Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most beloved members of the royal family. Not only is she the longest-serving British monarch in history, but she’s one of the most impactful members of the royal family. The Queen has prided herself on reigning through acts of service.
On her 21st birthday, she promised her country: “Whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” It’s safe to say she’s stayed true to her word.
Throughout her reign, she’s had some memorable moments. The royal family is expected to maintain a rather serious disposition, but the Queen has been known to get a little silly at times. Other times,
she’s been downright sassy. Her colorful personality (and wardrobe) is what royal fans have come to love her for, and there’s never a dull moment when she steps out of Buckingham Palace.
The word iconic gets thrown around far too much, but in certain instances, no other word will do. These are some of the Queen’s most iconic moments throughout her royal tenure.
When she looked like a total boss in her military uniform.
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Taken in 1945, this photo shows Queen Elizabeth (a princess at the time) in her military uniform.
She was a second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and drove trucks and ambulances (and sometimes even repaired them).
When she married Prince Philip against her family’s wishes.
Hulton Archive/Hulton Royals Collection/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were distant cousins and, hence, met often at royal gatherings. Despite years of courtship, the
Queen's advisors did not want her to tie the knot with Prince Philip. “The king and queen were appalled,” Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of Prince Philip’s uncle Louis Mountbatten, told Vanity Fair. “The thought that he might become a son-in-law was most unwelcome. Why wasn’t she marrying some respectable English duke? Yes, he was a Prince of Greece and Denmark. But very suspect, Greece — they get rid of their royal families regularly. And he had no money.”
As time would tell, the Queen paid her advisors no mind and married Prince Philip in 1947 anyway. They were married for over 70 years before he died in 2021.
When she cut cake with a sword like a badass.
On June 11, the Queen attended a reception in Cornwall, England, alongside Kate Middleton and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. The event was going swimmingly when the Queen decided to
cut a cake with a massive sword. She did so successfully, but not without a few panicked looks from bystanders. Still, she looked absolutely epic doing it!
When she laughed off a swarm of bees.
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This photo of the Queen and Prince Philip from 2003 went viral after it was taken because many thought the Queen was laughing at her husband’s uniform. In reality, she was
giggling at the swarm of bees that invaded Windsor Castle. Clearly, it takes more than a few bees to phase the Queen.
When she filmed a mini action movie to kick off the 2012 Olympic Games.
The 2012 London Olympic Games began with a little humor from the Queen, who teamed up with Daniel Craig (dressed as James Bond) to film an adventure-packed video where they parachuted into the Olympic stadium. Of course, a stunt double was enlisted for the actual jump.
The time she seemingly embarrassed Prince William.
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It’s hard to tell what’s really going on here, but it appears that, like all families, the monarch may impart a tad bit of embarrassment on her grandson every once in a while.
When she dropped the mic with Prince Harry.
In the lead-up to the 2016 Invictus Games, the Queen decided to try out her acting chops once again to film a promotional ad, this time with a little help from Prince Harry, and President Barack and Michele Obama. In the ad’s final moments, she rolls her eyes over the Obamas’ intimidation tactics as Prince Harry drops an imaginary mic for the cam. It was true comedy.
When she delivered a hope-filled speech amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In April 2020, the Queen thanked frontline healthcare workers for their tireless work throughout the pandemic and assured UK citizens that, one day, things would return to normal. Her moving speech encouraged her country to remain “united and resolute,” and was the epitome of her leadership skills through the years.