Twelve days later, on Feb. 27, the young queen presided over her first investiture, handing out honors to 2,500 citizens and members of the military for service to the nation. Over the years, she has awarded hundreds of thousands of these honors.

The queen recalls that week of surreal events 40 years later. At the end, it was all about “doing the best job that you can.” The key is to mature into something you feel comfortable doing and accept that this is where you will end up.

Continuity has been the name of the game since, as Queen Elizabeth II—with 16th-century monarch Elizabeth I as her predecessor, while her mother, also Queen Elizabeth, became the Queen Mother—passed her ruby jubilee (40 years), then golden (50 years), then diamond (60 years) and then her sapphire jubilee after 65 years on the throne.

Bedell Smith last year spoke out about the monarch’s future, saying that now “we’re going to watch her move along, doing what she has to,” “She won’t be like Queen Victoria. She will not hide behind the scenes. She’ll be out and will do everything required.

(Original publication Feb. 10, 2019, 03:00 PM PT)