The standard of living of the average British family in 1952, when a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth succeeded to the throne, would seem harsh today even to Romanians or the poorest East Germans.
Few families could afford to drink alcohol except for special occasions.
Wine was unheard of except on Christmas Day.
Elizabeth David had not revolutionised the British palate and most of the food on offer in restaurants and hotels - assuming you were lucky enough to be able to afford it - was awful.
Foreign holidays were for the few, and travellers were restricted in the amount of money they could take
abroad, so it was all but impossible to venture for more than ten days without running out of cash.
A quarter of British homes had inadequate sanitary arrangements - outdoor toilets and bathrooms shared with neighbours.
More than half the adult population aged over 30 had no teeth - received wisdom among dentists was that it was better for your health to have dentures.
The unhappily married stayed unhappy, unless they wished to go through the considerable expense and humiliation of a divorce, in which there always had to be a guilty party and farcical scenes had to be enacted in hotel rooms with retired prostitutes, witnessed by private detectives, in order to provide the evidence of adultery.
Homosexuals were treated as diseased beings, and until the recommendations of the Wolfenden Report were passed into law - which did not happen fully until 1967 - two men over the age of 21 were in breach of the law even if they shared a bed in privacy.
The Lord Chamberlain still exercised censorship over the stage, and until the ludicrous Lady Chatterley trial of 1960, the law made no distinction between works of literature which dealt frankly with sexual matters and sordid pornography.
So yes, when we look back at the reign of Elizabeth II, and recognise the improvements in living standards and the enormous increase in national prosperity and in sexual liberty, it would be perverse not to rejoice.
Consider also the change in the position of women.
For the first 25 years of the Queen's reign, it was permissible for employers to pay women markedly less for doing the same jobs as men, and there were many jobs to which only very privileged women could aspire.
Before 1967, the only abortionists a woman was likely to meet were Vera Drakes with knitting needles, and before the advent of the Pill, many women felt enslaved by marriage and family life.
We are now living in a Britain which does not persecute unmarried mothers, which does not hang those who may (or may not) have committed a murder, which does not ask the poor to live in slums.