70 Years Ago

British monarch HM Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, pictured in 1951. HM is wearing a priceless Cartier necklace, a wedding present from the Nizam of Hyderabad, a king in India. © Yousuf Karsh

The year 2022 represents the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II ascending the throne of England. In the language of the media, it is her Platinum Jubilee.

I remember watching TV when Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. I was a seven-year-old boy at the time, and I was amazed that the pretty lady was so high and so mighty. And, no doubt about it, the young Queen Elizabeth II was a “looker.”

Even though now she is weighted down by the intervening years, and the tragedies that inevitably mar any long life. She had to deal with the deaths of Princess Diana and of her husband and consort, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

So I will choose to remember her as a pretty young lady. At the time, I was an avid stamp collector. Because of the young queen’s beauty, I was drawn to British colonial issues, which usually included at least an inset portrait of the queen, unless they went whole hog with the queen and her sister, as in the following South African stamp:

The above stamp actually predated the coronation by five years. Princess Margaret is the royal on the left. More typical is the Bahamas stamp shown below, which looks to be a 1950s issue:

Whatever happens in the next few years. the reign of Elizabeth II has been a real boon for England—even at a time when it was shedding its colonies. Perhaps, in the long run, the massive expense of the royal family will have been worth it for its symbolism alone.