Over the nearly 70 years that she ruled Great Britain, Queen Elizabeth shared many words of wisdom.
The British monarch was quite the wordsmith. Her Majesty The Queen spoke eloquently and with infinite wisdom on family, faith, and royal duty – always carefully weaving in messages of advice for the nation.
Although the Queen, just like all the royals, was not allowed to share her opinion on politics, she still had plenty to say and lots of encouragement and support to offer to people throughout the UK and around the world. As words of condolences flood in from state officials and members of the public alike, Great Britain and the Commonwealth remember not only the dignity that the Queen brought to the monarchy, but her humanity as well.
Known for her words of comforting wisdom, her stalwart approach to tough times, and ability to laugh through joyful ones, the Queen’s speeches and quotes throughout the seven decades of her reign have provided guidance, support and happiness to an entire nation and beyond. How odd Christmas will seem this year without the annual Queen’s speech to anchor our day and provide a moment of united togetherness throughout the country.
As the United Kingdom and the rest of the world mourns her death, we’re taking a look back at her most memorable quotes.
On doing her duty:
‘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.’ — The Queen’s 21st birthday speech, April 21 1947
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” — The Queen’s statement following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001
“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.” — The Queen’s address to the United Nations General Assembly in July 2010
On leading the nation
“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 peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” — First televised Christmas broadcast, 1957
‘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.’ — Televised address on April 5, 2020, after the outbreak of COVID-19
On women’s rights
‘It is difficult to realise that it was less than 50 years ago that women in Britain were first given the vote, but parliament was first asked to grant this 100 years ago. Yet, in spite of these disabilities, it has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the harsh progress of mankind.’ – The Queen’s Christmas broadcast, 1966
On being an inspiration
‘To be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals. I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special. They are an inspiration to those who know them.’ — At the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, 2016
Over the course of Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, her speeches became tentpoles for the British public to mark the passing of time. Her words will forever be etched into history, just as much as the magnitude of her leadership will inspire future generations of monarchs and leaders to instil change in their own way.