The Queen has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
Her Majesty continues to carry out a full programme of engagements, from visits to charities and schools, to hosting visiting Heads of State, to leading the nation in Remembrance and celebratory events – all supported by other members of the Royal Family.
The Queen sees public and voluntary service as one of the most important elements of her work. The Queen has links – as Royal Patron or President – with over 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations. These vary from well-established international charities to smaller bodies working in a specialist area or on a local basis only.
Her patronages and charities cover a wide range of issues, from opportunities for young people, to the preservation of wildlife and the environment. Having Her Majesty as Royal patron or president provides vital publicity for the work of these organisations, and allows their enormous achievements and contributions to society to be recognised.
I think I speak for my generation when I say that the example and continuity provided by The Queen is not only very rare among leaders but a great source of pride and reassurance.
The Duke of Cambridge
Her Majesty supports and encourages achievement in all walks of life through the annual programme of Investitures (at which she presents members of the general public with their honours), Garden Parties, receptions and other awards given in her name, which allow her to say ‘thank you’ to all those who have contributed to the life of the nation and the Commonwealth.
The Queen carries out all of her duties against the backdrop of a full personal life which has seen her raise four children and welcome grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren to the Royal Family. The Duke of Edinburgh has been – in her own words – her ‘strength and stay’ during her reign, whilst other members of the Royal Family continue to offer vital support through their work in the UK and overseas.
In this section we look at Her Majesty’s extraordinary life and reign: from a young girl who did not expect to be Queen, to an iconic and celebrated figure who has ruled for more than 60 years.