The future Queen Elizabeth did her part to help the war effort during World War II. The Queen Mother refused to evacuate to Canada with her two young daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, at the start of World War II in 1939.
Instead, King George VI and his family rode out the war in Buckingham Palace before they settled into Windsor Castle. When she turned 18, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a truck mechanic and driver.
Queen Elizabeth’s public example even extended to her wedding. In 1947, clothing in Britain was still being rationed after the war, so the then-princess purchased her wedding gown material using ration coupons.
In 1981, a 17-year-old named Marcus Sarjeant tried to fire six shots directly at Queen Elizabeth. Although the bullets turned out to be blanks, police and royal guardsmen quickly apprehended and arrested the teenager.
The Queen kept her composure, comforted her horse and proceeded as if the terrifying moment had never happened.
Princess Anne famously stayed calm and collected during a 1974 kidnapping attempt. The scary event took place when the then 23-year-old royal was heading back to Buckingham Palace after attending a charity event with her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips. A car blocked their way, then driver Ian Ball pulled out a handgun. Ball shot Anne’s chauffeur, her security officer and a nearby journalist who tried to intervene.
Ball, who was planning to kidnap the princess for a £2 million ransom, tried to make Anne get out of the car. Her reply? “Not bloody likely.”
Passing boxer Ronnie Russell punched Ball in the head, putting the kidnapping attempt to a halt.
Here, Anne is photographed visiting police officer Michael Hills as he recovered at the hospital.
In 1982, 30-year-old Michael Fagan managed to sneak past security by scaling a palace drainpipe, and entered the Queen’s bedroom. The monarch kept him chatting for roughly 10 minutes before help arrived.
A 1992 fire, sparked when a spotlight ignited a curtain in Queen Victoria’s Private Chapel, ravaged parts of Windsor Castle. The Queen returned the day after the fire was put out to survey the damage. In response, the Queen agreed to open up parts of Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time, with money raised from the £8 entry charge going towards Windsor’s restoration.
Prince Harry took his role in the army seriously, serving twice in Afghanistan. He was hastily pulled out of Afghanistan — after serving 10 weeks on the frontline — when an Australian magazine revealed his presence, thus propelling fears that he and his fellow soldiers would be in increasing danger.
He returned to Afghanistan for a 20-week deployment in 2012 to 2013.
Kate Middleton and Prince William calmed worried Londoners by stepping out at the 2017 Royal Variety Performance shortly after a scare caused a mass panic at a nearby Oxford Circus station. Officers responded to emergency calls claiming that shots had been fired.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made an unannounced visit to Manchester Arena — the site of the terrorist attack at a 2017 Ariana Grande concert — to meet first responders a month after the attack.
“It is important to talk to each other afterwards. I think you are all incredible. It must have been incredibly difficult for you. People have got a lot to thank you for. You did a fantastic job, you should be proud of yourselves’,” Camilla told staff.
The Queen stepped out hours after her son Prince Andrew announced he was “stepping back from public duties” amid the scandal about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein. She kept a sense of humor, even asking, “What’s the date?” (The monarch knew the date well — it was her and Prince Philip’s wedding anniversary!)
Queen Elizabeth released a message of hope during the coronavirus pandemic, telling British citizens: “At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.”
“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge,” the statement concluded. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”