Best Queen quotes: 9 memorable speeches from Queen Elizabeth II, including Paddington Bear sketch

Queen Elizabeth was the longest reigning monarch in British history

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Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning monarch in British history and served as head of state from 1952 until her death, aged 96.

During this period she has witnessed 15 different prime ministers, a global pandemic and a period of immense social change.

Throughout all the highs and lows the country has witnessed during the last 70 years the Queen has remained an ever present figure.

Here we take a look back at some of the most memorable speeches from Queen Elizabeth’s life from the Second World War until her Platinum Jubilee.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla wave to the crowd upon their arrival Buckingham Palace in London. (Getty Images)King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla wave to the crowd upon their arrival Buckingham Palace in London. (Getty Images)
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla wave to the crowd upon their arrival Buckingham Palace in London. (Getty Images)

The Second World War: October 1940

Queen Elizabeth famously gave her first public speech as a teenager when she was 14 years old in October 1940.

At the time it was just a year into the Second World War and Britain was under attack from the Nazis as mass bombing raids were launched across London and other major cities.

Still Princess Elizabeth at the time, she spoke to the BBC about the war and urged people to have hope that it would soon come to an end.

She said: “We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well: for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.

“And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II : June 1953

When Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926 there was very little chance that she would ever become Queen.

She was third in line to the throne and her uncle Edward who was heir at the time was expected to have children who would precede her in the line of succession.

However a great deal changed in Edward VIII’s first year in power when he abdicated to marry American Divorcee Wallis Simpson. This led to her father King George becoming king and led to Elizabeth as the eldest daughter being the heir to the throne.

Elizabeth was just 25-years-old when she became Queen and celebrated her coronation 16 months later in 1953. During her coronation she gave the following speech:

“I am sure that this, my coronation, is not the symbol of power and a splendour that are gone but a declaration of our hopes for the future, and for the years I may, by God’s grace and mercy, be given to reign and serve you as my Queen.”

 Charles at Queen Elizabeth coronation in 1953 (Getty Images) Charles at Queen Elizabeth coronation in 1953 (Getty Images)
Charles at Queen Elizabeth coronation in 1953 (Getty Images)

The Queen’s first Christmas Broadcast: December 1957

Throughout her time in power it has been a tradition for the Queen to record a Christmas message each year; the only exception was 1969.

On her first ever televised Christmas speech in 1957, The Queen said: “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else - I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the people of our brotherhood of nations.

England lift the World Cup: July 1966

Throughout her life the Queen was a lover of many sports, in particular horse racing. However, for many sporting fans one of the most memorable images will be the Queen handing the World Cup to captain Bobby Moore.

The 1966 World Cup was held in England and the Queen opened the competition before England’s game against Uruguay by saying: “I welcome all our visitors and feel sure that we will be seeing some fine football.”

Reflecting on England’s World Cup triumph, the Queen said in 2021: “Fifty-five years ago, I was fortunate to present the World Cup to Bobby Moore and saw what it meant to the players, management and support staff to reach and win the final of a major international football tournament.”

Queen Elizabeth presents the Jules Rimet Cup to Bobby Moore. (Getty Images)Queen Elizabeth presents the Jules Rimet Cup to Bobby Moore. (Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth presents the Jules Rimet Cup to Bobby Moore. (Getty Images)

‘Annus Horribilis’ : November 1992

In 1992, the Queen gave a speech in London to commemorate her 40th anniversary on the throne. It proved a difficult year for The Queen as she endured a major fire at Windsor Castle and the collapse of three of her children’s marriages, including the well publicised breakdown in the relationship of Charles and Diana.

Reflecting on the year the Queen said: “ 1992 is not a year which I shall look back on with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be annus horribilis. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so.”

The Death of Princess Diana: September 1997

The death of Princess Diana was regarded as an event that shook the world. Diana was famously dubbed the ‘peoples princess’ and her death left behind two young princes in Harry and William who have both spoken about the way her death as impacted their lives.

The Queen said: “I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her- for her energy and commitment for others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.”

The London Olympics: December 2012

During her Christmas speech in 2012, The Queen reflected on an incredible summer which saw London host the Olympic games.

She said: “ All those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes.

“We were reminded, too, that the success of these great festivals depended to an enormous degree upon the dedication and effort of an army of volunteers.”

Covid-19 pandemic: April 2020

The whole world was shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Millions of fatalities occurred as a result of the virus and in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus the UK went into a national lockdown.

During this period The Queen stepped up to address the nation she said: “We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.”

The Platinum Jubilee: June 2022

The Platinum Jubilee took place in June 2022 to commemorate 70 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth, it featured a series of performances from musicians such as Queen & Adam Lambert, Duran Duran and Rod Stewart.

Queen Elizabeth was unable to attend many of the events due to mobility issues but made one of her final public appearances on the Buckingham Palace Balcony when she waved to the crowds alongside her grandson Prince George.

During the Platinum Jubilee the Queen issued a statement: “When it comes to how to mark 70 years as your Queen, there isn’t a guidebook to follow. It really is a first.

“But I have been humbled and deeply touched by so many people who have taken to the streets to celebrate my platinum jubilee.

“While I may not have attended every event in person my heart has been with you all. I have been inspired by your kindness, joy and kinship that has been evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.”

One of the highlights from her Platinum Jubilee was her appearance alongside Paddington Bear for a comedy sketch. At the end of her appearance with Paddington the Queen taps her cup of tea to the tune of We Will Rock You which was used to open the song by the band Queen.

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