• Queen Elizabeth II is marking her Platinum Jubilee, celebrating 70 years on the throne. 
  • During her record-breaking reign, she has pioneered a number of ways the monarchy modernized. 
  • One of her personal inventions, the "walkabout," helped royals connect with the public. 

Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, which marks the monarch's 70 years on the British throne. 

Throughout her years wearing the crown, leading the Church of England and carrying out duties as Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen has remained a constant. 

The Queen has also played her part in modernizing the monarchy. One of the best-known ways she did so was through the invention of the "royal walkabout."

Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout in Tasmania in 1970. Foto: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Before the late nineties, the closest spectators would ever get to members of the royal family would be from below balconies at a wedding or a glimpse through a window of a car.

According to Town & Country, the Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, said in the 2018 "Queen of the World" HBO documentary that there was a rule about getting up close and personal with people. 

"We never shook hands," she said, according to the publication. "The theory was that you couldn't shake hands with everybody, so don't start."

But that all changed during the Queen's tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970, alongside Prince Philip, when she decided to greet the crowd on foot, rather than driving to her next destination. 

Waving from a car used to be the norm before walkabouts. Foto: Fox Photos,Hulton Archive/Getty Images

According to the Telegraph, the practice was intended to help royals meet as many people as they possibly could, not just the state officials and dignitaries they used to. 

Carolyn Harris, a royal historian and author, told Canada's Global News that the walkabout signaled a moment of growth for the royal family. "They didn't normally come out and just talk to ordinary people," she said. "The walkabouts, that's one of the major changes, this notion of being accessible to ordinary people."

Since 1970, some royals have followed in the Queen's footsteps — namely Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. In an interview for an ITV documentary airing for the Queen's 90th birthday in 2016, Middleton said there's a "real art" to the walkabout, according to Vanity Fair. 

The Duchess of Cambridge is a big fan of walkabouts. Foto: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

"Everybody teases me in the family that I spend far too long chatting," Middleton added. 

But others haven't fully embraced the practice. Princess Anne, who was 19 at the time of the first "royal walkabout," may have played a role in the Queen's decision to start them. Royal fans in Australia turned out to see the teenager "in their thousands," according to Daily Mail editor Richard Kay in the Channel 5 documentary "Anne: The Daughter Who Should Be Queen," per the Daily Express. 

However, she isn't a big fan of shaking hands. "It's not for me to say that it's wrong," Princess Anne said in the HBO documentary. "But I think the initial concept was that it was patently absurd to start shaking hands." 

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