Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing in her annual Christmas message to the world on Wednesday (Dec. 25).
"As a child, I never imagined that one day a man would walk on the moon. Yet this year we marked the fiftieth anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission," the Queen, 93, said as she began her message. "As those historic pictures were beamed back to earth, millions of us sat transfixed to our television screens, as we watched Neil Armstrong taking a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind -- and, indeed, for womankind."
"It's a reminder for us all that giant leaps often start with small steps," she added. Queen Elizabeth recounted the impact of Apollo 11 from her desk in Windsor Castle as video clips of the moon landing played.
On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world as their crewmate Michael Collins orbited up above. NASA would ultimately land six Apollo missions on the moon, with 12 moonwalkers in all, between 1969 and 1972. The final Apollo lunar landing occurred during the Apollo 17 mission.
Today, NASA has a new push to return astronauts to the moon. Under the space agency's Artemis program, NASA is aims to land the next astronauts to the moon by 2024. That next crewed lunar landing will include the first woman on the moon, NASA has said.
To be clear, Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Day message did include more than her remarks about the Apollo 11 moon landing. She touched on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 1944 during World War II, the birth of her eighth great grandchild Archie (son or Prince Harry and Meghan) and other topics.
But 2019 was the year the world looked back on the lunar feat of Apollo 11, and also forward to what may await humanity on the moon in the years to come. The Apollo 11 moon landing even received a royal treatment on the TV series "The Crown," in an episode marking the landing's impact on the royal family in 1969.
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