The tragic news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of the longest reign of any British monarch in history. Over the course of her 70 years on the throne, the Queen of England has been a source of inspiration, strength, and grace, not just for Great Britain but for the world.
Though Elizabeth II was reluctant to give interviews with the press, save for a few rare occasions, her few media appearances transfixed the world and sparked international conversation.
Some of the most memorable moments of media buzz surrounding the Queen, at least from recent memory, including the time she consoled her mourning nation after the death of her daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, her first-ever TV sit-down interview in 2018, her controversy-generating comments on Brexit and her globally talked about reaction to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to abdicate their Royal family duties, among others.
Here are some of the media moments involving Queen Elizabeth II the public will never forget.
HILTON: QUEEN EMBODIED WHAT IS ‘GOOD AND ADMIRABLE’
The Queen shares her grief over the death of Princess Diana with Great Britain and the world
As the U.K. and the world sat in shock and heartbreak over the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, who was killed in a tragic car accident, Queen Elizabeth II made an exceedingly rare televised address to her grieving nation on September 9, 1997.
The Queen’s speech, which was broadcast all over the world, marked only “the second time in her long reign that the Queen has made a special address to the nation,” the BBC reported at the time. Traditionally, Elizabeth II only broadcast her annual Christmas messages, the outlet noted, with the only other exception at the time being her address to the nation on the Gulf War in 1991.
During her famous speech on Princess Diana, the Queen said, “We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger – and concern for those who remain.”
“First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness,” the Queen continued, elsewhere adding, “I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief at Diana’s loss, and gratitude for her all-too-short life.
“It is a chance to show to the whole world the British nation united in grief and respect. May those who died rest in peace. And may we, each and every one of us, thank God for someone who made many, many people happy,” she concluded on that tragic day.
MACCALLUM: QUEEN ELIZABETH II PUT ‘HER COUNTRY FIRST’
The Queen has her first-ever sit-down TV interview
How else could Queen Elizabeth’s first-ever sit-down TV interview be anything other than memorable? Nearly 65 years after she was crowned Queen, Elizabeth II sat down in 2018 for an interview about her time on the throne for the TV documentary “The Coronation” that was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel in the U.S., BBC ONE in the U.K. and ABC in Australia.
Major news outlets worldwide, including CBS, reported on the once-in-a-lifetime interview with the monarch, where she spoke to a historian about the major milestones of her life as Queen, including her first moments wearing the crown.
CBS “This Morning” showcased a segment of the interview in which Elizabeth II recalled the “horrible” carriage she took after being crowned. “Not really comfortable,” she told Smithsonian journalist Alistair Bruce, describing the carriage ride. When asked how far she rode in the carriage that day, she responded, “Halfway around London.”
“We must have gone about four or five miles. We can only go at a walking pace. The horses couldn’t possibly go any faster,” she explained during the short, but highly-watched segment.
Talking to CBS, Bruce claimed he was struck by the Queen’s “utter humility.”
The Queen remarks on ‘Brexit’ for the first time
Another unforgettable media moment from Queen Elizabeth II came when she finally gave her remarks on Brexit in 2018, two years after her country made the decision to leave the European Union. Although the monarch had been keeping quiet about the subject, it did not stop the media and the public from weighing in on whether she was a “Leaver” or a “Remainer.”
Elizabeth II finally provided her statement on the contentious subject in October 2018 during a Buckingham Palace state banquet in honor of Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
She stated, “As we look toward a new partnership with Europe, it is our shared values and commitment to each other that are our greatest asset and demonstrate that even through change, our enduring alliance remains strong, and as innovators, traders and internationalists, we look with confidence to the future.”
The Queen’s attempt at a non-political tone in her statement followed months of speculation about whether she supported Brexit or not. Such buzz was generated by UK paper The Sun, which “published an ‘exclusive bombshell’ on its front page that claimed the ‘Queen Backs Brexit,’” as the Washington Post reported.
The Post added, “The newspaper said that Elizabeth had shared her anti-European Union views with Nick Clegg, the then-deputy prime minister. Clegg said the report was ‘nonsense.’”
The Queen speaks publicly about her battle with COVID-19
In February 2022, the 95-year-old monarch gave the world quite a scare when it was announced that she had tested positive for COVID-19. As Fox Digital reported at the time, “The monarch’s age, COVID-19 diagnosis, and a health scare last year have caused worry among officials and the public. Her positive test for the coronavirus over the weekend prompted concern and get-well wishes from across Britain’s political spectrum.”
Her first time addressing her illness since being diagnosed with the virus sent waves of relief throughout the global community. World media outlets broadcast video of the Queen, who seemed to be in good spirits as she virtually toured the new “Queen Elizabeth Unit” of the Royal London Hospital in April.
While on the video call, Elizabeth described her battle with the virus, saying she was suffering “mild cold-like symptoms.”
“It [COVID] does leave one very tired and exhausted, doesn’t it?” she remarked to hospital staff. Towards the end of the call, she spoke to construction workers who built the wing, saying, “It is very interesting, isn’t it, when there is some very vital thing, how everybody works together and pulls together – marvellous isn’t it?” the BBC reported.
CHARLES ASCENDS TO THE THRONE AFTER DEATH OF QUEEN ELIZABETH II
The Queen speaks on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell Oprah Interview
Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, generated global controversy in 2020 over their decision to abdicate from royal life. They cited grievances with how they were treated by the Royal Family and expressed a desire to live untethered from the social duties attached to the family.
Harry and Meghan’s alleged issues with the Royal Family gained massive media attention and prompted gossip among the public of what life among the Royals Family was really like. The incident culminated in a high-profile interview between the couple and Oprah Winfrey in 2021, where Harry and Meghan exposed their issues.
As Fox News Digital reported last year, Markle told Oprah “there were ‘concerns and conversations’ about how ‘dark’ her son Archie’s ‘skin might be when he’s born,’ and she also alleged that she was denied from receiving mental health care as she was battling suicidal thoughts.”
The media and public waited with bated breath for the Royals’ response. The Queen finally provided a statement about the accusations and interview that was shocking in its sympathy and kindness towards the couple despite, the drama that had been stirred up.
She wrote, “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”