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The Most Notable Moments in Queen Elizabeth II's Reign
By WILLIAM FISCHER
History - Science
UNEXPECTED CORONATION
Elizabeth II’s father, Albert, Duke of York, was the second son of King George V, and he became King when his older brother, Edward, abdicated for the sake of his mistress. Albert soon became the King but passed away due to his poor health after holding the throne for 16 years, leading to the coronation of Elizabeth II at the age of 25.
WEST GERMANY Visit
Years were put in by the governments of Britain and West Germany to achieve reconciliation after the Second World War. As a state head, Queen Elizabeth II went on a state visit to West Germany, which, according to the London School of Economics blog, “put a stamp of legitimacy on West Germany's status as an equal player on the world stage," and aided in the reconciliation.
EMPIRE TO COMMONWEALTH
The Commonwealth was officially formed in 1926, promising equal status between Britain and its dominions under the Crown. Helping to build up the Commonwealth during its reformation in 1949 is among Queen Elizabeth II’s proudest accomplishments, even though it couldn’t always cover up decades and centuries of tensions.
ABERFAN MINE DISASTER
In the 1960s, Aberfan saw the catastrophic collapse of 111-foot-tall spoil tips (piles of coal waste) that buried a Junior School and the neighboring houses, killing 144 people. Queen Elizabeth issued a statement of grief after the disaster, but she was slow to visit out of concern that her presence would distract from rescue efforts, eventually visiting eight days later.
ROYAL FAMILY
Queen Elizabeth and her husband helped open the door to a more media-friendly monarchy in the 1960s, which led to "Royal Family,” a BBC documentary that follows the queen through one year of service and features scenes of the family in their private life. The film remained buried for decades until its production became a storyline for "The Crown."