As a world leader for over 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II had to make a lot of speeches.
Some of her most powerful addresses came before she even officially took the throne, and continued through regular speeches on Christmas and in moments of crisis. Even just months before her death at age 96, the queen was still speaking to the nation, reminiscing fondly about her husband, Prince Philip.
Here are some of her most memorable.
1947 Birthday Message
Though she wouldn’t be queen until 1956, Princess Elizabeth delivered a message on her 21st birthday in South Africa in which she dedicated her life to serving the British Empire.
1997 Tribute to Princess Diana
After Princess Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth honored her daughter-in-law’s unforgettable life with remarks at Buckingham Palace, even though the pair had a notoriously difficult relationship.
“In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness,” Queen Elizabeth said. “I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.”
2020 COVID-19 Broadcast
In an April 2020 address livestreamed from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth acknowledged the toll the COVID-19 pandemic had taken on the world and encouraged others to persevere.
She ended the broadcast with the now iconic line, “We will meet again.”
1940 BBC Children’s Hour Broadcast
At just 13 years old, Princess Elizabeth delivered her first-ever public speech on the radio. a morale-boosting message addressed to fellow young people affected by World War II.
“And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place,” she said.
1960 State Opening of Parliament
To kick off the parliamentary year, the queen highlights priorities for the upcoming months. Queen Elizabeth delivered a particularly rousing speech in 1960, which was also the first one filmed in color.
“My armed forces will continue to make their contribution to the safeguarding of world peace,” she said. “The friendship which links us to our great ally, the United States of America, is a powerful element of the defense of peace.”
1957 Christmas Broadcast
Queen Elizabeth delivered her first Christmas address to the UK in 1957, in what became a national tradition that has also served as a unifying event at the end of each year. She wasn’t the first to broadcast a Christmas speech, but she was the first to have her speeches televised, 25 years after her grandfather King George V’s appeared on the radio.
“Twenty-five years ago, my grandfather broadcast the first of these Christmas messages,” she said. “Today is another landmark, because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day. My own family often gather round to watch television, as they are at this moment, and that is how I imagine you now.
“I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct. It’s inevitable that I should seem a rather remote figure to many of you, a successor to the kings and queens of history, someone whose face may be familiar in newspapers and films but who never really touches your personal lives. But now, at least for a few minutes, I welcome you to the peace of my own home.”
2021 Christmas Broadcast
In her final Christmas speech, Queen Elizabeth honored her late husband, Prince Philip, with a heartfelt address.
“His sense of service, intellectual curiosity, and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation were all irrepressible,” she said. “That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.”