As the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrating her 70th year on the throne, approaches, interest in Elizabeth II’s reign has blossomed.
The Royals have been subject of intrigue for as long as they’ve held their titles, with recent years introducing a younger generation to England’s past through popular series such as The Crown and films such as The King’s Speech.
The Focus takes a look at how 1960 signalled a decade of change to come for the Queen.
Queen Elizabeth II welcomes new changes in 1960
The start of a new decade brought changes for Elizabeth II in both her personal life and rule. Kicking off the year, February saw Queen Elizabeth II decree that all the Royals were to be the House of Windsor and all of her children thereafter shall bear the name Mountbatten-Windsor.
The Queen made this announcement just before the birth of her third child, Prince Andrew. Andrew, Duke of York, was born on 19 February 1960 in Buckingham Palace, London. The birth of Andrew was the first child to be born to a reigning monarch for 103 years.
The Royal Family continued to expand as three months later Princess Margaret married the British photographer and filmmaker Antony Armstrong-Jones.
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What 1960 had in store for Elizabeth II
While a majority of Queen Elizabeth II’s year was taken over by the birth of her third child, that didn’t stop 1960 from being an important year for her rule.
The year saw Elizabeth II strengthen ties with the Thai Royal Family, as King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit made a state visit to see the Queen. It also saw Queen Elizabeth II head to both Wales and Scotland on visits.
On 10 October 1960, Elizabeth II visited Perth, Scotland to officially open the Queen’s Bridge.
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The Royals and the Swinging Sixties
The sixties were a tumultuous decade the world over, bringing changes to music, fashion and culture. They were equally tumultuous for the Royals, as the decade saw numerous challenges and scandals hit the family.
One of the scandalous incidents to occur surrounded Princess Margaret’s controversial tour to the United States in 1965. Margaret embarked on the tour amid tense relations between the UK and US. The princess was banned from making future official visits to the US after this tour, which saw Margaret dancing up all night with then-President Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson.
The decade also saw catastrophe hit the UK, as the Aberfan disaster occurred in Wales in 1966. This collapse of a colliery spoil tip took the lives of 144 people, including 116 children.
It also marked a change in Royal rule, as the wave of decolonisation kicked into gear throughout the sixties. At the start of the decade, Queen Elizabeth II held sway over Cyprus, Nigeria, Somaliland, Kuwait, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, South Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Malta, Zambia, Maldives, Gambia, Barbados, Botswana, Guyana, Lesotho, South Yemen, Eswatini, Mauritius, and Nauru. All of these countries and territories gained their independence from the UK throughout the 1960s.