Royals

In pictures: The Queen’s birthday

As New Zealand celebrates the Queen's birthday, we take a look back at the monarch's record-breaking royal reign
Queen Elizabeth II

As New Zealand officially celebrates the Queen’s birthday today, we’re taking a look back at the beloved royal’s life and reign in pictures.

From her early years growing up with younger sister Margaret at the family home in London to her record-breaking reign of more than 63 years, the Queen has become one of the most recognisable figures of the monarchy today.

At the age of 10, she became the next in line to the throne of the United Kingdom, and when she ascended the throne in 1952, she promised to “always work”, as her father did before her, “to advance the happiness and prosperity of [her] peoples, spread as they are all the world over”.

On September 9 last year, she set a new record as the longest-reigning royal in the entire 1300-year history of the monarchy, breaking the record previously held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who held the throne for 63 years and 217 days.

In celebration of that milestone, Prince William paid a touching tribute to his grandmother in a new biography of the monarch, describing her as both a public and private role model.

“The Queen’s kindness and sense of humour, her innate sense of calm and perspective, and her love of family and home are all attributes I experience first-hand,” William writes.

“Time and again, the Queen has shown us that we can confidently embrace the future without compromising the things that are important.”

Take a look back at Queen Elizabeth II’s life and reign in photos

All photos: Getty

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Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II, celebrates her 90th Birthday

In this photo taken June 1936, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth pose for a family snapshot in the ground of Windsor Castle with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and their four dogs.

Photo: Studio Lisa/Getty

The family are photographed before their visit to South Africa. Photo: Gamma-Rapho via Getty

The Princesses get dressed up to take part in a pantomime at Windsor Castle in December 1944. Photo: Studio Lisa/Getty

Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, pose for an engagement photo at Buckingham Palace in 1947. Photo: Fox Photos via Getty

Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, June 1953. The Queen’s coronation gown was embroidered with flora from countries of the Commonwealth – including New Zealand’s silver fern. Photo: Hulton Archive via Getty

The royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Photo: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive via Getty

That same year, Queen Elizabeth II would be the first reigning monarch to ever visit New Zealand. Photo: Print Collector via Getty

The Queen takes a stroll with her daughter Princess Anne and her granddaughter Zara through the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Photo: Gamma-Keystone via Getty

The Queen huddles close to her grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry in the Royal Box at Guards Polo Club in Windsor. Photo: Tim Graham/Getty

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Prince William shares a memory of The Queen

The Queen honours Angelina Jolie as an ‘Honorary Dame’ during a private audience in the 1844 Room and Buckingham Palace. Photo: WPA Pool via Getty

The Queen leans down to talk with her great-grandson Prince George at the christening of Princess Charlotte. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty

The Queen and Prince Harry are pictured during the ‘Trooping the Colour’ celebrations in June 2015. Photo: Getty

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Prince George, held by doting dad Prince William, Duchess Catherine, the Queen, Prince Harry and Prince Philip are pictured on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the celebrations, which officially mark the sovereign’s birthday. Photo: Getty

Queen Elizabeth II waves during a visit to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham on July 16, 2015. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty

The Queen is seen leaving the 70th anniversary of VJ Day service of commemoration at St Martin-in-the-Fields in August 2015. Photo: Danny Martindale/WireImage

Prince Philip and the Queen during the Trooping the Colour celebrations in honour of her birthday. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo

On September 9, the day she officially became the longest-reigning royal in the history of the monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II was on hand to open Newtongrange Station in Scotland.

The Queen greets prime minister John Key at Windsor Castle in October, 2015.

The Queen speaks with John Key during an audience held at Windsor Castle.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan accompany the Queen and Prince Philip as they arrive for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace on October 20, 2015.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall accompanies the Queen as they attend a horse whispering demonstration at the Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace on October 21.

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted by Maltese President Marie Louise Coleiro as she arrives at San Anton Palace for the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit on November 26, 2015 in Malta.

Queen Elizabeth II attends a dinner during her tour of Malta in November, 2015.

The Queen is pictured in the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace after recording her Christmas Day broadcast on December 25.

The royal family attended the annual Commonwealth Day service on March 14, 2016.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip attend the traditional Royal Maundy Service at a chapel in Windsor Castle on March 24.

The Queen officially opens the Alexandra bandstand in Windsor on April 20.

The Queen steps out of a carriage to attend a gala in celebration of her 90th birthday at Windsor Castle.

The Queen looks on as performers from around the world put on displays in her honour.

The Queen – with Prince Philip at her side – pictured at the State Opening of Parliament in the UK earlier this year.

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