As we look back over the Queen’s 70-year reign, these are some of the most memorable quotes from her speeches across the decades.
Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday (8 September) at the age of 96, was the longest-serving monarch in British history, reigning over the United Kingdom for 70 years.
Over the course of those decades, so much about the country she ruled over changed: the Queen met with 15 prime ministers and was on the throne for historic events including the moon landings, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 2012 Olympics and the Covid pandemic.
A constant throughout all this was her addresses to the nation, both in times of celebration and in times of crisis, and her annual Christmas speeches, where she would reflect upon the events of the year.
As we look back over her 70 years on the throne, here are some of the late monarch’s most memorable quotes.
“It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2019
“It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 1957
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”
From the Queen’s speech on her 21st birthday, 1947
“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”
From the Queen’s speech on her coronation day, 1953
“Our modern world places such heavy demands on our time and attention that the need to remember our responsibilities to others is greater than ever.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2002
“Through the many changes I have seen over the years, faith, family and friendship have been not only a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2018
“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
From a message of condolence to New York in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, 2001
“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.”
From an address to the UK during the coronavirus crisis, 2020
“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2008
“We may hold different points of view, but it is in times of stress and difficulty that we most need to remember that we have much more in common than there is dividing us.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 1974
“Over the years, those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2008
“Even when your life seems most monotonous, what you do is always of real value and importance to your fellow men.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 1954
None of us has a monopoly of wisdom, and we must always be ready to listen and respect other points of view
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 1991
“We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.”
From the Queen’s Christmas speech, 2013
When I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God’s help to make good that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”
In a speech to mark 25 years on the throne, 1977
I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”
From a speech to the UN, 2010
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