5-minute listening: Queen Elizabeth – breaking records since she began her rule in 1952

  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; and check the answers at the bottom of the page
  • This week’s podcast is a tribute to the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee
Doris Wai |

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Queen Elizabeth smiles as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, which marks the 70th anniversary of her accession on February 6, 1952. Photo: Getty Images/TNS

Click on the video below for the audio (the script has been adapted from Agence France-Presse).

Play a Kahoot! game about this podcast as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. When did Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee take place?
A. in April 1926
B. between June 2 and 5
C. four months after her birthday
D. in September 2021

2. A “monarch” is someone ...
A. who is qualified to perform religious duties
B. who is 80 years old or more
C. who rules a country for life or until stepping down from the throne
D. who is head of a family with a lot of wealth

3. How long was Queen Elizabeth married?
A. less than 50 years
B. close to 60 years
C. more than 70 years
D. almost 100 years

4. Which individual currently holds the record for being the longest-reigning monarch?
A. Queen Victoria
B. Queen Elizabeth
C. King Bhumibol Adulyadej
D. King Louis XIV

5. According to the podcast, which of the languages below can the queen speak?
A. French
B. Afrikaans
C. Mandarin
D. Japanese

6. Which Commonwealth nation has the queen travelled to the least according to the podcast?
A. Canada
B. Sri Lanka
C. Australia
D. information not given

7. How many countries did the queen visit between November 1953 and May 1954?
A. 10
B. 13
C. 15
D. 19

8. Which word can replace “pledged” in the podcast?
A. attached
B. enslaved
C. devoted
D. engaged

9. Which of the following foreign heads of state has the queen met?
A. Emperor Hirohito
B. former president Lech Walesa
C. former president Barack Obama
D. all of the above

10. Who is the longest-serving British prime minister according to the podcast?
A. Winston Churchill
B. Tony Blair
C. Boris Johnson
D. information not given

11. When was the queen’s first portrait painted?
A. when she was seven
B. just before she got married
C. on her first foreign trip overseas
D. after she became queen

12. What did the queen do during her visit to a Ministry of Defence research facility in 1976?
A. She launched a rocket.
B. She sent her first email.
C. She spoke to a secret agent.
D. She learned Morse code.

13. According to the podcast, how many followers on Twitter does the queen have?
A. 150,000
B. 32 million
C. 43 million
D. information not given

14. What is a “cameo”?
A. an official announcement at the start of a sporting event
B. an informal ceremony
C. a small part in a play or film played by a distinguished person
D. a dangerous action

15. What does the “leap” at the end of the podcast refer to?
A. running with corgis
B. jumping out of a helicopter
C. opening the 2012 London Games
D. flying in a plane with Daniel Craig

Princess Elizabeth shows off her new engagement ring soon after Prince Philip’s marriage proposal in 1946. Photo: The Royal Collection via BBC Studios via AP


  1. B
  2. C
  3. C
  4. D
  5. A
  6. D
  7. B
  8. C
  9. D
  10. D
  11. A
  12. B
  13. D
  14. C
  15. B


Voice 1: Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, commemorated her Platinum Jubilee with four days of celebration that took place from June 2 to 5. The monarch has notched up a number of landmarks in her record-breaking 70 years on the throne. Here are some facts about the queen.

Voice 2: Elizabeth has reigned for 70 years and nearly four months – longer than any other monarch in British history. The previous record was held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years, seven months and two days until 1901. Another record for a British monarch: Elizabeth was married for 73 years. Her husband, Prince Philip, died at the age of 99 in April 2021.

Voice 1: At 96, Elizabeth is the oldest current monarch and head of state in the world. Only two kings have ruled for longer: France’s Louis XIV, who reigned for more than 72 years between 1643 and 1715, and Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, who ruled for 70 years and four months until his death in October 2016.

Voice 2: The queen has travelled to more than 100 countries since 1952, another record for a British monarch, and made more than 150 visits to Commonwealth nations. She has been to Canada 22 times – more than any other country. In Europe, she has visited France the most, at 13 times, and she speaks the language. It is estimated that she travelled the equivalent of 42 times around the world before stopping overseas trips in November 2015 at the age of 89. Her longest foreign trip lasted 168 days from November 1953 to May 1954 during which she visited 13 countries.

Voice 1: As a 21-year-old princess, Elizabeth pledged her life to the service of the Commonwealth. As queen, she has carried out some 21,000 engagements, approved 4,000 pieces of legislation, and hosted 112 state visits of foreign heads of state. Among those she hosted were Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, Poland’s former president Lech Walesa and former US president Barack Obama. A total of 14 British prime ministers have served under the queen. Her first was Winston Churchill, and the latest is Boris Johnson, since 2019.

Voice 2: The queen has posed for more than 200 portraits since the age of seven. Most were painted in a traditional style. She sent her first email on March 26, 1976 during a visit to a Ministry of Defence research facility. In 1997, she launched the Buckingham Palace website and in 2014 sent her first tweet. Three years ago, she made her debut on Instagram.

Voice 1: The queen is the only monarch to have jumped out of a helicopter with James Bond and parachuted into the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Well … kind of. She and her beloved corgis made a cameo appearance at the 2012 London Games with 007 [pronounced: “Double Oh Seven”] actor Daniel Craig, before a stuntman made the leap.

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