What Was Queen Elizabeth Doing When She Was Your Age?


Queen Elizabeth II is perhaps one of the most important figures of the 20th and 21st century. Having been the queen of the United Kingdom for over 60 years, she’s had a very full life in public service and in the public eye. Here are a few highlights:


  • She was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (who would later become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, respectively) on April 21, 1926.

Age 1

  • She was cared for by her grandparents and nurse, Clara Knight, as her parents visited Australia and New Zealand.
  • She had a paddle steamer named after her to commemorate her birth, which played a crucial part in Operation Dynamo, the Dunkirk rescue.

Age 2

  • A waxwork of Princess Elizabeth was created at Madame Tussaud’s.
Princess Elizabeth Age 2 Getty Images

Then-Princess Elizabeth, age 2. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Age 3

  • She appeared on the cover of TIME magazine.

Age 4

  • She gained a sister when Princess Margaret was born.
  • Sir Edward Elgar dedicated one of his final compositions to her.

Age 5

Queen Elizabeth Age 5 Getty Images

Then-Princess Elizabeth, age 5. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She was a bridesmaid for the wedding of Captain Henry Abel-Smith and Lady May Cambridge.

Age 6

  • She became a homeowner. She moved with her family to the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park after it was gifted to her by the people of Wales.

Age 7

Princess Elizabeth Age 7 Getty Images

Then-Princess Elizabeth, age 5. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She watched her father, King George V, deliver the first Christmas Day speech.
  • She was photographed performing a Nazi salute, seemingly mocking Adolf Hitler. The pictures were obtained and released by The Sun in 2015.
  • She sat for her first royal portrait, commissioned by her mother.

Age 8

  • She first met her husband-to-be Prince Philip at the wedding of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark to Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Age 9

  • This was the first time she appeared on a piece of paper money — not in England, but in Canada.

Age 10

  • Her father became King George VI after King Edward VIII abdicated in order to marry American Wallis Simpson. This made the then-Princess first in line to the throne.

Age 11

Princess Elizabeth Coronation Getty Images

Then-Princess Elizabeth, age 11. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She attended the coronation of her father, King George VI.

Age 12

  • She took the penguins for a walk at London Zoo.

Age 13

  • She traveled on the London Underground for the first time.
  • She met, and apparently fell in love with, Cadet Captain Philip of Greece at the Royal Dartmouth Naval College.

Age 14

  • She made a radio address to the children of Commonwealth, many of whom had been evacuated at the start of World War II.

Age 15

  • She starred in her first pantomime alongside her sister Princess Margaret when they performed in Cinderella in the Waterloo Chamber in Windsor Castle.

Age 16

  • She registered for war service.

Age 17

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Then-Princess Elizabeth. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She was a Girl Guides patrol leader.
  • She visited Wales for the first time.

Age 18

  • She was given her first Corgi, named Susan, on her 18th birthday.
  • She joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a Subaltern and training as a mechanic. This is when she learned to drive, even though she’s the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a license.
  • She launched her first ship, the HMS Vanguard in Clydebank, Scotland.

Age 19

Princess Elizabeth Age 19 Getty Images

Then-Princess Elizabeth. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She went out into London partying with her sister Margaret to celebrate VE Day. She was dressed in her Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform and did the conga around Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square.

Age 20

  • She was presented with a Honorary Bachelor of Music degree from the University of London.

Age 21

Queen Elizabeth Prince Philip Wedding Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She married Duke Philip Mountbatten on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey.

Age 22

Queen Elizabeth Prince Charles Baby Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She gave birth to Charles Philip Arthur George, who, at the time, became second in line to the throne.

Age 23

  • She moved to Malta when Prince Philip was made First Lieutenant on HMS Chequers.

Age 24

Queen E2 Prince Charles Princess Anne Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She gave birth to Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise.

Age 25

  • While in East Africa, on February 6, 1952, she learned that her father, King George VI, had died. Thus, she became Queen Elizabeth II.

Age 26

  • She broadcasted her first Christmas message live on the radio from her study at Sandringham.

Age 27

Queen Elizabeth Coronation Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • Queen Elizabeth’s coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on June 2.
  • She conducted her first royal visit of Australia, on which she and her husband were pictured having a fight. She was “hurling shoes, threats, and sporting equipment, and venting the sort of regal fury that, in another age, would have cost someone their head,” according to writer Robert Hardman. “I’m sorry for that little interlude,” she later said. “But, as you know, it happens in every marriage.”
  • She attended her first football match, the FA Cup Final.

Age 28

  • She made royal visits to Aden, Uganda, Malta, and Gibraltar.

Age 29

  • An ocean liner named after the new Queen first set sail from Southampton.
  • She visited Stoke-On-Trent. It was a quiet year.

Age 30

Queen Elizabeth Marilyn Monroe Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She met Marilyn Monroe at the London premiere of The Battle of River Plate.

Age 31

  • She conducted the first televised Christmas broadcast.

Age 32

  • She officially opened Gatwick Airport.

Age 33

  • She gave birth to her third child, Andrew Albert Christian Edward, commonly known as the Duke of York.
  • This was the first time Queen Elizabeth appeared on a piece of paper money in the UK.

Age 34

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She attended the wedding of her sister Princess Margaret to photographer Antony Armstrong Jones.

Age 35

Queen Elizabeth JFK Dinner Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She had dinner with President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy at Buckingham Palace.
  • She visited Ghana and danced with President Kwame Nkrumah in an apparent bid to “save the Commonwealth.”

Age 36

  • She attended various high profile events, including Ascot Races and the Highland Games.

Age 37

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She gave birth to her fourth child, Edward Antony Richard Louis, commonly known as the Earl of Wessex.

Age 38

  • She made a royal visit to Canada, before which the press reported extremists were plotting her assassination.

Age 39

  • She visited the Berlin Wall.

Age 40

Queen Elizabeth World Cup Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She opened the 1966 World Cup at Wembley Stadium.

Age 41

  • The “Queen’s head” design was first used on regular stamps. The design is based off a competition-winning entry by British artist and sculptor Arnold Machin. Before then, an image of the queen taken by society photographer Dorothy Wilding was used on stamps.

Age 42

  • She conducted a royal tour of South America, visiting Brazil and Chile.

Age 43

  • She formally invested her son, Prince Charles, with the Coronet of the Prince of Wales. She wanted to wait until he was older so he understood the significance of the role.

Age 44

Queen Elizabeth Age 44 Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She watched on as a soldier fainted in the heat during the Trooping the Colour to mark her birthday, and just rode on by.

Age 45

  • She contracted chickenpox for the first time and was told “not to go amongst crowds, in case of infection from them.”

Age 46

  • She and Prince Philip celebrated their silver wedding anniversary.

Age 47

  • She opened the Sydney Opera House, almost losing her notes on a particularly windy day down under.
  • This was the only time the queen had to interrupt an overseas tour. While visiting Australia and Indonesia, she had to return suddenly when a general election was called.

Age 48

  • She had dinner with the King of Malaysia at Claridges in London.

Age 49

  • She sent her first email!

Age 50

  • She opened the Montreal Olympic Games.

Age 51

Queen Elizabeth Silver Jubilee Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She celebrated her Silver Jubilee, the 25th anniversary of becoming Queen of England.
  • She welcomed her first grandchild, Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne, into the world.

Age 52

  • She first appeared on the last-ever one-pound piece of paper money. This banknote would stop being printed in 1984.
  • She was presented with a Jersey cow at a country show in Jersey.

Age 53

  • She made several state visits to countries in the Middle East, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE. She also paid visits to Denmark and Malawi in a very busy year.

Age 54

Queen Elizabeth Pope Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She was welcomed by the pope as the first British monarch to make a state visit to the Vatican.

Age 55

  • Queen Elizabeth was “shot at” during the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Marcus Simon Sarjeant was in the crowds and fired six blanks at her as she rode past. Sarjeant later claimed, “I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be a somebody.” The Queen was unharmed, and Sarjeant was sentenced to five years in prison.
  • She survived an assassination attempt by a New Zealand teenager.
  • She attended the wedding of her son Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
  • She welcomed her first granddaughter, Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne, into the world.

Age 56

  • British man Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace and entered the queen’s bedroom while she was sleeping.
  • She welcomed her third grandchild and future King of England into the world, William Arthur Philip Louis, son of Prince Charles.

Age 57

Queen Elizabeth Mother Teresa Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • A speech was written for the queen in the event of World War III breaking out.
  • She met Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Age 58

  • She welcomed her fourth grandchild into the world, Henry Charles Albert David, son of Prince Charles, otherwise known as Prince Harry.
  • She appeared on the first one-pound coins.

Age 59

  • Artist Andy Warhol produced a now-famous image of the queen as part of his Reigning Queens 1985 portfolio.

Age 60

Queen Elizabeth China Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images) 

  • She became the first British monarch to travel to mainland China, taking a walk along the Great Wall.

Age 61

  • Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, Earl of Strathmore, sadly passed away.
  • She was apparently furious with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for refusing to back sanctions against apartheid in South Africa.

Age 62

  • She welcomed her fifth grandchild into the world, Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew.
  • She visited the Netherlands to celebrate 300 years of friendship between the two nations.

Age 63

  • She welcomed her sixth grandchild into the world, Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew.
  • She started wearing her now-favorite nail polish, Essie’s iconic Ballet Slipper.

Age 64

  • Queen Elizabeth stopped dying her hair — apparently, she used a color called Chocolate Kiss.

Age 65

  • She addressed Congress on a visit to the United States. She also stopped by a Baltimore Orioles baseball game.

Age 66

  • She started paying taxes for the first time!

This was known as her “annus horribilis” (horrible year):

  • Her son, Prince Charles, separated from his wife, Princess Diana.
  • Her former daughter-in-law Sarah Ferguson was pictured topless and having her toes sucked in newspapers.
  • Windsor Castle, known as the queen’s favorite weekend home, burned down.

Age 67

  • She fired a machine gun at a shooting center in Surrey, Australia.
  • She became the first monarch to open Buckingham Palace to the public. This was apparently to raise funds for the renovation of Windsor Castle, which had been damaged in a fire the year before.

Age 68

  • She broke her left wrist when her horse tripped during a ride at Sandringham.
  • She unveiled a plaque to commemorate the completion of the Channel Tunnel.

Age 69

  • She was presented with a White Nguni bull from King of Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu of the Zulus during the queen’s state visit to South Africa.
  • She asked her son, Prince Charles, to seek an early divorce from Princess Diana. This was attributed to the famous interview Princess Diana did with Martin Bashir in which she opened up about Prince Charles’ extramarital affairs.

Age 70

  • She amended royal family rules so that a former wife of a member of the family couldn’t hold and enjoy the style title or attribute of Royal Highness.

Age 71

Queen Elizabeth Princess Diana Funeral Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She was rocked by the news of the death of Princess Diana. She addressed the nation on TV, but was criticized for how she handled the situation.

Age 72

  • She apparently “terrorized” Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah with her driving skills during his visit to Balmoral in Scotland.
  • She endorsed a plan to end gender discrimination in the line of succession for the throne.

Age 73

  • She opened the first Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.
  • A referendum was carried out in Australia to decide whether the queen would be replaced by a president — she won!

Age 74

  • She celebrated her mother’s 100th birthday.

Age 75

Queen Elizabeth Princess Margaret Funeral Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She was pictured wiping away a tear at a memorial service for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, sadly passed away at the age of 101.
  • She also lost her sister, Princess Margaret, who died at the age of 71.

Age 76

Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She celebrated her Golden Jubilee to mark 50 years on the throne. The UK and commonwealth countries around the world celebrated, with many holding street parties in her honor. She became the oldest monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee.
  • She visited a British mosque for the first time.

Age 77

  • She underwent a knee operation to remove torn cartilage.
  • She entertained Russian President Vladimir Putin on his last visit to the UK.
  • She was amused when a swarm of bees delayed her review of the Grenadier Guards at Windsor.
  • She welcomed her seventh grandchild into the world, Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of Prince Edward.

Age 78

  • She opened the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, to mark 10 years since the death of Princess Diana.

Age 79

  • She claimed ownership of 88 cygnets on the River Thames.
  • Disgraced entertainer Rolf Harris unveiled an official portrait of the queen.

Age 80

  • She was the subject of “The Queen,” a fictional drama depicting the royal family’s response to the death of Princess Diana. Dame Helen Mirren won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the queen.

Age 81

  • She became the oldest monarch in British history at 81 years and 244 days, overtaking the previous record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
  • She posted her traditional Christmas Day speech on YouTube for the first time.
  • She welcomed her eighth grandchild into the world, James, Viscount Severn, son of Prince Edward.

Age 82

  • She openly asked economists why no one saw the credit crunch coming during a briefing by academics at the London School of Economics.

Age 83

Queen Elizabeth Michelle Obama Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She was the subject of a Channel 4 drama-documentary in which she was portrayed by several actresses, including Samantha Bond, Diana Quick, and Emilia Fox.
  • She set tongues wagging as she and First Lady Michelle Obama put their arms around each other, posing for photographs. It’s considered against royal etiquette to touch the queen.

Age 84

  • The queen joined Facebook! Buckingham Palace set up a Facebook Page called The British Monarchy.
  • She welcomed her first great-grandchild into the world, Savannah Phillips, granddaughter of Princess Anne.
  • She received a Blackberry mobile phone as a gift when she visited the company’s Canadian HQ.

Age 85

Queen Elizabeth Prince William Wedding Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She attended the royal wedding of her grandson Prince William to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.
  • She made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch.
  • She became the second-longest serving British monarch, overtaking George III.
  • She posted warning signs around her 775-room palace that read: “The attention is drawn of all members of staff to the need to switch off unwanted lights. By Order of The Master of The Household.”

Age 86

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She celebrated her Diamond Jubilee to commemorate 60 years as Queen.
  • She appeared in a comedy skit alongside Daniel Craig’s James Bond to mark the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games, in which she appears to do a parachute jump out of a helicopter.

Age 87

  • She welcomed her great-grandson Prince George into the world. Prince George will likely be the future King of England.
  • Her horse Estimate won the Gold Cup at Ascot, marking the first time a reigning monarch won the race in its 207-year history.
  • She welcomed her fourth great-grandchild into the world, Mia Tindall, granddaughter of Princess Anne.

Age 88

  • The queen sent her first ever tweet from the Science Museum in London, where she opened an exhibition about the information age.
  • She was honored with the inaugural lifetime achievement award from the world governing body of horse sport, the International Equestrian Federation.

Age 89

  • She became the longest-reigning UK monarch, serving for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes, overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
  • She welcomed her fifth great-grandchild into the world, Princess Charlotte, daughter of Prince William.

Age 90

  • She was portrayed by Claire Foy in Netflix’s The Crown.

Age 91

  • She and her husband Prince Philip celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
  • She appointed her first black household staffer, a Ghanaian-born Afghanistan war veteran named Major Nana Kofi Twumasi-Ankrah.

Age 92

Queen Elizabeth Meghan Markle Royal Wedding Getty Images

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

  • She welcomed her sixth great-grandchild into the world, Prince Louis, son of Prince William.
  • She attended the wedding of her grandchild Prince Harry to Meghan Markle.

This article was written by Yours editors. For more, check out our sister site, Yours.

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