Major milestones during Philip’s long life

Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter
·13-min read

Here are some of the major events and milestones the Duke of Edinburgh lived through:

1921 – The Anglo-Irish Peace Treaty results in partition. Dr Marie Stopes opens the UK’s first birth control clinic. Unemployment reaches a post-war high of 2.5 million.

1922 – Irish Civil War breaks out. Prime Minister David Lloyd George resigns. James Joyce’s Ulysses and TS Eliot’s The Waste Land are published.

1923 – The British Mandate of Transjordan becomes a semi-independent state.

1924 – Ramsay Macdonald becomes the first Labour prime minister.

1925 – Chancellor Winston Churchill returns Britain to the “Gold Standard” – the pre-1914 monetary system. The Plaid Cymru political party is formed. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is published.

1926 – The General Strike. The Duchess of York gives birth to Princess Elizabeth. Television is invented.

The General Strike
A mass gathering in Hyde Park for a meeting during the General Strike of 1926 (PA)

1927 – The BBC begins broadcasts. Charles Lindbergh makes the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic.

1928 – The Oxford English Dictionary is completed after 70 years’ work. Walt Disney creates Mickey Mouse. Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. All women over the age of 21 get the vote.

1929 – The Wall Street Crash triggers the Great Depression.

1930 – Unemployment reaches 2.5 million. Princess Margaret Rose is born.

1931 – The first London trolley bus, television outside broadcast, electric razor, German pocket battleship and neon-lit advertisements.

1932 – Oswald Mosley launches the British Union of Fascists.

1933 – Adolf Hitler becomes German Chancellor. UK unemployment hits three million.

1935 – Italy invades Ethiopia.

1936 – George V dies and Edward VIII becomes King. His abdication forces his brother, the Duke of York, on to the throne as George VI.

Edward VIII
Edward VIII, pictured making his first broadcast as monarch, abdicated in 1936 (PA)

1937 – The Coronation. Nazi leaders greet the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Berlin.

1938 – The Munich Agreement follows the invasion of Austria.

1939 – War with Germany.

1940 – The King and Queen stay put in Buckingham Palace through the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Winston Churchill becomes Prime Minister.

1941 – Pearl Harbour is attacked as Japan enters the war. Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, flies to Britain.

1942 – Montgomery defeats Rommel at El Alamein. The Japanese capture Singapore.

1943 – Italy surrenders.

1944 – The Normandy landings.

1945 – Germany surrenders. Japan surrenders after atom bombs are dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

VE Day
Children celebrate VE Day, marking the end of the war in Europe in 1945, amid the ruins of their bombed homes in Battersea, south London (PA)

1946 – The United Nations is established. Churchill warns of an “Iron Curtain” across Europe. The Labour Government nationalises the Bank of England and the coal industry.

1947 – The National Health Service is set up. India becomes independent. Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

1948 – Railways, canals and road transport are nationalised. Berlin airlift. London Olympics. The National Health Service is formed. Prince Charles is born.

1949 – Russia tests the A-bomb. Nato is established.

1950 – UN landings at Inchon after the start of the Korean War.

1951 – Festival of Britain.

1952 – George VI dies and Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen. Floods devastate the Devon village of Lynmouth. Mau Mau rising in Kenya.

1953 – Sweet rationing ends in Britain. Queen Mary dies. Everest is conquered on the eve of the Coronation.

The Queen
The Queen on Coronation Day in 1953 (PA)

1954 – A study links cancer to smoking. A crash grounds BOAC’s Comet aircraft. The French are defeated at Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. Elvis Presley releases his first record. Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile record.

1955 – Cyprus goes on strike against British rule. Sir Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister due to his failing health. The Warsaw Pact is signed by the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies. Princess Margaret calls off plans to marry Group Captain Peter Townsend.

1956 – The Hungarian uprising and Suez crisis. Teddy Boys rock around the clock. Prince Rainier III of Monaco marries American film star Grace Kelly.

1957 – Prime Minister Harold Macmillan tells a Tory rally “most of our people have never had it so good”. The Treaty of Rome sets up the European Economic Community. Russia launches the Sputnik satellite, the first man-made object ever to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

1958 – Race riots flare in London’s Notting Hill. The Munich air crash kills Manchester United footballers.

1959 – The Mini car makes its first appearance, and the first UK motorway, the M1, opens.

1960 – Macmillan’s Wind of Change speech. Princess Margaret marries Tony Armstrong-Jones.

1961 – John F Kennedy succeeds Dwight Eisenhower as US President. The Berlin Wall is erected. The Soviet Union puts the first man, Yuri Gagarin, into space.

American President John F Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace in 1961 (PA)

1962 – US spaceman John Glenn orbits the Earth. The Cuban Missile crisis is resolved.

1963 – Lord Beeching wields the axe on British Rail. Martin Luther King makes his “I have a dream” speech. US President John F Kennedy is assassinated. Profumo scandal. Great Train Robbery. One of the coldest, snowiest winters on record.

1964 – Beatlemania grips the UK and US. Boxer Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston. Mary Quant pronounces Paris fashion “out of date”.

1965 – Rhodesia declares independence. The US bombs North Vietnam. Britain appoints its first woman High Court judge.

1966 – Swinging London revolves around Carnaby Street and Kings Road. The Queen Mother undergoes major abdominal surgery. England win the World Cup. Aberfan disaster in Wales.

England v West Germany
England captain Bobby Moore holds the Jules Rimet Trophy, collected from the Queen, after England’s 1966 World Cup win (PA)

1967 – Breathalyser introduced. Arab-Israeli War. Nigerian Civil War. Abortion is legalised, as is homosexuality in England and Wales for men in private aged over 21.

1968 – Enoch Powell makes his “rivers of blood” speech. The Ulster Troubles erupt with civil rights protests.

1969 – The death penalty for murder is permanently abolished in Britain. Prince of Wales’s investiture at Caernarfon. British troops sent to Northern Ireland. American Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the moon. Woodstock music festival.

1970 – The voting age is cut from 21 to 18. North Sea oil fields discovered. First jumbo jet lands at Heathrow. Edward Heath wins the election for the Tories. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi takes over as leader of Libya.

1971 – British entry into EEC agreed. Decimalisation – a new decimalised currency is launched in the UK. The Angry Brigade bombs the Employment Secretary’s home.

1972 – The miners’ strike and power crisis – a state of emergency is declared. Industrial Relations Act disputes. Bloody Sunday. The Duke of Windsor dies. The first home video game system is released.

1973 – Britain joins the EEC. The Princess Royal marries Captain Mark Phillips.

1974 – Edward Heath loses narrowly to Harold Wilson, who wins his second general election. US President Richard Nixon resigns over the Watergate affair.

1975 – Margaret Thatcher becomes Conservative Party leader. Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts. End of Vietnam War.

1976 – James Callaghan replaces Harold Wilson at Number 10. One of the hottest summers on record. Concorde begins commercial flights.

1977 – Lib-Lab pact. Grunwick picket clashes. Punk rock. Silver Jubilee. The Queen becomes a grandmother. Red Rum wins the Grand National for a record third time.

The Queen
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on a tour to Fiji during the Silver Jubilee year of 1977 (Ron Bell/PA)

1978 – Rhodesia settlement. Anna Ford becomes ITN’s first primetime woman newscaster. The Red Brigades kidnap former Italian premier Aldo Moro. The world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown, is born in Oldham. Winter of Discontent strikes.

1979 – Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first woman prime minister. The Queen’s art adviser, Anthony Blunt, is exposed as a Russian spy. Fall of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia. Islamic revolutionaries come to power in Iran.

1980 – The SAS storms the Iranian Embassy. Runners Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe win Olympic gold.

1981 – Brixton riots. The Prince of Wales weds Lady Diana Spencer. Unemployment reaches 2.5 million. Britain in recession. The launch of the first space shuttle – Columbia.

Diana and Charles
The Prince and Princess of Wales kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after their wedding (PA)

1982 – Falklands War – Prince Andrew is among those serving in the forces. Intruder in Queen’s bedroom. The Pope visits Britain. King Henry VIII’s Mary Rose is raised to the surface. Prince William is born. Economic recession.

1983 – US President Ronald Reagan makes his Star Wars speech. The Russians shoot down a Korean jetliner.

1984 – The IRA bombs the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Indira Gandhi is assassinated. Bob Geldof launches the Ethiopia appeal. Miners’ strikes. Prince Harry born.

1985 – Bradford City football stadium fire kills 56. Heysel stadium riot kills 39. Live Aid concert held to raise money for Ethiopian famine.

1986 – The funeral of the Duchess of Windsor is held at Frogmore. Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson.

1987 – Zeebrugge disaster. The Great Storm sweeps through southern England. The IRA bombs Enniskillen’s Remembrance Day parade. Hungerford massacre. King’s Cross fire.

1988 – Piper Alpha oil platform disaster. Lockerbie jumbo jet bombing. Government loses Spycatcher legal battle. Professor Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History Of Time is published

1989 – Hillsborough disaster. Berlin Wall falls. Tiananmen Square massacre. Author Salman Rushdie goes into hiding. Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web.

1990 – Mrs Thatcher resigns after a leadership contest. John Major becomes prime minister. Iraq invades Kuwait. Nelson Mandela is released from prison. Poll tax riots.

Margaret Thatcher
PM Margaret Thatcher on the day of her resignation in 1990 after 11 years in power (PA)

1991 – The Allies launch Operation Desert Storm in the Gulf War against Iraq. Mikhail Gorbachev resigns. Birmingham Six freed after 16 years in jail.

1992 – The Queen’s “annus horribilis” – the Princess Royal and Captain Phillips divorce, the Waleses and the Yorks separate, and Windsor Castle goes up in flames. Black Wednesday – the day Britain crashed out of the ERM. The break-up of Yugoslavia.

1993 – Publication of the Prince of Wales’s intimate talk with Camilla Parker Bowles. The IRA bombs Warrington. Buckingham Palace opens to the public. Stephen Lawrence is stabbed to death in Eltham, south-east London.

1994 – Labour leader John Smith dies. The Queen and French President Francois Mitterrand open the Channel Tunnel. 50th anniversary of D-Day. The Prince of Wales admits adultery in TV documentary. IRA ceasefire. The Queen visits Russia. Genocide in Rwanda. Age of consent for gay men reduced to 18.

1995 – Official Aids cases pass one million mark. Barings Bank collapses. Terrorist gas attacks panic Tokyo and Yokohama. VE Day and VJ Day commemorated. Princess Diana’s Panorama interview.

1996 – The Duke and Duchess of York divorce. The Prince and Princess of Wales divorce. A mid-air crash in India kills more than 350. Fire in Channel Tunnel. Ban on exports of British beef amid the BSE crisis

1997 – New Labour under Tony Blair beats the Conservatives, ending 18 years of Tory rule. The Royal Yacht Britannia is decommissioned. Diana, Princess of Wales dies in a car crash in Paris. Scotland and Wales vote for devolution. Dolly the Sheep is cloned. Handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China.

1998 – War breaks out in Europe as a Nato coalition attacks Yugoslavia. Digital TV is launched. Operation Desert Fox in Iraq. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Omagh bombing.

1999 – The European single currency, the euro, is born. Prince Edward marries Sophie Rhys-Jones.

2000 – A new millennium and the Queen Mother’s 100th year. British rower Steve Redgrave makes Olympic history by winning his fifth consecutive gold medal. George W Bush becomes US President.

The millennium
Philip and the Queen join PM Tony Blair and wife Cherie during the singing of Auld Lang Syne at the millennium New Year’s Eve celebrations (Fiona Hanson/PA)

2001 – September 11 terrorist attacks. Foot-and-mouth outbreak in UK. First space tourist. Britain joins the US in strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Age of consent for gay men reduced to 16.

2002 – The Queen’s Golden Jubilee. The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret die. Twelve European Union countries adopt the euro.

2003 – Britain and the US go to war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

2004 – Double Olympic gold for Kelly Holmes in 800m and 1500m in Athens. Asian tsunami kills more than 100,000.

2005 – Pope John Paul II dies and is succeeded by Pope Benedict XVI. The Prince of Wales marries Camilla Parker Bowles. London wins the 2012 Olympics bid. July 7 terror attacks in London. Civil partnerships give same-sex couples legal rights.

2006 – Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is hanged in Baghdad. Lebanon War.

2007 – Gordon Brown replaces Tony Blair as Prime Minister. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

2008 – A jury returns a verdict of unlawful killing in the inquest into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The UK enters a recession following the financial crisis. Barack Obama is elected to become the first black US President.

2009 – Singer Michael Jackson dies. Swine flu pandemic. MPs’ expenses scandal.

2010 – David Cameron becomes Prime Minister, leading a Tory-Liberal Democrat coalition. The Queen becomes a great-grandmother. Icelandic volcanic ash cloud grounds flights. Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is released from house arrest.

2011 – Middle East uprising. Japanese tsunami. Nato air raids on Libya. Prince William marries Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. The Queen visits Ireland. The summer riots.

The Queen in Ireland
The Duke of Edinburgh with the Queen on her historic state visit to Ireland in 2011 (John Stillwell/PA)

2012 – The Queen marks her Diamond Jubilee. London 2012 Olympics. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announce they are expecting a baby.

2013 – Continuing civil war in Syria. Pope Benedict XVI resigns. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis. Baroness Thatcher and Nelson Mandela die. Prince George of Cambridge is born.

2014 – Flooding in England and Wales. The first same-sex wedding takes place after gay marriage becomes legal in England and Wales. Ukraine crisis. Crisis in Iraq and Syria over the Islamic State militant group. Scotland votes No to independence. Ebola epidemic.

2015 – Attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. Princess Charlotte of Cambridge born. Conservatives win majority in general election. Migrant crisis. The Queen becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Terror attacks in Paris including at the Bataclan concert hall.

2016 – Shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando. Queen celebrates her 90th birthday. British astronaut Tim Peake returns to Earth after a six-month mission. Brexit vote. Theresa May becomes Prime Minister. The Queen becomes the world’s longest reigning still serving monarch after the death of the king of Thailand.

The Queen's 90th birthday
The Queen and Philip ride in an open-top Range Rover in Windsor to mark the monarch’s 90th birthday (Steve Parsons/PA)

2017 – US President Donald Trump takes office. The Queen’s Blue Sapphire Jubilee – 65 years on the throne. Early election. Manchester Arena bombing. Grenfell Tower fire. Queen and Philip’s platinum wedding anniversary.

2018 – Diplomatic row breaks out with Russia over poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal. Prince Louis of Cambridge born. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding.

2019 – Notre Dame fire. Terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. The birth of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Trump’s state visit to the UK. England win the Cricket World Cup. Theresa May resigns and Boris Johnson becomes PM. Duke of York steps down from royal duties amid Epstein scandal.

2020 – Megxit – Harry and Meghan quit royal life. Brexit – the UK leaves the EU. Coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown in the UK. Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd in the US. Lebanon blast.

2021: Joe Biden becomes US president. Coronavirus crisis continues. Harry and Meghan accuse the royal family of racism in their Oprah interview.