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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Exeter chapter.

I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person reading this who did not grow up with Queen Elizabeth II on the throne. When thinking of the monarchy, she is what comes mind, she embodies it. Her 70-year reign (the longest in British history) has epitomised the trials and tribulations which have faced our country. Elizabeth’s reign marked one in which the people were welcomed into, her coronation being the first ever televised, and her jubilee celebrations in 1977, 2002, 2012 and 2022. Whilst we have lived our lives and become the people we are today, Queen Elizabeth has been right beside us. 

Born in 1926, Elizabeth’s prominent place within the British royal family started. Her father, the late King George VI, had not expected to be king. His brother, King Edward VIII (whose actual name was David, fun fact) had been heir, inheriting the throne in 1936 before decided to abdicate his position in favour of marrying Wallis Simpson, and American divorcee. This threw Elizabeth and her sister Margaret into the limelight as the new female heirs to the throne. Interestingly, if her parents had later had a son, he would have replaced Elizabeth in the line of succession, despite age. This was aligned with the primogeniture laws of the time. This law was changed in 2011 before the birth of Prince George. 

With her father as King, the Second World War soon occurred. The royal family and their image were of particular significance, seen to be leading and supporting the war effort back home. She made her first radio address to the children of the nation in 1940, at the age of 14, spreading love and support. Upon the war’s end and on her 21st birthday, Elizabeth made this a declaration in a broadcast, foreshadowing her continued dedication and service. 

“I declare before you all that my whole life, 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.”

In 1947, Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark at Westminster Abbey. They went on to have four children throughout their marriage: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, whilst on tour with Philip in South Africa. The development of the royal family during Elizabeth’s reign was immense. They had, and still are, the focal point of worldwide events and controversies as well as a numerous number of weddings and royal births. Aside from family life, her rule saw everchanging policies, political figures, cultural trends and economic highs and lows. Elizabeth’s reign witnessed some monumental events such as the formation of the European Union, the death of Princess Diana, the 2012 London Olympics and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Her death in September 2022 shook the world in more ways than one. We lost our longest serving monarch and female ruler. The outpouring of grief was immense, with many queueing to say goodbye as she departed Scotland on her last journey to London. Now in December and looking back, the mass grief but also celebration of her life speaks volumes to how much she meant to us, our country, and he world. Her legacy lives on, not only in her family but in our hearts and minds. 

Thank you, ma’am. 

This mini-series was inspired by Elizabeth and her passing. It made me realise just how much these female figures needed to be celebrate and shared with everyone. I wanted to take you all on journey in order to showcase these fabulous and inspiring women who have led us and our country. These women, despite backlash, controversy and sometimes heart-breaking personal journeys, each paved the way for female empowerment and celebration.  I hope it makes at least one of you want to delve into the world of queenship and history! 

Megan Barber

Exeter '23

22 years old studying History. You can find me eating, reading or planning my next adventure...