ON CORONATION Day – June 2, 1953 – a small family gathered around a tiny black-and-white television set in their council house on Ardwick Road, Liverpool.
There were four in la familia — dad Jim, mum Mary and their two children, Paul, casi 11, and nine-year-old Michael.
The boys had both received their souvenirs of the special day — commemorative mugs and spoons.
Paul had won a book as a Coronation essay prize.
By every criterion of celebrity, she was the biggest star in the world. Her face — from her earliest years to her nineties and at every age in between, from the 25-year-old Queen to her venerable old age — was instantly recognisable to billions.
Her face appeared on an estimated 500billion stamps.
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There were countless attempts to portray her on screen.
Freya Wilson played Elizabeth as a young child in The King’s Speech.
But even the best of them — Mirren’s Academy Award-winning movie turn and Foy as the young monarch — were mere snapshots, classy caricatures of a moment in time.
Because capturing Queen Elizabeth II — on canvas, on screen big or small — was ultimately an impossible task, like trying to bottle history.
‘Immovable sense of duty’
Queen Elizabeth II was famous for so long. As a baby, her face beamed from magazines all over the globe.
You have to be well over the age of 70 to remember a time when she was not on the throne.
She was the longest-living and longest-reigning monarch in British history and one of the longest-serving heads of state in the history of the world.
Anyone who became famous enough eventually entered her orbit. Cuándo Bobby Moore collected England’s only World Cup en 1966, she handed him the trophy. She gave The Beatles their MBEs. She knighted Captain Tom Moore.
History came to have tea with her.
los 14 Prime Ministers who served her and came to chat once a week read like a litany of our nation’s story: Winston Churchill. Anthony Eden. Harold Macmillan. Alec Douglas-Home. Harold Wilson. Edward Heath. James Callaghan. Margaret Thatcher. John Major. tony blair. Gordon Brown. David Cameron. Theresa May. Boris Johnson.
She forged the transformation of the former British Empire — and its 2.5billion people — to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Her Majesty was respected in every corner of the planet. She forged the transformation of the former British Empire — and its 2.5billion people — to the Commonwealth of Nations.
But at her passing, she was still the head of the Commonwealth, 56 member states that were mostly former imperial territories — their only connection language, history and an abiding love for their Queen.
With her handbags and her hats, Her Majesty always seemed to carry the same accessories as your mother or grandmother.
But that ordinary demeanour was misleading, and an integral part of her stardom.