49 Moments That Changed the Royal Family Forever

49 Moments That Changed the Royal Family Forever

jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Monday 25th July 2022


49 Moments That Changed the Royal Family Forever

The British royal family is used to navigating tricky situations⁠, from sudden abdications to scrutiny in the press. But through the good and the bad, they’ve managed to remain one of the most influential monarchies in the world. Here, we take a look back at some of the biggest moments in history that changed the royal family forever.

  1. 1837: Queen Victoria’s Ascension to the Throne

Queen Victoria was fifth in line for the throne, but after her father’s death in 1820 when she was eight months old, she became the heir because her uncles had no direct heirs. She became Queen when she turned 18 in 1837 after King William II (the brother and successor of Victoria’s grandfather) died and changed the royal lineage forever. She served as monarch for 63 years and was the longest English reign until her great-great granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, passed her in 2015.

  1. 1839: Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress

If you were a fan of Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton’s wedding dresses, you kind of have Queen Victoria to thank. The British monarchy started the tradition of brides wearing white on their wedding day when she married Prince Albert. Before then, women didn’t wear one set colour.

  1. 1861: The Death of Prince Albert

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married in 1839 and remained extremely loyal to one another throughout their marriage. When the prince died in 1861, Queen Victoria not only lost her devoted husband, but a strong political advisor. Following his death, the Queen entered into intense mourning—sleeping with a plaster cast of his hand, wearing only black for the remainder of her life, and receding from courtier life, which led to 25 years of seclusion.

  1. 1917: Becoming the Windsors

In the midst of World War I, the British royal family changed their family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor in order to tone down their German ancestry. Here, King George V is pictured with his cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, in Berlin just before the start of the war.

  1. 1932: The First Christmas Broadcast

King George V was the first monarch to deliver a speech to the entire nation by radio broadcast on Christmas. Although the King was hesitant about doing the speech, it was a big deal for people across the empire to hear his voice in their own homes. His short message, written by Rudyard Kipling, was the monarchy’s first step at embracing modernization. “I take it as a good omen that wireless should have reached its present perfection at a time when the Empire has been linked in closer union. For it offers us immense possibilities to make that union closer still,” the King said in 1932.

  1. 1936: Edward VIII Abdicates the Throne

The monarchy entered into a constitutional crisis on December 11, 1936 when Edward VIII, who was set to take the throne after his father’s death, announced his abdication. In the Prince’s speech over radio broadcast, Edward spoke of his inability to carry out his duties without the woman he loved by his side, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. After his abdication, he took the title of Duke of Windsor, married Simpson, and the two lived in exile in France.

  1. 1937: King George VI Ascends the Throne

Prince Albert of York, who never expected to rule, was suddenly coronated and became King George VI. He and his family moved into Buckingham Palace and Princess Elizabeth II was named heir to the throne at the age of 10.

  1. 1939: Britain Enters World War II

The entire nation was devoted to the war effort in 1939. While the King and Queen stayed in Buckingham Palace, the princesses were moved to Windsor Castle for safety. Later, Princess Elizabeth served as a mechanic in the war.

  1. 1947: Princess Elizabeth Marries Philip Mountbatten

Royal advisors weren’t too keen on the match between Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, who was a member of the exiled Greek royal family. But the young princess advocated for him and the two were married on November 20, 1947, in which the Princess promised to “love, to cherish, and to obey” her husband—which many thought was a bold move for a future monarch to promise.

  1. 1947: India Gains Independence

India was one of the most valuable territories under the British empire’s control, so when the country sought independence in 1947 it was a huge loss to the crown. But World War II made the monarchy realize they couldn’t maintain a global empire, so they helped India form a new government, which Lord Mountbatten oversaw.

  1. 1952: King George VI Dies

After the death of her father King George VI, Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II. The Princess heard of the news while standing in for her ailing father on a royal tour in Africa and had not packed a black dress. She had to change into one on the plane after landing in London and has since created a royal protocol that all members of the royal family must travel with a mourning outfit in case a similar situation arises.

  1. 1953: Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation

In 1953, Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in Westminster Abbey was the first to air on television. The historic moment was watched by over 27 million people around the world.

  1. 1953: Princess Margaret and Captain Peter Townsend

When news broke of Princess Margaret’s relationship with Captain Peter Townsend, it was a royal scandal. Not only was Townsend a royal officer who worked as an equerry for the household, but he was married. Townsend divorced his wife, but parliament wouldn’t approve of their marriage because the Church of England was against divorce and it was too soon after the Duke of Windsor’s abdication scandal. There was nothing for Queen Elizabeth to do, but the press was heavily on the couple’s side and vilified the monarchy’s strict stance.

  1. 1960: The First Televised Royal Wedding

Princess Margaret’s Westminster Abbey wedding to Antony Armstrong Jones was the first British royal wedding to air on television. Since then, it’s become a tradition to televise royal weddings.

  1. 1976: Princess Margarets Divorce

There hadn’t been a divorced member of the royal family since King Henry VIII in the 1500s, until Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon announced their separation in 1976.

  1. 1979: Lord Mountbatten Is Assassinated

Prince Philip’s uncle and close member of the royal family’s inner circle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) when they planted a bomb on his boat. Mountbatten, his grandson, and two others were killed in the explosion.

  1. 1981: Prince Charles and Princess Diana Wed

When the Queen’s eldest son, and heir apparent, announced his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer, the world became captivated with the couple. Their July wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral was watched by more than 750 million people and lured a whole new generation of people—including Americans—into the royal fairytale.

  1. 1982: An Heir Is Born

The Queen’s grandson, Prince William, was born on June 21, 1982 in the Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital. The birth of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s first son reordered the line of succession, with the newborn becoming second in line to the throne.

  1. 1989: Princess Anne Divorces

The Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, announced her divorce from Captain Mark Phillips in 1989, which was finalized in 1992. The couple had been married since 1973 and shared two children. The Princess married Timothy Laurence shortly after her divorce was finalized.

  1. 1992: Prince Charles’s Cheating Allegations

A leaked telephone conversation between Prince Charles and his married ex-girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, revealed that the Prince of Wales had been cheating on his wife, Princess Diana.

  1. 1992: Charles and Diana Announce Their Divorce

In 1992, Buckingham Palace released a statement that the Prince of Wales planned to divorce his wife, Princess Diana. The couple, who had been plagued by rumors of infidelity for years, expressed their plans to separate before formal divorce proceedings could be drawn up.

  1. 1992: Windsor Castle Catches Fire

A massive fire broke out in Windsor Castle in November 1992. The fire damaged more than 119 rooms in the palace and resulted in extensive renovations.

  1. 1992: Another Royal Separation

Another one of the Queen’s children, Prince Andrew, announced his separation from wife Sarah Ferguson in 1992. The Queen has since called the year of 1992 “annus horribilus,” meaning horrible year in Latin.

  1. 1992: The Duchess of York’s Tabloid Scandal

Soon after her separation was announced, Ferguson was caught in a compromising position while on vacation with American financier, John Bryan. The images covered every newspaper and was tabloid fodder for a while, causing great embarrassment to the royal household. It resulted in Fergie being removed from the inner circle.

  1. 1995: Princess Diana’s Unauthorized Interview

While separated from Prince Charles, Diana decided to give her side of the story and organized an unauthorized interview from her Kensington Palace apartment. In the unprecedented interview, Diana not only revealed the full extent of Prince Charles’s infidelity (it had been going on for a long time), but also described how she struggled to cope with the pressures of royal life.

  1. 1997: Princess Diana’s Tragic Death

In August 1997, news broke that Princess Diana had passed away in a tragic car crash in Paris. People all around the world mourned and flooded to Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace to pay their respects. She was dubbed “the People’s Princess” and the royal family’s silence following Diana’s death prompted outrage from citizens…so much that Queen Elizabeth addressed the nation in a televised speech, which had never been done before.

  1. 2002: The Queen Loses Princess Margaret and Her Mother

Queen Elizabeth faced two tremendous losses within the same year. Her younger sister, Princess Margaret, and her mother passed away within months of one another.

  1. 2010: Sarah Ferguson’s Bribery Scandal

The former Duchess of York damaged her relationship with the monarchy once again when she was exposed for exchanging money with an undercover reporter for access to her ex-husband.

  1. 2011: Prince William Marries Kate Middleton

Prince William made headlines when he proposed to longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2010, with his late mother’s engagement ring. As Middleton did not come from a noble background, she was technically considered a “commoner” in British society.

  1. 2012: The Queen Reaches Her Diamond Jubilee

The Queen celebrated her 60-year reign in 2012 with her Diamond Jubilee. Four years later, she passed Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

  1. 2013: Prince George Is Born

Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their first child, Prince George, in 2013. The arrival of the royal baby was met with much pomp and circumstance, as he became third in line to the throne.

  1. 2015: Princess Charlotte Makes History

Princesses typically get the short end of the stick when it comes to the line of succession, but thanks to the Succession to the Crown Act of 2013, Princess Charlotte became the first princess whose position in line for the crown would not be overtaken by the birth of a second male heir.

  1. 2015: Queen becomes Longest reigning British Monarch

Queen Elizabeth II became the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015 when she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria. On 6 February 2017 she became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee, commemorating 65 years on the throne. I

  1. 2017: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Get Engaged

After months of speculation, Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement at Kensington Palace in November 2017. The decision was made with the Queen’s blessing. It was a historic moment, as Markle is of mixed-race, divorced, and the first American to marry into the royal family.

  1. 2018: Meghan Walks Herself Down the Aisle

After her father was unable to attend her wedding ceremony, Markle chose to walk herself down the aisle.

  1. 2018: Feud Rumours Arise

Rumours about a rift between the Duchesses (that’s Cambridge and Sussex, BTW) began in November 2018. Allegations and “inside scoops” flew back and forth for months before it came out that the rift reportedly lied between Prince William and Prince Harry. The media coverage of the supposed feud even prompted the palace to make a statement about it, which was extremely unprecedented. Meghan addressed the rumors in her Oprah tell-all interview.

  1. 2019: Prince Andrew Is Associated With the Jeffrey Epstein Case

Prince Andrew’s friendship with convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, had been a subject of controversy for years. In 2019, the royal announced he was stepping back from all royal duties after one of the victims in the Epstein case named Prince Andrew personally.

  1. 2019: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor Is Born

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their first child in May 2019. The couple opted against giving their newborn a royal title and instead named him Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

  1. 2019: Harry and Meghan Open Up in a Documentary

After returning from their royal tour of Africa, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex released a personal documentary, in which the couple expressed their recent struggles with the media scrutiny. The interview shocked the public, as royals do not typically give direct interviews. A few days after the documentary’s release, Meghan announced she was suing a British media company for publishing a private letter written to her father.

  1. 2020: Harry and Meghan Leave the Royal Family

In a move that shocked the world—including the Queen—Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced via Instagram that they “intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.” Their message spurred a response from the palace, where the monarch stated that the couple would split their time between the U.K. and Canada.

  1. 2020: Peter Phillips Announces His Divorce

News of another royal divorce circulated in February 2020. Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, and his wife, Autumn, announced their divorce. They said they would continue to co-parent their two daughters.

  1. 2020: Meghan Markle Gets Her First Post-Royal Project

Not long after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle decided to seek financial independence, the source of the couple’s first non-royal paycheck was revealed. The Duchess signed on to a project with Disney, narrating a wildlife documentary about elephants. It was the first role she held after joining the royal family in 2018.

  1. 2020: The COVID-19 Lockdown Happens

As COVID-19 cases soared in March 2020, the royal family was forced into lockdown, as was the rest of the world. The Queen and Prince Philip isolated at Windsor Castle with a limited staff, while Prince William and his family left Kensington Palace for their country home in Norfolk.

  1. 2020: The Queen Goes to a Public Engagement

After months of cancelled engagements, the Queen stepped out for her first public engagement since the beginning of the pandemic in October 2020. She was joined by her grandson, the Duke of Cambridge, to visit Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Salisbury, England.

  1. 2020: The Family Has a Distanced Christmas

As the country entered the holiday season under strict government guidelines, the royal family chose not to gather at Sandringham for Christmas, per their usual tradition. Instead, only the senior members of the family posed for a distanced photograph outside of the Queen’s lockdown residence, Windsor Castle.

  1. 2021: Meghan and Harry Reveal All to Oprah

In an unprecedented move, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sat down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey in March 2021. Among the many topics that were discussed was Meghan’s struggle with suicidal thoughts, issues of racism within the royal family, and the exciting news that their second child is a girl.

  1. 2021: Prince Philip Passes Away

Buckingham Palace announced the news of Prince Philip’s death on April 9, 2021. The Duke of Edinburgh was 99 years old when he passed away and had been married to Queen Elizabeth for 73 years. The Queen was poignantly photographed sitting alone, due to coronavirus restrictions, at his funeral, which was held on April 17, 2021 at St George’s Chapel in Windsor.

  1. 2022: Queen Celebrates Platinum Jubilee

From Thursday 2nd June until Sunday 5th June 2022 there was a 4 Day Weekend and Bank Holiday was held with lots of events to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II being on the throne for 70 years. Events such as Trooping the Colour, Thanksgiving Service, Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant amongst many more street parties and events.

  1. 2022: Queen became the second-longest serving sovereign monarch in history

The Queen became the second-longest serving sovereign monarch in history of the world. As of Monday, 13th June 2022she has been on the throne for 70 years and 127 days, second only to Louis XIV of France who became king at the age of four.  She overtakes Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016, having equalled his reign on Sunday.


The Top 10: B-sides that should have been A-sides

By John Rentoul – Independent

Forgive me if I have posted this before but it is one of my favourites.

Good tunes that were originally released on the other side of a single, known to younger readers as ‘track 2’

William French started this one, after I mentioned “Half the World Away” by Oasis, the B-side to “Whatever” (1994). We had already done “Your Song” by Elton John (1970) and “Maggie May” by Rod Stewart (1971) in Top 10 Hits that Blindsided Experts and Gatekeepers, which included things that weren’t music, so here are 10 more, in chronological order.

  1. “Green Onions”, Booker T and the MG’s. B-side to “Behave Yourself”, 1962.
  2. “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Sam Cooke. B-side to “Shake”, 1964. Nominated by Mitchell Stirling.
  3. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, the Rolling Stones. B-side to “Honky Tonk Women”, 1969.
  4. “Bell Bottom Blues”, Derek and the Dominos. B-side to “Layla”, 1971. Thanks to Andy Ecelson.
  5. “The Man Who Sold the World”, David Bowie. B-side to reissue of “Life on Mars?”, 1973.
  6. “Silver Springs”, Fleetwood Mac. B-side to “Go Your Own Way”, 1976.
  7. “52 Girls”, B-52’s. B-side to “Rock Lobster”, 1978. With thanks to the well-known Alex.
  8. “Liza Radley”, The Jam. B-side to “Start!”, 1980. “A very great injustice,” said Patrick O’Flynn.
  9. “How Soon Is Now?” The Smiths. B-side to “William, It Was Really Nothing”, 1984, which had two songs on the B-side, the other being “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want”, which also should have been an A-side.
  10. “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)”, Green Day. B-side to “Brain Stew”, released in Germany, 1994.

No room, then, for “Pearly”, Radiohead, the B-side to “Paranoid Android”, 1997.

Several nominations for “The Model” by Kraftwerk, but it was originally the A-side in Germany, although it was first released as a B-side in Britain.

REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort



 “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.” ―Mother Teresa


Happiness is…finding a B side that is worthy of being an A side.


Which branch of the military accepts toddlers? The infantry.


Love is…someone to look up to.


Never lend money that you need back.


A time for You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones…A time for Honky Tonk Women also by the Rolling Stones.





©2022 Phil M Robinson