account. She played along with Daniel Craig, pretending to arrive at the London 2012 Olympics by helicopter.
She shook hands with world leaders and visited factory workers and seemed just as pleased to be doing both. She cleverly crafted a fashion style that allowed her to be picked out in a crowd from half a kilometre away. And it wasn’t because she wanted attention. It was about the duty she undertook so profoundly—to serve the institution of the monarchy and the people of Great Britain.
She is also, of course, a wife, mom, grandma and great-grandma.
And through it all, truly a queen.
Below, we look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s life lived in style over the past 70 years, and some of her most iconic fashion moments: