Queen Elizabeth II crowned the Queen of England in 1953 upon her father’s death, King George VI. The world was a very different place than it is today when Queen Elizabeth took the throne.
The British Empire still had colonies worldwide, and the World Wide Web would not be invented until decades later. There had never been a female prime minister, and all European countries still had their own forms of currency.
So vast was the British Empire at its height in the 19th century that it was famously said that the “sun never set on the British Empire.” But beginning in 1947—with the independence of the former colony of India—and accelerating throughout the 1950s and ’60s, the British Empire slowly crumbled under a wave of decolonization.
Around the world, television captured the hearts and minds of people looking for entertainment and news alike. Whereas previously many people received their news from radio and newspapers, television became increasingly dominant in the 1950s.
For centuries, the landed nobility in the United Kingdom held vast country estates. These estates served as either primary residences or weekend and holiday escapes, but in the changing fortunes of the aristocracy in the postwar era, many of these homes fell into disrepair or destruction.
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