Happy 92nd Birthday to Queen Elizabeth! Later today the Royal Family will all descend on Royal Albert Hall for a concert to mark the occasion and conclude the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), but in the meantime let’s take a look back at April 21, 1926 when HRH Princess Elizabeth was born to the then-Duke and Duchess of York.
Today marks 70 years of marriage for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Together they have evolved from a young couple supporting Elizabeth’s father, George VI, in post-war Britain to the heads of the British Royal Family as it rolls into the 21st century. From four children, born between 1948 and 1964, they’ve amassed eight grandchildren, five (soon to be six) great-grandchildren and lived through three of their children’s divorces (and two of their remarriages.) It’s hard sometimes to reconcile the images of the two of them as 20-somethings in the 1940s with the grandparent figures they’ve become – just as it’s hard to reconcile the RF of the mid-20th century with how it looks and behaves today – but they are the common denominators.
Group Captain Peter Townsend once wrote of Princess Margaret:
“Behind the dazzling facade, the apparent self-assurance, you would find, if you looked for it, a rare softness and sincerity. She could make you bend double with laughing; she could also touch you deeply. [She was] a girl of unusual, intense beauty, confined as it was in her short, slender figure and centred about large purple-blue eyes, generous, sensitive lips and a complexion as smooth as a peach. She was capable, in her face and her whole being, of an astonishing power of expression. It could change in an instant from saintly, almost melancholic, composure to hilarious, uncontrollable joy. She was, by nature, generous, volatile […]”
Today marks the anniversary of the announcement of Princess Margaret’s engagement to Antony “Tony” Armstrong-Jones, the photographer, who passed away earlier this year. Their marriage would famously end in divorce in 1978, the first for a senior member of the royal family in the House of Windsor, ironic only in that Tony would also be the first commoner in 400 years to marry a monarch’s daughter.
Tellingly, what would attract the couple to each other in the first place would, in many ways, be their undoing. And while they showed promise in the early stages of their marriage, and complemented one another when it came to tackling aspects of their public duties, they were wildly unmatched when it came to existing day-to-day, a fact that would become apparent within a few years of their wedding.