Best pictures of the Year 2022 – A recap on the year’s key events

From the war in Ukraine, constant changes in No 10 Downing Street and her late Majesty the Queen passing away, 2022 has been a busy year.

The UK went through three prime ministers, saw a beloved monarch pass away, and witnessed a record-breaking scorching summer.

Further afield, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Will Smith’s Oscars slap and Argentina’s victory at the Qatar World Cup also dominated the headlines.

Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on January 17, 2022.

/ Darko Bandic/AP

With the help of the world’s best photographers, the Standard has captured key events of the year.

At the start of the year, the sporting world was fixated by the saga involving tennis champ Novak Djokovic, who was deported from Australia for not being vaccinated after an involved legal battle.

Vladimir Putin meets Emmanuel Macron at the Kremlin

/ Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

It meant he was unable to play in the 2022 Australian Open, but he has since vowed to return to participate in the tournament in 2023.

Signs of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine began to increase early in February. France’s Emmanuel Macron launched an appeal to deescalate military action at a meeting with Putin in the Kremlin on February 7. Russia would go on to invade less than three weeks later.

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky celebrate Fenty Beauty & Fenty Skin on February 11,

/ Rich Fury/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty & Fenty Skin

In the world of entertainment, Rihanna surprised fans by making a surprise appearance at a Fenty Beauty event in Los Angeles on February 11.

The head-turning appearance alongside A$AP Rocky came just a month after the singer revealed she was expecting a child with the rapper.

A wounded woman is seen as airstrike damages an apartment complex outside of Kharkiv, Ukraine

/ Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Later that month, headlines were dominated by Putin’s assault on Ukraine on February 24 after weeks of escalation. Russian forces mounted a full-scale invasion of the country, claiming the lives of innocent civillians.

Haunting images such as this, which show a wounded woman as airstrikes rained down on Kharkiv on the day of invasion, provoked horror and condemnation for Russia across the world.

Natali Sevriukova reacts next to her house following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.

/ Emilio Morenatti/AP

Among the devastation captured in the pages of the Standard was this front page image of Natali Sevriukova, under the headline ‘Putin brings terror to Kyiv’, who reacted with horror as Putin’s missiles rained down on Ukraine’s capital in the aftermath of the invasion.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugs her husband Richard Ratcliffe and their daughter Gabriella upon her arrival at RAF Brize Norton

/ Free Nazanin campaign/AFP via Getty Images

In March, Londoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was finally released from jail in Iran after her arrest on trumped-up charges in 2016. Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was released after years of campaigning by her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, who repeatedly went on hunger strike to pressure officials into securing her release.

On March 17, she was pictured emotionally hugging her husband and daughter Gabrielle as she landed at RAF Brize Norton.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Oscars

/ Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

In showbiz, later that month only one thing had people talking – Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock at the Oscars.

Smith slapped Rock, who was hosting, after the comedian made fun of his wife’s hair loss, before returning to his seat and shouting: “Keep my wife’s name out your fucking mouth!”

The former Fresh Prince of Bel Air star later apologised for the slap, which largely overshadowed the Oscars.

Boris Johnson paid a visit to Kyiv in April

/ Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via AFP

The UK’s enduring support for Ukraine in their battle against Russian aggression was showcased in April when then-prime minister Boris Johnson walked with Volodymyr Zelensky in central Kyiv.

The unannounced visit on April 9 came after Russian troops abandoned forward positions in the capital at the end of March, with Mr Johnson announcing fresh military support for Ukraine.

Members of Kalush Orchestra pose onstage with the Eurovision Song Contest trophy

/ Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images

The world’s support for Ukraine was also symbolically showcased when its entry “Kalush Orchestra” won the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin on May 14. The UK, which came second with Sam Ryder’s effort ‘Space Man’, will host the contest next year in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine.

Manchester City fans invade the pitch after their side were crowned Premier League champions

/ Martin Rickett/PA

In sport, there were jubilant scenes for Manchester City fans just over a week later, when their team were declared Premier League champions in a nail-biting final day of the season on May 22.

City fell 2-0 behind at home to Aston Villa to give rivals Liverpool hope of pipping them to the title – only for Pep Guardiola’s side to score three times in just six minutes, claiming a 3-2 victory.

People visit memorials for victims of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas

/ Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

At the end of the month, the world was once again watching in horror at scenes of a mass school shooting in the United States at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults. It is the third deadliest school shooting in US history.

The gunman entered the school and barricaded himself inside Robb Elementary School for more than hour before police entered, with a subsequent report finding that police had delayed for too long before entering the premises.

Prince Louis next to Queen Elizabeth II on the Buckingham Palace balcony

/ Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images

In June, many images of the late Queen’s historic Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark 70 years on the throne went around the world – but perhaps none more so than this image of Prince Louis holding his ears during a flypast at the Trooping the Colour parade on June 2.

The Queen in a surprise comic sketch with Paddington Bear

/ (Buckingham Palace/ Studio Canal/BBC Studios/PA)

Days later on June 4, the late 96-year-old monarch sprung a surprise when she appeared alongside cartoon favourite Paddington Bear, having cream tea at Buckingham Palace. The clip, in which Paddington Bear offers the Queen a marmalade sandwich, went viral.

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez rescued by her coach, Andrea Fuentes

/ Oli Scarf/AFP via Getty Images

Team USA swimmer Anita Alvarez also made headlines in June after fainting at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. The artistic swimmer lost consciousness in the pool at the Alfred Hajos Swimming Complex in Budapest, and was rescued from the water by her coach, Andrea Fuentes.


Paul McCartney also headlined Glastonbury that month, making the 80-year-old the oldest headliner in the festival’s history. He was joined on stage by Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, and even sang a duet with his old bandmate John Lennon, using special effects.

Asahi Shimbun/AFP via Getty Images

Leaders around the world expressed shock and sorrow at the assassination of Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe during a campaign speech in early July.

Mr Abe had been giving a speech in Nara city when the attacker shot him with an improvised firearm on July 8. The suspect is set to be formally indicted after a psychiatric evaluation according to reports earlier this month.

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

July was also notable for its scorching hot weather, with temperatures reaching a record-breaking 40.3C at its peak on July 19.

In London, the two women pictured took to dipping their heads into the fountain to cool off in Trafalgar Square.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Meanwhile in Leeds, residents were among the many taking a paddling pool into the street in a bid to beat the scorching hot temperatures.

/ Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Hot temperatures also proved a problem elsewhere, with California witnessing dramatic fast-moving wildfires. Pictured is the Oak Fire on July 23 near Mariposa, just outside of Yosemite National Park, which forced evacuations, burned over 11,500 acres and destroyed homes.

/ Adam Davy/PA

In sport, England’s Lionesses made history on July 31 when they beat Germany 2-1 at the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final,

The victory came in extra time with goals from substitutes Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly – pictured is Kelly triumphantly celebrating the team’s second goal which catapulted them to victory.

John Walton/PA

Less happily on the same day, in the world of cycling, England’s Matt Walls went over the barrier and into the crowd during a terrifying accident at the Commonwealth Games.

The Olympic champion received treatment for more than 40 minutes at the Lee Valley VeloPark before being taken away by ambulance

Princess Charlotte takes in the atmosphere at the swimming (Jacob King/PA)

/ acob King/PA

Among the other notable pictures from the Commonwealth Games was this snap on August 2 of Princess Charlotte watching the swimming on day five of the competition in Birmingham.

The seven-year-old was flanked by her parents, the now-Prince and Princess of Wales, as she watched the games.

Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images

September was a momentous month, which began with political upheaval, as Boris Johnson left office on September 6.

Mr Johnson, pictured with wife Carrie as he prepared to give his final speech outside Downing Street, was forced to resign after a series of scandals prompted an unprecedented number of resignations from government.

Jane Barlow/PA

The same day, short-lived prime minister Liz Truss was sworn in as the UK’s third woman prime minister by Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral. Ms Truss’s tenure was marked by a disastrous ‘mini-budget’, which spooked the financial markets and caused the pound’s value to plummet. She now holds the unenviable title of being the shortest-serving PM in modern history of just 49 days.

Kirsty O’Connor/PA

The end of an era came on September 8 when Her Majesty the Queen passed away, just days after swearing in a new PM.

The country mourned the loss of its Queen, with thousands turning up to pay their respects at the royal residences.

Perhaps one of the most enduring images of the period of national mourning are Princes Harry and William putting aside their differences in a show of unity on a walkabout to thank well wishers for their sympathies outside Windsor Castle on September 10.

/ Aaron Chown/Pool via AP

The family were similarly united in grief as they guarded the Queen’s coffin as it lay in rest.

Prince Harry,  Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise, Zara Tindall, Prince William, the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, Viscount James Severn and Princess Eugenie, are pictured bowing, beside the coffin as it lay in state, with thousands queueing for hours to pay their respects.

Danny Lawson/PA

On September 19, the country came to a standstill as the state funeral was held in Westminster Abbey. Millions watched as the royal family, former prime ministers and world leaders paid their respects to Her Majesty.

The now-King Charles was memorably pictured alongside other members of the royal family following behind the Queen’s coffin as it was carried out of Westminster Abbey draped in the royal standard.

Julien De Rosa/AFP via Getty Images

Away from political drama and the passing of the monarch, US model Bella Hadid caused a stir in September with her memorable ‘spray-on’ fabric dress at the Coperni Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show as part of the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on September 30.

/ AFP via Getty Images

In October, the Kerch bridge which links Crimea to Russia was blown up in a major set back for Vladimir Putin. A truck exploded on the bridge, Russia’s sole land link to occupied Crimea, under mysterious circumstances, with Ukraine not proclaiming direct responsibility.

It severely hampered Russia’s ability to keep its troops supplied, forcing it to resort to a limited ferry service instead for weeks.

Just Stop Oil

The month also marked an escalation in environmental group Just Stop Oil’s direct action tactics, with activists targeting priceless artworks with soup.

Among those targeted was Vincent Van Gogh’s famous 1888 work Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London on October 14.

/ Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The public may also be forgiven for experiencing a sense of deja vu with the resignation of another prime minister – this time Liz Truss on October 25.

Ms Truss conceded she no longer had the confidence of her party after her calamitous ‘mini budget’, and gave a resignation speech outside Downing Street while flanked by her husband Hugh O’Leary and their daughters Liberty and Frances.

/ Aaron Chown/Pool/AFP via Getty Images/TNS

Later that day, Rishi Sunak, Ms Truss’s former rival for the Tory leadership, took office as the UK’s 57th prime minister. He was the only candidate to garner 100 plus votes from Tory MPs in a new selection, with Boris Johnson deciding not to throw his hat in the ring to stand again.

Mr Sunak met King Charles at Buckingham Palace where he was formally invited to form a government.

Elon Musk via AP

Elsewhere, Elon Musk heralded his takeover bid of Twitter by entering the social media HQ while bizarrely carrying a sink.

The stunt on October 26 came days before a deadline to acquire Twitter for $44 billion, which the entrepreneur tweeted with the caption: “Entering Twitter HQ – let that sink in!”

Noam Galai/Getty Images for Heidi Klum

At the end of the month, model Heidi Klum caused a stir with her unusual choice of Halloween costume – a realistic worm.

Klum coupled up the eye-brow raising costume by slithering on the floor at her annual Halloween party in New York for full effect.

Andrew Kravchenko/AP

In November, the presence of Banksy artworks on buildings destroyed by fighting in Ukraine made headlines. Pictured is a woman taking a picture of an artwork in Borodyanka, Kyiv region on November 13, supposedly made by the mysterious street artist. Another mural in Borodyanka was confirmed as being made by the artist.

Chris Gorman/Big Ladder

The month was also notable for the return of London’s Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. The annual festive spectacle is held every year from mid-November to January.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The World Cup in Qatar also began in November, marked by fierce debate about the ethics of holding the competition in a country with a poor human rights record.

The competition was rocked by protest over a number of human rights issues – among them the German side posing with their hands to their mouths in their match versus Japan. The players performed the ‘silenced’ gesture on November 23 after the sport’s governing body FIFA banned the wearing of ‘rainbow’ armbands.

Mike Egerton/PA

In December, England’s hopes of winning a major tournament were again dashed at the World Cup. Gareth Southgate’s side were knocked out at the hands of France in the quarter finals, despite a promising run in the tournament beforehand. Pictured are Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the opening goal with Jude Bellingham in their 3-0 victory over Senegal which propelled the team to the quarter finals.

/ Toby Melville/Reuters

In a far cry from summer’s scorching record-breaking hit, December saw a bitter cold snap across much of the country, with London blanketed under snow. This image shows people walking on the street in front of Big Ben on December 12.

/ Julian Finney/Getty Images

It may have been the most dramatic World Cup final in memory – Argentina scored a victory against France to be declared winners after a nail biting penalty shootout.

The crowd erupted as the final penalty was taken, and jubilant scenes were seen in Buenos Aires as thousands partied on the streets. However, nobody was likely happier than Argentina’s Lionel Messi, who is seen here lifting the winner’s trophy alongside teammates on December 18.

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