Crucial life lessons we can learn from the Queen

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

We often look to the younger members of the royal family for everything – from sartorial inspiration to mental health awareness.

It can be easy to forget that the head of the family was actually one of the first to lead the way when it came to speaking out, sharing family values and, of course, fashion.

Here are seven ways the Queen has shown the new crowd how it’s done.

1. Step up and face your problems

The Queen
The Queen delivers her speech after a Guildhall lunch to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne. In the speech she branded 1992 her ‘annus horribilis’ due to criticisms of the royal family. (PA archive)

Easier said than done, especially on the world stage. In her speech marking the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1992, the Queen hit back at haters, way ahead of any social media reference to the idea.

She said: “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.” The phrase has stuck in our vocabulary, arguably for this reason – it shows honesty and strength to admit that things have not gone entirely smoothly or successfully in your life.

Read: 13 of the Queen’s most incredible fashion moments

2. You have to mess about when you’re a grandma

Who can forget the ‘Boom’ video Her Royal Highness recorded with her grandson Prince Harry to promote the Invictus Games? The best bit wasn’t that she got involved – and kept a straight face – but that she got the final word in the comedy stakes. Boom, your majesty.

3. Know your style – and stick to it (AKA handbags and headscarves)

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II at King’s Lynn station in Norfolk. (PA)

We all tend to succumb to new season fashions, and we’ve lost count of the handbags chosen by younger royals. But Her Majesty has shown unwavering dedication to two specific looks: the black handbag and matching shoes, and headscarves. In a world of fast fashion, she proves that looking after your key styles, and sticking to what works for you, is often the perfect way to dress.

Read: The most iconic handbags of all time

4. It’s always good to have a giggle at yourself

Life as a monarch has been challenging on many occasions, to say the least. So when the opportunity to have a giggle comes along, the Queen has really embraced it. And no more so than when she accompanied James Bond – played by Daniel Craig – for the opening ceremony of the  London 2012 Olympic Games. Yes, it’s a stunt double who jumps from the helicopter, but you’d never know.

5. Dogs are (wo)man’s best friend

The Queen with her dogs
Queen Elizabeth II with some of her corgis. (PA)

Her love of corgis is well documented, but many don’t know the Queen also loves Labradors. She has championed many animal charities, including the RSCPA (, Dogs Trust ( and Canine Partners (

Queen Elizabeth II is introduced to 12 week old Labrador puppy "Flint" by her trainer Ruth Narracott as she tours the facilities at "Canine Partners" charity in Midhurst in Sussex.
Queen Elizabeth II is introduced to 12-week-old Labrador puppy “Flint” by her trainer Ruth Narracott as she tours the facilities at Canine Partners charity in Midhurst in Sussex. (PA)

6. Wedding dresses don’t have to be expensive designer creations

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day (PA)
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on their wedding day. (PA)

In fact, when the Queen wed Philip Mountbatten in November 1947 –  just two years after World War II ended – in Westminster Abbey, her gown was made using material bought with ration coupons, which were still in use at the time.

Read: Stunning royal wedding dresses

7. Strength and duty

Duke of Edinburgh funeral
Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. (PA)

After more than 70 years of marriage, in April 2021 the Queen said goodbye to her husband, Prince Philip. And in doing so, she showed her incredible strength and stoicism. In a symbolic moment, the Queen was pictured sitting alone in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle – due to ongoing COVID restrictions – as she waited for the funeral procession carrying the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin to arrive. And within days, she was back performing her royal duties.

What other life lessons can we learn from the Queen?

– With PA

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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