England is in mourning, the news has gone around the world: Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96 (nice score). Although crowned a year later, she ascended the throne of England in 1952, and reigned for 70 years. 7 decades. It is enormous. So inevitably, in 25,764 days, she has seen changes, innovations and laws pass by!
1. The scale of the world’s population
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In 1952, we were close to 2.6 billion people on earth. 70 years later, we are more than 3 times more numerous! According to projections, on November 15, 2022, the threshold of 8 billion humans should be crossed. Yes, that’s a lot.
2. GDP per capita in England
When Lizzie ascended the throne (the real one, huh) in 1952, the UK was still feeling the brunt of World War II on its economy. GDP was then £8,500/year, compared to £32,600 today. Yes, it’s 3.8 times higher… Well done!
3. The map of Europe
In 1952, the European Union as such did not yet exist. That year, six countries united under the name of “European Coal and Steel Community” (ECSC), but England was not one of them. The ancestor of the EU is made up of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. It was not until 1973 that the United Kingdom joined the EEC (European Economic Community). In 1992, with the Treaty of Maastricht, the EEC became the European Union, and then had 12 States. The map will continue to change again and again, to reach 28 Member States. In January 2020, it’s Brexit: the United Kingdom withdraws and changes, once again, the borders of the EU.
4. The number of countries in the Commonwealth
When the Queen is crowned, the Commonwealth has only 9 members (the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka). Today, they are about fifty.
5. Death Penalty Laws
During the first 13 years of the Queen’s reign, a person guilty of murder could receive the death penalty. In 1965, she signed the Murder Act, outlawing the death penalty.
6. LGBTQ+ rights
Yes… Until 1967, homosexuality was considered illegal in the United Kingdom. First step forward, therefore, by legalizing sexual orientation. Second advance in 2005, when adoption became possible for homoparental families. Finally, in 2013, Queen Elizabeth authorized same-sex marriage. It’s nice.
7. The place of women
Also in 1967, the United Kingdom decriminalized abortion with the “Abortion Act”. From there Scotland, England and Wales allow abortion the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. On the other hand, it will be necessary to wait until 2019 (!!!!) for Ireland to agree to decriminalize the voluntary termination of pregnancy.
During her reign, the Queen also gave more power to women, especially in politics. In 1978, Margaret Thatcher became the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 2013, the Queen ended a traditional gender-based inheritance law to open it up to women. Indeed, for a long time, it had been written that the next successor of the king was not the first child, but the first boy of the siblings. Well… This is no longer the case thanks to Lizzie which ended male primacy.
8. Means of transport
In 1952, to travel from one continent to another, you had to be patient and not get seasick. The journeys were made by boat, and could last for long weeks! It was from 1960 that air travel became more common. A great aviation enthusiast, Elizabeth II traveled from Barbados to London in Concorde. It was in 1977.
When Elizabeth became queen, the internet didn’t exist. The first PC was marketed only 29 years later. The fashionable telephone was the “toad telephone” (the photo below). Cell phones obviously did not exist. It was “another world, another life”, as Céline says.
10. The number of TVs per household
Yes, because in 1952, we already had TV and radio for a while! Admittedly, they didn’t look as good as our 1249893322-inch 4K flat screens, but still! At the beginning of the 1950s, television was a luxury product, which only 350,000 English households had afforded. Already in 1960, nearly three-quarters of the population owned one. Fun fact: The Queen’s coronation, broadcast on TV, was one of the most watched events on screen. Today, 26.8 million households in the UK have a television.
11. Certain Dogmas of the Church
The religion of the United Kingdom is Anglicanism: a Christian denomination claiming to be both Catholic and Reformed. When Elizabeth arrived at the head of the kingdom, the priests were, as is still the case among Catholics, necessarily men. In 1994, in England, this profession was extended to women. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but we find it damn badass. She knew how to break the codes the Queen of England!
12. Heads of State of many countries
The queen reigned for 70 years. It is enormous ! Believe me, she had time to see heads of state and ministers pass by. For example, at the beginning of his reign, Truman presided over the USA. She therefore reigned during the mandates of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden. 13 American presidents! It’s crazy, right? Another incredible element of comparison: when the Fifth French Republic was born, the Queen had already reigned for 6 years.
13. Currencies (but not in the UK)
Well ok, it’s clearly not the craziest point of this top since our grandparents, our parents, and the oldest among us (oupsie, sorry) also remember it. Still, at the beginning of her reign, the Queen had never heard of “euros”. France paid in francs, Spain in pesetas, Germany in Deutsche Marks and England in pounds sterling. In 2002, many EU countries abandoned their national currencies to switch to the euro. England refused the change and kept the books. Among the reluctant consequences of the Queen’s death: it will be necessary to review all British banknotes, coins and stamps, today stamped with the Queen’s portrait.
14. World famous stars
In the 1950s, we had Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, or Elizabeth Taylor in the movies. On the singing side, these were the great years of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Edith Piaf,… In 2022, among the most popular actors in Hollywood we find Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Dwayne Johnson or Tom Cruise. On the singing side, Taylor Swift, Drake or Justin Bieber are world famous. Yes, we are no longer on the same delirium.
Either way, the Queen’s darling was called Craig. Daniel Craig.
In 1952, English food was simply disgusting. In 2022, she is divinely despicable. There are things that don’t move.