On the afternoon of 8 September 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, sadly passed away at Balmoral, her home in the Scottish Highlands. Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for 70 years, Her Majesty’s tenure can be defined by a sense of duty that has made her one of the world’s most respected heads of state.
Born Princess Elizabeth Windsor on 21 April 1926, she was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. During the Second World War, determined to do her bit, the 18-year-old princess joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. She married Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in 1947, then welcomed her first child, Prince Charles, in 1948, and Princess Anne, in 1950.
Her relatively quiet life as a wife and mother came to an abrupt end in 1952 when she learned of the death of her father, King George VI, while on a royal tour of Kenya. She was crowned at the tender age of 27 in 1953, though she became Queen the moment her father died the previous year.
The first Wimbledon Championships were held on 9 June 1877 and were advertised as a ‘lawn tennis meeting, open to all amateurs’ and played at Worple Road in Wimbledon, not far from the current home of Wimbledon Tennis.
Wimbledon Tennis: no women allowed
Women were not allowed to play in this initial meeting, but 22 men turned up and paid the £1 1 shilling fee to take part. A modest crowd of 200 people watched the first matches that were played with wooden rackets and hand-sewn flannel balls.
It wasn’t until 1884 that the All England Club agreed to open the Championships up to both sexes and Lottie Dodd, from Cheshire, made her mark on Wimbledon a few years later as the (still unbeaten) youngest woman to win the title at the age of 15. She went on to win the Championships over the next four years, proving that women deserved a place in the game.
Big Ben, the world’s most famous clock has been under wraps for four years, its iconic bell silenced. This year, restored to its former glory, Big Ben once again shows its face. Words by Rose Shepherd
At 12.01pm on August 21, 2017, something went missing from the soundscape of London.
Big Ben, The 13.7-tonne bell that had tolled the knell of passing day for 154 years, through the reigns of six monarchs, fell silent, to be heard only on Remembrance Sunday and New Year’s Eve, as work began on the restoration of the most recognised clock tower on the planet.
Since then, hundreds of specialist craftsmen and women – stonemasons, glass artists, painters, gilders and horologists – have brought their skills to the £80 million conservation project.