Queen's 90th birthday: How the world has changed since she was born
From the invention of television through the Second World War, men landing on the moon, political assassination and the fall of the Iron Curtain Her Majesty has been a witness to unforgettable moments of history.
1926 General Strike. Duchess of York gives birth to Princess Elizabeth. Television invented.
1927 BBC begins broadcasts. Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic.
1928 Oxford English Dictionary completed after 70 years’ work. Walt Disney creates Mickey Mouse. Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.
1929 Wall Street Crash triggers the Great Depression.
1930 Unemployment reaches 2.5 million. Princess Margaret Rose born.
1931 First London trolley bus, television outside broadcast, electric razor, German pocket battleship.
1932 Oswald Mosley launches British Union of Fascists.
1933 Hitler becomes German Chancellor. UK unemployment hits three million.
1935 Italy invades Ethiopia.
1936 George V dies and Edward VIII becomes King. His abdication forces his brother the Duke of York onto the throne as George VI.
1937 Coronation. Nazi leaders greet Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Berlin.
1938 Munich Agreement follows invasion of Austria.
1939 War with Germany.
1940 King and Queen stay put in Buckingham Palace through the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
1941 Pearl Harbour attacked as Japan enters war. Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess flies to Britain.
1942 Montgomery defeats Rommel at El Alamein.
1943 Italy surrenders.
1944 Normandy landings.
1945 Germany surrenders. Japan surrenders after atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
1946 United Nations established. Churchill warns of Iron Curtain. Labour Government nationalises Bank of England and coal industry.
1947 National Health Service set up. Indian independence. Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten.
1948 Railways, canals and road transport nationalised. Berlin airlift. London Olympics. National Health Service formed.
1949 Russia tests A-bomb. Establishment of Nato.
1950 UN landings at Inchon after start of Korean War.
1951 Festival of Britain.
1952 George VI dies and Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen.
1953 Sweet rationing ends in Britain. Queen Mary dies. Everest conquered on eve of the Coronation.
1954 Study links cancer to smoking. Crash grounds BOAC’s Comet aircraft. French defeated at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. Elvis releases his first record. Roger Bannister breaks the four minute mile record.
1955 Cyprus goes on strike against British rule. Sir Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister. Warsaw Pact signed by the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies. Princess Margaret calls off plans to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.
1956 Hungarian uprising and Suez crisis. Prince Rainier III of Monaco marries American film actress Grace Kelly.
1957 Prime Minister Harold Macmillan tells a Tory rally “most of our people have never had it so good”. Treaty of Rome sets up European Economic Community. Russians launch the Sputnik satellite, the first man-made object ever to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.
1958 Race riots flare in Notting Hill. Munich air crash kills Manchester United players.
1959 The Mini car makes its first appearance and the first UK motorway, the M1, opens.
1960 Macmillan’s Wind of Change speech. Princess Margaret marries Tony Armstrong-Jones.
1961 Kennedy succeeds Eisenhower as US President. Berlin Wall rises. Soviet Union puts first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space.
1962 US spaceman John Glenn orbits the Earth. The Cuban Missile crisis is resolved.
1963 Lord Beeching wields axe on British Rail. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Kennedy assassination. Profumo scandal. Great Train Robbery. One of the coldest, snowiest winters on record.
1964 Beatlemania grips UK and US. Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston.
1965 Rhodesia declares independence. US bombs North Vietnam. Britain appoints its first woman High Court judge.
1966 Swinging London revolves around Carnaby Street and Kings Road. Queen Mother undergoes major abdominal surgery. England win the World Cup. Aberfan disaster in Wales.
1967 Breathalyser introduced. Arab-Israeli War. Nigerian Civil War. Abortion and homosexuality are legalised.
1968 Enoch Powell makes “rivers of blood” speech. The Troubles erupt with civil rights protests.
1969 Death penalty for murder permanently abolished in Britain. Prince of Wales’s Investiture at Caernarvon. British troops sent to Northern Ireland. American Neil Armstrong becomes first man to walk on the moon. Woodstock music festival.
1970 Voting age cut from 21 to 18. North Sea oil fields discovered. First jumbo jet lands at Heathrow. Edward Heath wins election for the Tories. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi takes over as leader of Libya.
1971 British entry into EEC agreed. Decimalisation is launched in the UK.
1972 Miners’ strike and power crisis — state of emergency declared. Industrial Relations Act disputes. Bloody Sunday. Duke of Windsor dies. First home video game system is released.
1973 Britain joins EEC. Princess Royal marries Captain Mark Phillips.
1974 Edward Heath loses narrowly to Harold Wilson, who wins second general election. US President Richard Nixon resigns over Watergate.
1975 Margaret Thatcher becomes Conservative Party leader. Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts. End of Vietnam War.
1976 James Callaghan replaces Wilson at No 10. One of the hottest summers on record. Concorde begins commercial flights.
1977 Lib-Lab pact. Grunwick picket clashes. Punk rock. Silver Jubilee. The Queen becomes a grandmother.
1978 Rhodesia settlement. Anna Ford becomes ITN’s first prime time woman newscaster. Red Brigades kidnap former Italian premier Aldo Moro. World’s first test tube baby Louise Brown is born in Oldham. Winter of Discontent strikes.
1979 Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first woman prime minister. Queen’s art adviser Anthony Blunt exposed as Russian spy. Fall of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Islamic revolutionaries come to power in Iran.
1980 SAS storm Iranian Embassy. Runners Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe win Olympic gold.
1981 Brixton riots. Prince of Wales weds Lady Diana Spencer. Unemployment reaches 2.5 million. Britain in recession. The launch of the first space shuttle — Columbia.
1982 Falklands War (below) — The Duke of York is among those serving in the forces. Intruder in Queen’s bedroom. Pope visits Britain. King Henry VIII’s Mary Rose raised to the surface. Prince William born. Economic recession.
1983 President Reagan’s Star Wars speech. Russians shoot down Korean jetliner.
1984 IRA bombs Grand Hotel, Brighton. Indira Gandhi assassinated. Bob Geldof Ethiopia appeal. Miners’ strikes.
1985 Bradford City football stadium fire kills 56. Heysel stadium riot kills 39. Live Aid concert to raise money for Ethiopian famine.
1986 Funeral of Duchess of Windsor at Frogmore. Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson.
1987 Zeebrugge disaster. The Great Storm sweeps through southern England. IRA bombs Enniskillen Remembrance Day parade. Hungerford massacre. King’s Cross fire.
1988 Piper Alpha oil platform disaster. Lockerbie jumbo jet bombing. Government loses Spycatcher legal battle. Professor Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time is published
1989 Hillsborough disaster. Berlin Wall falls. Tiananmen Square massacre. Salman Rushdie in hiding. Tim Berners-Lee invents World Wide Web.
1990 John Major becomes prime minister. Iraq invades Kuwait. Nelson Mandela is released from prison. Poll tax riots.
1991 Allies launch Operation Desert Storm in Gulf War against Iraq. Gorbachev resigns. Birmingham Six freed after 16 years in jail.
1992 The Queen’s “annus horribilis” — Princess Royal and Captain Phillips divorce, the Waleses and the Yorks separate, Windsor Castle goes up in flames. Black Wednesday — the day Britain crashed out of the ERM. The break-up of Yugoslavia.
1993 Publication of Prince of Wales’s intimate talk with Camilla Parker Bowles. IRA bomb Warrington. Buckingham Palace opens to the public.
1994 Labour leader John Smith dies. Queen and President Mitterrand open Channel Tunnel. 50th anniversary of D-Day. Prince of Wales admits adultery in TV documentary. IRA ceasefire. Queen visits Russia. Genocide in Rwanda.
1995 Official Aids cases pass one million mark. Barings Bank collapses. VE Day and VJ Day commemorated. Princess Diana’s Panorama interview.
1996 Duke and Duchess of York divorce. Prince and Princess of Wales divorce. Ban on exports of British beef amid BSE crisis.
1997 New Labour under Tony Blair beat Conservatives. Royal Yacht Britannia decommissioned. Diana, Princess of Wales dies in Paris car crash. Scotland and Wales vote for devolution. Dolly the Sheep cloned. Handover of Hong Kong to China.
1998 War breaks out in Europe as a Nato coalition attacks Yugoslavia. Digital TV launched. Operation Desert Fox in Iraq. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Omagh bombing.
1999 Birth of single European currency, the euro. Prince Edward marries Sophie Rhys-Jones.
2000 Queen Mother’s 100th year. British rower Steve Redgrave makes Olympic history by winning his fifth consecutive gold medal. George W Bush becomes US President.
2001 September 11 terrorist attacks. Foot and mouth outbreak in UK. First space tourist. Britain joins US in strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
2002 The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Death of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. Twelve European Union countries adopt the euro.
2003 Britain and the US go to war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
2004 Double Olympic gold for Kelly Holmes in 800m and 1500m in Athens. Asian tsunami kills more than 100,000.
2005 Pope John Paul II dies and is succeeded by Pope Benedict XVI. The Prince of Wales marries Camilla Parker Bowles. London wins 2012 Olympics bid. July 7 terror attacks in London. Civil partnerships give same-sex couples legal rights.
2006 Saddam Hussein is hanged in Baghdad. Lebanon War.
2007 Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as Prime Minister. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.
2008 Jury returns a verdict of unlawful killing in inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. UK enters a recession following the financial crisis. Barack Obama elected to become the first black US President.
2009 Michael Jackson dies. Swine flu pandemic. MPs’ expenses scandal.
2010 David Cameron becomes Prime Minister leading a Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition. The Queen becomes a great-grandmother for the first time when Savannah Phillips is born. Volcanic ash cloud blowing in from Iceland grounds flights. Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest.
2011 Middle East uprising. Japanese tsunami. Nato air raids on Libya. Prince William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. Queen visits Ireland. Summer riots.
2012 The Queen marks Diamond Jubilee. London 2012 Olympics. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce they are expecting a baby.
2013 Continuing civil war in Syria. Pope Benedict XVI resigns. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis. Baroness Thatcher and Nelson Mandela die. Prince George of Cambridge is born.
2014 Flooding in England and Wales. The first same-sex wedding takes place after gay marriage becomes legal in England and Wales. Ukraine crisis. Crisis in Iraq and Syria over the Islamic State militant group. Scotland votes “no” to independence. Ebola epidemic.
2015 Attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge born. Conservative win majority in general election. Migrant crisis. Queen becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Terror attacks in Paris including at the Bataclan concert hall.
2016 Run-up to the EU referendum. Brussels terror attacks.