HM the Queen (Free Image Archives)

 

HM Queen Elizabeth II is the Constitutional Monarch of 16 Sovereign States: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia,New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands,Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. As Head of the Commonwealth, she is the figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations and as the British Monarch, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England

 

HM aged 2 in 1928 (royal.gov.uk)

 

Early Life

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born 21 April 1926 to The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. At the time she stood third in line of succession to the throne after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her father, The Duke of York. In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret Rose

rincess Elizabeth’s quiet family life came to an end in 1936, when her grandfather, King George V, died. His eldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, King Edward VIII had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson.

 

Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 upon her parents’ coronation in Westminster Abbey Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne.

 

Education

HM in 1935 with Hungarian sculptor Sigismund de Strobl (BBC News)

 

Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister.

After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became heir presumptive, she started to study constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Princess Elizabeth also learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses.Princess Elizabeth also studied art and music, learned to ride, and became a strong swimmer.

 

 

 

Princess Elizabeth enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger.

 

 

Second World War

Princess Elizabeth during her ATS training (royal.gov.uk)

In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed Colonel-In-Chief the previous year.As she approached her 18th birthday, the law was changed so that she could act as one of five Counsellors Of The State in the event of her father’s incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944. In February 1945, she joined the  Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an honorary Second Subaltern. She trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months later

At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory In Europe Day (VE Day), Elizabeth and her sister mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. She later said in a rare interview, “we asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recognised … I remember lines

of unknown people linking arms and

 

walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.” Two years later, the princess made her first overseas tour, when she accompanied her parents to Southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, she pledged: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”

 

 

Marriage

 

Princess Elizabeth marriage to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (NY Daily News)

Shortly after the Royal Family returned from South Africa in 1947, the Princess’s engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was announced.

 

Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937. After another meeting at the Royal Navy College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters. They married on 20 November 1947 at  Westminster Abbey.

 

 

 

 

They are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Demark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname and of his Mother’s British Family  Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style of His Royal Highness.

 

The event was fairly simple, as Britain was still recovering from the war, and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral.

 

Accession and Coronation

 

The Queen on the day of her Coronation, 2 June 1953. (Royal Gov)

After her marriage in 1947, Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with The Duke of Edinburgh to France and Greece, and in autumn 1951 they toured Canada.

Princess Elizabeth also visited Malta four times while Prince Philip was stationed there on naval duties, and enjoyed the life of a naval wife and young mother.

This way of life was not to last long, as her father’s health was deteriorating. In 1952, King George VI’s illness forced him to abandon his proposed visit to Australia and New Zealand. The Princess, accompanied by Prince Philip, took his place.

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, 6 February 1952, Princess Elizabeth received the news of her father’s death and her own accession to the throne, while staying in a remote part of Kenya.

The tour had to be abandoned, and the young Princess flew back to Britain as Queen. She was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport.

The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Crowds of people viewed the procession all along the route, despite heavy rain. The ceremony was also broadcast on radio around the world and, at The Queen’s request, on television for the first time.

Television brought home to hundreds of thousands of people around the Commonwealth the splendour and significance of the Coronation in a way never before possible.

The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

 

Public Life

 

1950′s

 

The Queen in 1954 with Prince Charles and Princess Anne (Royal Gov)

The Queen took her role as Queen of the whole of the United Kingdom seriously. She began a wide-ranging programme of visits throughout every part of the country.

Her first regional tour was a three-day visit to Northern Ireland. In the same decade The Queen travelled north, south, east and west, from Shetland to the Isles of Scilly, and from Swansea to Holy Island.

Taking up her duties as Head of the Commonwealth in earnest, The Queen embarked on a series of overseas visits, including visits to parts of the Commonwealth never before visited by her predecessors.

In winter 1953, for example, Her Majesty set out to accomplish, as Queen, the Commonwealth tour she had begun before the death of her father.

 

 

 

 

 

With The Duke of Edinburgh she visited Bermuda, Jamaica, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Uganda, Malta and Gibraltar.

The Queen made her Christmas Broadcast from New Zealand that year. This was to be the first of many tours of the Commonwealth The Queen has undertaken at the invitation of the host governments.

The Queen also represented Britain in State visits to countries including Norway, Sweden, Portugal, France, Denmark, the USA and The Netherlands.

The Queen made a number of innovations on previous Royal traditions. The year 1958, for example, saw the end of formal presentations at Court, and the number of garden parties held each year increased from three to four.

Family life remained an essential support during official duties. As well as being Sovereign, The Queen was a mother with two young children to care for.

With the birth of Prince Andrew in 1960, The Queen became the first reigning Sovereign to give birth since Queen Victoria, who had her youngest child, Princess Beatrice, in 1857.

 

1960′s

 

The Queen rides into Jaipur on an elephant during a tour of India in 1960.(Royal Gov)

Royal visits became less formal than those of previous reigns. In 1962, for example, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh paid an informal visit to the East End of London, visiting housing redevelopments in Bethnal Green and Stepney and meeting a local family in their new home

During their visit to Australia and New Zealand in 1970, The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh initiated a new practice – the ‘walkabout’ – to allow them to meet as many people as possible.

Increased access to the lives of members of the Royal Family by the media was granted. In 1969 the first television film about the family life of the Royal Family was shown. ‘Royal Family’ was watched by 23 million viewers and included footage of the off-duty activities of The Queen and her family.

 

 

 

 

The Queen made several historic overseas visits, including, in 1965, the first visit by a monarch to Germany for 52 years

In the divided city of West Berlin, The Queen surveyed the Berlin Wall during a historic 11-day visit to West Germany, the first German tour by a British monarch for 52 years.

And in 1971 The Queen received Emperor Hirohito of Japan on his first State Visit to Britain since the Second World War.

The Commonwealth grew in strength. Members of the Royal Family attended the independence ceremonies of countries formerly in the British Empire, giving rise to the Commonwealth in its present form as a network of countries sharing friendship across the globe.

In 1965 The Queen broadcast her first Commonwealth Day message, addressing issues facing the organisation.

Prince Charles’ role as heir to the throne was formally acknowledged when The Queen invested him as Prince of Wales in a ceremony at Caernarfon in 1969. The ceremony was watched on television by 200 million people worldwide.

 

1970′s

 

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attend a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral in London to mark Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee, 1977 (Royal Gov)

The third decade of The Queen’s reign included a number of milestone events, causes for public and private celebration.

n 1977 The Queen marked 25 years as Sovereign. The Silver Jubilee was met with a nationwide tour, Commonwealth visits and celebrations at every level. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled 56,000 miles in total to mark the occasion in as many parts of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth as possible.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrated 25 years of marriage in 1972 with a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey. In 1977 they gained their first grandchild, with the birth of a son to Princess Anne.

Later in the decade, The Queen received the first female prime minister at Buckingham Palace, when Margaret Thatcher replaced James Callaghan as leader in 1979.

On the international stage, too, there were several ‘firsts’. The Queen paid an historic visit to communist Yugoslavia in 1972, travelled to Hong Kong and then Japan as the guest of Emperor Hirohito in 1975, was the first British Sovereign to travel to the Middle East in 1979, and visited Pope John Paul II in the Vatican in 1980.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1980′s

 

The Queen with Mother Theresa in India in 1983 (Royal Gov)

The fourth decade of The Queen’s reign saw two conflicts involving UK servicemen and women.

British troops travelled to the South Atlantic in April 1982 to recover the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

In addition to her concern for the Forces of which she was Head, The Queen shared the anxiety of many other mothers of men and women serving in the conflict, as Prince Andrew was the pilot of a Sea King helicopter during the war. In September 1982, The Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Anne met Prince Andrew as he returned to Portsmouth on his ship.

 

 

 

 

 

In the second conflict of the decade, British forces travelled to the Gulf in the Middle East in January 1991, to assist in the Allied action to drive out Iraqi armies from occupied Kuwait.

The decade also saw political and religious barriers being broken down in several important events. History was made in 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited Britain, the first pope to do so for 450 years. The Queen, Head of the Church of England, received him at Buckingham Palace.

Ties with the Commonwealth were reinforced by visits to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. They allowed The Queen to participate in key events in the countries’ political independence. In February 1983, The Queen opened the Jamaican Parliament in its 21st anniversary year of independence.

Australia’s bicentenary year in 1988 was celebrated with visits by The Queen and Prince Philip as well as The Prince and Princess of Wales. During the visit, The Queen opened the new Parliament House in Canberra.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh gained more grandchildren with the birth of two sons to The Prince and Princess of Wales and two daughters to The Duke and Duchess of York.

In 1986 The Queen took part in celebrations in Windsor and London to mark her 60th birthday.

 

1990′s

 

The Queen meets veterans of World War II in 1995, the 50th anniversary of the end of the war. (Royal Gov)

The fifth decade of The Queen’s reign led into a new century and the third millennium.

Although it was not regarded as an official Jubilee, the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s Accession in 1992 was marked by a number of events and community projects in the UK.

On Accession Day itself, 6 February, the BBC broadcast Elizabeth R, a television documentary on The Queen’s working life. This was shown in over 25 countries around the world.

Other important anniversaries were in 1994 and 1995, when The Queen, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the rest of the Royal Family led the nation in marking the 50th anniversaries of the D-Day landings and the end of the Second World War in Europe.

 

 

 

 

As the world grew smaller through improved transportation and communications technologies, The Queen paid State Visits to places never previously thought possible, including the former countries of the Eastern Bloc – Hungary (1993), Russia (1994), Poland (1996) and the Czech Republic (1996). History was also made in the reciprocal State Visits of The Queen and President Nelson Mandela of South Africa in 1995 and 1996.

At the same time, an era in Royal travel came to end on 11 December 1997, when the Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base in the presence of The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and 14 senior members of The Royal Family.

The launch by The Queen at a London school of the British Monarchy web site in 1997 allowed a global audience to learn more about the role and work of The Queen and the Royal Family. A record number of visitors accessed the site in the first few days, curious to see what a Royal web site might look like.

The decade had its share of sadness. On 20 November 1992, fire broke out at Windsor Castle in The Queen’s Private Chapel, causing damage to apartments. In order to raise money for the restoration, in 1993 The Queen allowed the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace to be opened for the first time to the public during the summer, a practice which continued every year since.

The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997 caused widespread mourning. The Queen broadcast to the nation on the eve of the Princess’s funeral, paying tribute to her life and work.

There were also happier times. On 20 November 1997 The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their Golden Wedding. A special garden party for couples celebrating their Golden Wedding was held at Buckingham Palace in July.

 

2000′s to the Present Day

 

The Queen celebrates her 80th birthday in Windsor in 2006 (Royal Gov)

On 14 September 2001, The Queen led national mourning at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, following terrorist atrocities in the United States resulting in the deaths of three thousand people. The American National Anthem was also played during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, by special permission of The Queen.

The Queen also led mourning in October 2002 following the terrorist bombing of a nightclub in Bali, in which Australians and Britons were among several hundreds who died.

The Golden Jubilee of 2002 marked the 50th anniversary of The Queen’s Accession in 1952. The Queen is one of only a handful of British monarchs to reach such a milestone; the last had been Queen Victoria.

 

 

 

 

 

The year began with personal sadness for The Queen. Her sister, Princess Margaret, died at the age of 71 on 9 February 2002, following a stroke.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, aged 101, died only a few weeks later, on 30 March, at Royal Lodge, Windsor. The Queen attended her funeral at Westminster Abbey before a private committal at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.

Despite her bereavements, The Queen continued her duties, and embarked on a programme of events to mark her Golden Jubilee.

Celebrations included visits to Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia and Canada; a tour throughout the UK, visiting 70 cities and towns; and a national weekend of celebrations, including two enormous concerts held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace.

In 2006 The Queen celebrated her 80th birthday with a public walkabout in Windsor town centre. She also hosted a lunch for other people celebrating their 80th birthday on the same day, and enjoyed a family dinner at Kew Palace.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2007.

Spanning seven decades, four children, eight grandchildren, Accession and Coronation and The Queen’s reign of over 50 years, their marriage saw many changes over the years.

Events to mark the low-key anniversary included a Service of Celebration at Westminster Abbey followed by the unveiling of a new Jubilee Walkway panoramic panel in Parliament Square.

In 2011, Her Majesty undertook an historic visit to Ireland, the first visit by a British monarch since Ireland gained independence.

The Queen has celebrated several happy family events recent years including the birth of her first great-grandchild Savannah Philips in 2010 and the marriages of two of her grandchildren in 2011: Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey and Miss Zara Philips to Mr Mike Tindall in Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.

Today The Queen continues to undertake her official duties, including audiences with ministers, Investitures, overseas visits and ceremonies such as the State Opening of Parliament.

 

Queen and Charity

 

HM the Queen (Royal Gov)

An important part of the work of The Queen is to support and encourage public and voluntary service.

One of the ways in which Her Majesty does this is through involvement with charities and other organisations.

The Queen has over 600 patronages.

These cover every area of the charity and voluntary sector, from opportunities for young people, to preservation of wildlife and the environment.

Involvement with these organisations helps to recognise their achievements, and helps to recognise the contributions of many different sectors of public life.

Search The Queen’s patronages in Charities and Patronages database. on the Official Royal Website

 

 

 

HM’s interests

 

a Shetland pony, a gift from her grandfather King George V. (BBC News)

An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses.

She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.

As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, she often visits other race meetings to watch her horses run, and also frequently attends equestrian events.

The Queen’s horses won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. There was a notable double on 18 June 1954 when Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes and a stallion called Aureole won the Hardwicke Stakes, and in 1957 The Queen had four winners during Ascot week.

In 1984, 1986 and 1991 Her Majesty made brief private visits to the United States to see stallion stations and stud farms in Kentucky.

Other interests include walking in the countryside and working her Labradors, which were bred at Sandringham.

A lesser known interest is Scottish country dancing. Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, The Queen gives dances known as Gillies’ Balls, for neighbours, estate and Castle staff and members of the local community.

 

Family

 

 

 

 

 

HM and Prince Phillip celebrating Diamond Wedding Anniversary (BBC News)

 

The Queen and Prince Phillip have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, now The Princess Royal, two years later.

After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, their third child, Prince Andrew, arrived in 1960 and the fourth, Prince Edward, in 1964. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.

Their grandchildren are Peter and Zara Phillips (b. 1977 and 1981); Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1982 and 1984); Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1988 and 1990); and The Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b.2003 and 2007), children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Their first great-grandchild, Miss Savannah Phillips, the daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, was born in 2010.

Family life has been an essential support to The Queen throughout her reign. The family usually spends Christmas together at Sandringham in Norfolk, attending church on Christmas Day.


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Posted by mousiekins
Dated: 21st October 2011
Filled Under: Royal Bio