World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Elizabeth II

Article Id: WHEBN0012153654
Reproduction Date:

Title: Elizabeth II  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of honours of the British Royal Family by country, List of current heads of state and government, List of monarchs who lost their thrones in the 20th and 21st centuries, List of current sovereign monarchs, List of people on coins
Collection: 1926 Births, Auxiliary Territorial Service Officers, British Anglicans, British Philanthropists, British Presbyterians, British Princesses, British Racehorse Owners and Breeders, British Women in World War II, Cold War Leaders, Elizabeth II, Girlguiding Uk, Heads of State of Antigua and Barbuda, Heads of State of Barbados, Heads of State of Belize, Heads of State of Canada, Heads of State of Fiji, Heads of State of Ghana, Heads of State of Grenada, Heads of State of Guyana, Heads of State of Jamaica, Heads of State of Kenya, Heads of State of Malawi, Heads of State of Malta, Heads of State of Mauritius, Heads of State of New Zealand, Heads of State of Nigeria, Heads of State of Pakistan, Heads of State of Papua New Guinea, Heads of State of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Heads of State of Saint Lucia, Heads of State of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Heads of State of Sierra Leone, Heads of State of Tanganyika, Heads of State of the Bahamas, Heads of State of the Gambia, Heads of State of the Solomon Islands, Heads of State of Trinidad and Tobago, Heads of State of Tuvalu, Heads of State of Uganda, Heads of the Commonwealth, Honorary Air Commodores, House of Windsor, Living People, Monarchs of Australia, Monarchs of Ceylon, Monarchs of South Africa, Monarchs of the United Kingdom, People from London, People from Mayfair, Protestant Monarchs, Queens Regnant in the British Isles, Women in the Canadian Armed Services
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II
The Queen in March 2015
Reign 6 February 1952 – present
Coronation 2 June 1953
Predecessor George VI
Heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales
Prime Ministers   See list
Born (1926-04-21) 21 April 1926
17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Spouse Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (m. 1947)
Charles, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal
Andrew, Duke of York
Edward, Earl of Wessex
Full name
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
House Windsor
Father George VI
Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Religion Church of England
Church of Scotland

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926[1]) is, and has been from her accession in 1952, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth. She is also Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.[2]

Elizabeth was born in London as the elder daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King Queen Elizabeth, and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

Elizabeth's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. She has seen major constitutional changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. She has also reigned through various wars and conflicts involving many of her realms. She is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. In 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Victoria, and became the longest-reigning British head of state and the longest-reigning queen regnant in history.

Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children and grandchildren, her coronation in 1953, and the celebration of milestones such as her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. Moments of sorrow for her include the death of her father aged 56, the assassination of Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten, the breakdown of her children's marriages in 1992 (her annus horribilis), the death in 1997 of her son's former wife Diana, Princess of Wales, and the deaths of her mother and sister in 2002. Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and severe press criticism of the royal family, but support for the monarchy and her personal popularity remain high.


  • Early life 1
  • Heir presumptive 2
    • Second World War 2.1
    • Marriage and family 2.2
  • Reign 3
    • Accession and coronation 3.1
    • Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth 3.2
    • Acceleration of decolonisation 3.3
    • Silver Jubilee 3.4
    • 1980s 3.5
    • 1990s 3.6
    • Golden Jubilee 3.7
    • Diamond Jubilee and beyond 3.8
  • Public perception and character 4
    • Finances 4.1
  • Titles, styles, honours and arms 5
    • Titles and styles 5.1
    • Arms 5.2
  • Issue 6
  • Ancestry 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12

Early life

Elizabeth as a thoughtful-looking toddler with curly, fair hair
Princess Elizabeth aged 3, April 1929

Elizabeth was born at 02:40 (

External links

  • Bond, Jennie (2006). Elizabeth: Eighty Glorious Years. London: Carlton Publishing Group. ISBN 1-84442-260-7
  • Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2002). Fifty Years the Queen. Toronto: Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-360-8
  • Bradford, Sarah (2012). Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-91911-6
  • Brandreth, Gyles (2004). Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage. London: Century. ISBN 0-7126-6103-4
  • Briggs, Asa (1995). The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Volume 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-212967-8
  • Campbell, John (2003). Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-06156-9
  • Crawford, Marion (1950). The Little Princesses. London: Cassell & Co.
  • Hardman, Robert (2011). Our Queen. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0-09-193689-1
  • Heald, Tim (2007). Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 978-0-297-84820-2
  • Hoey, Brian (2002). Her Majesty: Fifty Regal Years. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-653136-9
  • Lacey, Robert (2002). Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. London: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-85940-0
  • Macmillan, Harold (1972). Pointing The Way 1959–1961 London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-12411-1
  • Marr, Andrew (2011). The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-74852-1
  • Neil, Andrew (1996). Full Disclosure. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-64682-7
  • Nicolson, Sir Harold (1952). King George the Fifth: His Life and Reign. London: Constable & Co.
  • Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006). Royals and the Reich: the princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516133-5
  • Pimlott, Ben (2001). The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255494-1
  • Roberts, Andrew; Edited by Antonia Fraser (2000). The House of Windsor. London: Cassell & Co. ISBN 0-304-35406-6
  • Shawcross, William (2002). Queen and Country. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8056-5
  • Thatcher, Margaret (1993). The Downing Street Years. London: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-255049-0
  • Trudeau, Pierre Elliott (1993). Memoirs. Toronto: McLelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-7710-8588-5
  • Williamson, David (1987). Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain. Webb & Bower. ISBN 0-86350-101-X
  • Wyatt, Woodrow; Edited by Sarah Curtis (1999). The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume II. London: Macmillan. ISBN 0-333-77405-1


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bradford, p. 22; Brandreth, p. 103; Marr, p. 76; Pimlott, pp. 2–3; Lacey, pp. 75–76; Roberts, p. 74
  3. ^ Hoey, p. 40
  4. ^ Brandreth, p. 103; Hoey, p. 40
  5. ^ Brandreth, p. 103
  6. ^ Pimlott, p. 12
  7. ^ Williamson, p. 205
  8. ^ Lacey, p. 56; Nicolson, p. 433; Pimlott, pp. 14–16
  9. ^ Crawford, p. 26; Pimlott, p. 20; Shawcross, p. 21
  10. ^ Brandreth, p. 124; Lacey, pp. 62–63; Pimlott, pp. 24, 69
  11. ^ Brandreth, pp. 108–110; Lacey, pp. 159–161; Pimlott, pp. 20, 163
  12. ^ Brandreth, pp. 108–110
  13. ^ Brandreth, p. 105; Lacey, p. 81; Shawcross, pp. 21–22
  14. ^ Brandreth, pp. 105–106
  15. ^ Bond, p. 8; Lacey, p. 76; Pimlott, p. 3
  16. ^ Lacey, pp. 97–98
  17. ^ Marr, pp. 78, 85; Pimlott, pp. 71–73
  18. ^ Brandreth, p. 124; Crawford, p. 85; Lacey, p. 112; Marr, p. 88; Pimlott, p. 51; Shawcross, p. 25
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ Marr, p. 84; Pimlott, p. 47
  21. ^ a b Pimlott, p. 54
  22. ^ a b Pimlott, p. 55
  23. ^
  24. ^ Crawford, pp. 104–114; Pimlott, pp. 56–57
  25. ^ Crawford, pp. 114–119; Pimlott, p. 57
  26. ^ Crawford, pp. 137–141
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^
  29. ^ Pimlott, p. 71
  30. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36973. p. 1315. 6 March 1945. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  31. ^ Bradford, p. 45; Lacey, p. 148; Marr, p. 100; Pimlott, p. 75
  32. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37205. p. 3972. 31 July 1945. Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  33. ^ Bond, p. 10; Pimlott, p. 79
  34. ^
  35. ^ Pimlott, pp. 71–73
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Brandreth, pp. 132–139; Lacey, pp. 124–125; Pimlott, p. 86
  39. ^ Bond, p. 10; Brandreth, pp. 132–136, 166–169; Lacey, pp. 119, 126, 135
  40. ^ Heald, p. 77
  41. ^
  42. ^ Crawford, p. 180
  43. ^
  44. ^ Heald, p. xviii
  45. ^ Hoey, pp. 55–56; Pimlott, pp. 101, 137
  46. ^ The London Gazette: no. 38128. p. 5495. 21 November 1947. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  47. ^ a b
  48. ^ Hoey, p. 58; Pimlott, pp. 133–134
  49. ^ Hoey, p. 59; Petropoulos, p. 363
  50. ^ Bradford, p. 61
  51. ^ Letters Patent, 22 October 1948; Hoey, pp. 69–70; Pimlott, pp. 155–156
  52. ^ Pimlott, p. 163
  53. ^ Brandreth, pp. 226–238; Pimlott, pp. 145, 159–163, 167
  54. ^ Brandreth, pp. 240–241; Lacey, p. 166; Pimlott, pp. 169–172
  55. ^ Brandreth, pp. 245–247; Lacey, p. 166; Pimlott, pp. 173–176; Shawcross, p.16
  56. ^ Bousfield and Toffoli, p. 72; Charteris quoted in Pimlott, p. 179 and Shawcross, p. 17
  57. ^ Pimlott, pp. 178–179
  58. ^ Pimlott, pp. 186–187
  59. ^ Bradford, p. 80; Brandreth, pp. 253–254; Lacey, pp. 172–173; Pimlott, pp. 183–185
  60. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 41948. p. 1003. 5 February 1960. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  61. ^ Brandreth, pp. 269–271
  62. ^ Brandreth, pp. 269–271; Lacey, pp. 193–194; Pimlott, pp. 201, 236–238
  63. ^ Bond, p. 22; Brandreth, p. 271; Lacey, p. 194; Pimlott, p. 238; Shawcross, p. 146
  64. ^
  65. ^ Bradford, p. 82
  66. ^
  67. ^ Pimlott, p. 207
  68. ^ Briggs, pp. 420 ff.; Pimlott, p. 207; Roberts, p. 82
  69. ^ Lacey, p. 182
  70. ^ Lacey, p. 190; Pimlott, pp. 247–248
  71. ^
  72. ^ Marr, p. 272
  73. ^ Pimlott, p. 182
  74. ^

    Marr, p. 126
  75. ^ Brandreth, p. 278; Marr, p. 126; Pimlott, p. 224; Shawcross, p. 59
  76. ^
  77. ^
  78. ^ Pimlott, p. 255; Roberts, p. 84
  79. ^ Marr, pp. 175–176; Pimlott, pp. 256–260; Roberts, p. 84
  80. ^ Lacey, p. 199; Shawcross, p. 75
  81. ^ Lord Altrincham in National Review quoted by Brandreth, p. 374 and Roberts, p. 83
  82. ^ Brandreth, p. 374; Pimlott, pp. 280–281; Shawcross, p. 76
  83. ^ a b Hardman, p. 22; Pimlott, pp. 324–335; Roberts, p. 84
  84. ^ Roberts, p. 84
  85. ^ a b
  86. ^ Bradford, p. 114
  87. ^ Pimlott, p. 303; Shawcross, p. 83
  88. ^ a b Macmillan, pp. 466–472
  89. ^
  90. ^
  91. ^ Bousfield, p. 139
  92. ^
  93. ^
  94. ^ Bond, p. 66; Pimlott, pp. 345–354
  95. ^ Bradford, pp. 123, 154, 176; Pimlott, pp. 301, 315–316, 415–417
  96. ^ Bradford, p. 181; Pimlott, p. 418
  97. ^ Bradford, p. 181; Marr, p. 256; Pimlott, p. 419; Shawcross, pp. 109–110
  98. ^ a b Bond, p. 96; Marr, p. 257; Pimlott, p. 427; Shawcross, p. 110
  99. ^ Pimlott, pp. 428–429
  100. ^ Pimlott, p. 449
  101. ^ Hardman, p. 137; Roberts, pp. 88–89; Shawcross, p. 178
  102. ^ Elizabeth to her staff, quoted in Shawcross, p. 178
  103. ^ Pimlott, pp. 336–337, 470–471; Roberts, pp. 88–89
  104. ^ a b c d e
  105. ^ Trudeau, p. 313
  106. ^
  107. ^ Lacey, p. 281; Pimlott, pp. 476–477; Shawcross, p. 192
  108. ^ Bond, p. 115; Pimlott, p. 487
  109. ^ Shawcross, p. 127
  110. ^ Lacey, pp. 297–298; Pimlott, p. 491
  111. ^ Bond, p. 188; Pimlott, p. 497
  112. ^ Pimlott, pp. 488–490
  113. ^ Pimlott, p. 521
  114. ^ Pimlott, pp. 503–515; see also Neil, pp. 195–207 and Shawcross, pp. 129–132
  115. ^ Thatcher to Brian Walden quoted in Neil, p. 207; Andrew Neil quoted in Woodrow Wyatt's diary of 26 October 1990
  116. ^ Campbell, p. 467
  117. ^ Thatcher, p. 309
  118. ^ Roberts, p. 101; Shawcross, p. 139
  119. ^ a b
  120. ^ a b
  121. ^ Pimlott, pp. 515–516
  122. ^ Pimlott, pp. 519–534
  123. ^ Hardman, p. 81; Lacey, p. 307; Pimlott, pp. 522–526
  124. ^ Lacey, pp. 293–294; Pimlott, p. 541
  125. ^ Pimlott, p. 538
  126. ^
  127. ^ Lacey, p. 319; Marr, p. 315; Pimlott, pp. 550–551
  128. ^
  129. ^ Brandreth, p. 377; Pimlott, pp. 558–559; Roberts, p. 94; Shawcross, p. 204
  130. ^ Brandreth, p. 377
  131. ^ Bradford, p. 229; Lacey, pp. 325–326; Pimlott, pp. 559–561
  132. ^ Bradford, p. 226; Hardman, p. 96; Lacey, p. 328; Pimlott, p. 561
  133. ^ Pimlott, p. 562
  134. ^ Brandreth, p. 356; Pimlott, pp. 572–577; Roberts, p. 94; Shawcross, p. 168
  135. ^ MORI poll for The Independent newspaper, March 1996, quoted in Pimlott, p. 578 and
  136. ^ Pimlott, p. 578
  137. ^ Brandreth, p. 357; Pimlott, p. 577
  138. ^ Brandreth, p. 358; Hardman, p. 101; Pimlott, p. 610
  139. ^ Bond, p. 134; Brandreth, p. 358; Marr, p. 338; Pimlott, p. 615
  140. ^ Bond, p. 134; Brandreth, p. 358; Lacey, pp. 6–7; Pimlott, p. 616; Roberts, p. 98; Shawcross, p. 8
  141. ^ Brandreth, pp. 358–359; Lacey, pp. 8–9; Pimlott, pp. 621–622
  142. ^ a b Bond, p. 134; Brandreth, p. 359; Lacey, pp. 13–15; Pimlott, pp. 623–624
  143. ^ Bond, p. 156; Bradford, pp. 248–249; Marr, pp. 349–350
  144. ^ Brandreth, p. 31
  145. ^ Bond, pp. 166–167
  146. ^ Bond, p. 157
  147. ^
  148. ^
  149. ^
  150. ^
  151. ^ Bradford, p. 253
  152. ^
  153. ^ a b
  154. ^
  155. ^
  156. ^
  157. ^
  158. ^
  159. ^
  160. ^
  161. ^
  162. ^
  163. ^
  164. ^
  165. ^
  166. ^
  167. ^
  168. ^
  169. ^ Brandreth, pp. 370–371; Marr, p. 395
  170. ^
    Marr, p. 395
  171. ^
    Shawcross, pp. 194–195
  172. ^
  173. ^
    Shawcross, pp. 236–237
  174. ^
  175. ^
  176. ^
  177. ^
  178. ^
  179. ^ Bond, p. 22
  180. ^ Bond, p. 35; Pimlott, p. 180; Roberts, p. 82; Shawcross, p. 50
  181. ^ Bond, p. 35; Pimlott, p. 280; Shawcross, p. 76
  182. ^ Bond, pp. 66–67, 84, 87–89; Bradford, pp. 160–163; Hardman, pp. 22, 210–213; Lacey, pp. 222–226; Marr, p. 237; Pimlott, pp. 378–392; Roberts, pp. 84–86
  183. ^
  184. ^ Bond, p. 97; Bradford, p. 189; Pimlott, pp. 449–450; Roberts, p. 87; Shawcross, pp. 114–117
  185. ^ Bond, p. 117; Roberts, p. 91
  186. ^ Bond, p. 134; Pimlott, pp. 556–561, 570
  187. ^ Bond, p. 134; Pimlott, pp. 624–625
  188. ^ Hardman, p. 310; Lacey, p. 387; Roberts, p. 101; Shawcross, p. 218
  189. ^

  190. ^
  191. ^
  192. ^
  193. ^
  194. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2015), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  195. ^
  196. ^ Pimlott, p. 401
  197. ^ Lord Chamberlain Lord Airlie quoted in Hoey, p. 225 and Pimlott, p. 561
  198. ^
  199. ^
  200. ^ a b
  201. ^
  202. ^
  203. ^
  204. ^
  205. ^
  206. ^
  207. ^


  1. ^ See Queen's Official Birthday for an explanation of why Elizabeth II's official birthdays are not on the same day as her actual one.
  2. ^ These countries are listed in the order of their original accession to the Commonwealth.[1]
  3. ^ Her godparents were: King George V and Queen Mary; Lord Strathmore; Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (her paternal great-granduncle); Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles (her paternal aunt); and Lady Elphinstone (her maternal aunt).[4]
  4. ^ Television coverage of the coronation was instrumental in boosting the medium's popularity; the number of television licences in the United Kingdom doubled to 3 million,[67] and many of the more than 20 million British viewers watched television for the first time in the homes of their friends or neighbours.[68] In North America, just under 100 million viewers watched recorded broadcasts.[69]
  5. ^ Canada has used three different versions of the arms during her reign. This version was used between 1957 and 1994.[207]


See also


Name Birth Marriage Their children Their grandchildren
Date Spouse
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales 14 November 1948 29 July 1981
Divorced 28 August 1996
Lady Diana Spencer Prince William, Duke of Cambridge Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales
9 April 2005 Camilla Parker Bowles
Princess Anne, Princess Royal 15 August 1950 14 November 1973
Divorced 28 April 1992
Mark Phillips Peter Phillips Savannah Phillips
Isla Phillips
Zara Tindall Mia Tindall
12 December 1992 Timothy Laurence
Prince Andrew, Duke of York 19 February 1960 23 July 1986
Divorced 30 May 1996
Sarah Ferguson Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex 10 March 1964 19 June 1999 Sophie Rhys-Jones Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn


Coat of arms of Princess Elizabeth (1944–1947)
Coat of arms of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (1947–1952)
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom (except Scotland)
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in Scotland
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in Canada (one of three versions used in her reign)[5]

[206].elsewhere, and Barbados, Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and personal flags for use in royal standards Upon her accession, she inherited the various arms her father held as sovereign. The Queen also possesses [205] From 21 April 1944 until her accession, Elizabeth's arms consisted of a


Elizabeth has held many titles and honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, is Sovereign of many orders in her own countries, and has received honours and awards from around the world. In each of her realms she has a distinct title that follows a similar formula: Queen of Jamaica and her other realms and territories in Jamaica, Queen of Australia and her other realms and territories in Australia, etc. In the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, which are Crown dependencies rather than separate realms, she is known as Duke of Normandy and Lord of Mann, respectively. Additional styles include Defender of the Faith and Duke of Lancaster. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially address her as Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma'am.[204]

Titles and styles

Titles, styles, honours and arms

The Royal Collection (which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels) is not owned by the Queen personally and is held in trust,[199] as are the occupied palaces, such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle,[200] and the Duchy of Lancaster, a property portfolio valued in 2014 at £442 million.[201] Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle are privately owned by the Queen.[200] The British Crown Estate—with holdings of £9.4 billion in 2014[202]—is held in trust for the nation and cannot be sold or owned by Elizabeth in a private capacity.[203]

Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. Jock Colville, who was her former private secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts, estimated her wealth in 1971 at £2 million (the equivalent of about £25 million today[194]).[195][196] Official Buckingham Palace statements in 1993 called estimates of £100 million "grossly overstated".[197] Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at around US$450 million (about £275 million) in 2010.[198]

View of Sandingham House from the south bank of the Upper Lake
Sandringham House, Elizabeth's private residence in Sandringham, Norfolk


Elizabeth has been portrayed in a variety of media by many notable artists, including painters Lucian Freud, Peter Blake, Juliet Pannett, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, Terence Cuneo, Tai-Shan Schierenberg and Pietro Annigoni.[192] Notable photographers of Elizabeth have included Cecil Beaton, Yousuf Karsh, Lord Lichfield, Terry O'Neill, Annie Leibovitz and John Swannell. The first official portrait of Elizabeth was taken by Marcus Adams.[193]

In November 1999, a referendum in Australia on the future of the Australian monarchy favoured its retention in preference to an indirectly elected head of state.[188] Polls in Britain in 2006 and 2007 revealed strong support for Elizabeth,[189] and in 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year, approval ratings hit 90%.[190] Referenda in Tuvalu in 2008 and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009 both rejected proposals to become republics.[191]

At her Silver Jubilee in 1977, the crowds and celebrations were genuinely enthusiastic,[184] but in the 1980s public criticism of the royal family increased, as the personal and working lives of Elizabeth's children came under media scrutiny.[185] Elizabeth's popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s. Under pressure from public opinion, she began to pay income tax for the first time and Buckingham Palace was opened to the public.[186] Discontent with the monarchy reached its peak on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, though Elizabeth's personal popularity and support for the monarchy rebounded after her live broadcast to the world five days after Diana's death.[187]

In the 1950s, as a young woman at the start of her reign, Elizabeth was depicted as a glamorous "fairytale Queen".[179] After the trauma of the war, it was a time of hope, a period of progress and achievement heralding a "new Elizabethan age".[180] Lord Altrincham's accusation in 1957 that her speeches sounded like those of a "priggish schoolgirl" was an extremely rare criticism.[181] In the late 1960s, attempts to portray a more modern image of monarchy were made in the television documentary Royal Family and by televising Prince Charles's investiture as Prince of Wales.[182] In public, she took to wearing mostly solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd.[183]

[178] Scenes of a relaxed, informal home life have occasionally been witnessed; she and her family, from time to time, prepare a meal together and do the washing up afterwards.[177][176] She is the

Elizabeth and Ronald Reagan on black horses. He bare-headed; she in a headscarf; both in tweeds, jodhpurs and riding boots.
Elizabeth II and US President Ronald Reagan riding at Windsor, June 1982

To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.[173]

Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a constitutional monarch, she has not expressed her own political opinions in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty and takes her coronation oath seriously.[171] Aside from her official religious role as Supreme Governor of the established Church of England, she personally worships with that church and with the national Church of Scotland.[172] She has demonstrated support for inter-faith relations and has met with leaders of other churches and religions, including five popes: Pius XII, John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis. A personal note about her faith often features in her annual Royal Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth, such as in 2000, when she spoke about the theological significance of the millennium marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ:

Public perception and character

The Queen surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-lived British monarch in December 2007 and the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015.[165] She was celebrated in Canada as the "longest-reigning sovereign in Canada's modern era".[166] (King Louis XIV of France reigned over part of Canada for longer.[167]) She is the longest-reigning queen regnant in history,[168] the world's oldest reigning monarch and second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand). She does not intend to abdicate,[169] though the proportion of the sovereign's duties performed by Prince Charles is expected to continue to increase as Elizabeth, who will celebrate her ninetieth birthday in 2016, reduces her commitments.[170]

Elizabeth was admitted on 3 March 2013 to the King Edward VII Hospital for assessment as a precaution after developing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She returned to Buckingham Palace the following day.[163] Because of her advanced age and the need for her to limit travelling, she did not attend the biennial meeting of Commonwealth heads of government which took place in November 2013 in Sri Lanka; it was the first time since 1973 that she did not attend the meeting. She was represented at the summit by her son, Charles, Prince of Wales.[164]

The Queen opened the 2012 Summer Olympics on 27 July and the Paralympics on 29 August 2012 in London, making her the first head of state to open two Olympic Games in two different countries (she also opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal).[160] For the London Olympics, she played herself in a short film as part of the opening ceremony, alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond.[161] On 4 April 2013, she received an honorary BAFTA for her patronage of the film industry and was called "the most memorable Bond girl yet" at the award ceremony.[162]

The Queen visiting Birmingham in July 2012 as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour


Diamond Jubilee and beyond

The Queen addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as Queen of all Commonwealth realms and Head of the Commonwealth.[152] The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, introduced her as "an anchor for our age".[153] During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officially opened a memorial garden for the British victims of the 11 September attacks.[153] The Queen's visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th since 1954, was called her "farewell tour" in the press because of her age.[154]

In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forces were overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly.[148] She was, however, said to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.[149] On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen attended the first Maundy service held outside England and Wales.[150] At the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese, the Queen made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch in May 2011.[151]

Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on both knees. In October 2006, she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer.[147]

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as Queen. Her sister and mother died in February and March respectively, and the media speculated whether the Jubilee would be a success or a failure.[143] She again undertook an extensive tour of her realms, which began in Jamaica in February, where she called the farewell banquet "memorable" after a power cut plunged the King's House, the official residence of the governor-general, into darkness.[144] As in 1977, there were street parties and commemorative events and monuments were named to honour the occasion. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration in London[145] and the enthusiasm shown by the public for the Queen was greater than many journalists had predicted.[146]

Street scene of Elizabeth and spectators
Elizabeth II (centre, in pink) during a walkabout in Queen's Park, Toronto, 6 July 2010

Elizabeth II and US President state dinner at the White House, 7 May 2007

Golden Jubilee

In the ensuing years, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana's marriage continued.[134] Even though support for republicanism in Britain seemed higher than at any time in living memory, republicanism remained a minority viewpoint and the Queen herself had high approval ratings.[135] Criticism was focused on the institution of monarchy itself and the Queen's wider family rather than the Queen's own behaviour and actions.[136] In consultation with her husband, Prime Minister John Major, Robert Fellowes, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, saying that a divorce was desirable.[137] A year after the divorce, which took place in 1996, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. The Queen was on holiday with her son and grandchildren at Balmoral. Diana's two sons wanted to attend church and so the Queen and Prince Philip took them that morning.[138] After that single public appearance, for five days the Queen and the Duke shielded their grandsons from the intense press interest by keeping them at Balmoral where they could grieve in private,[139] but the royal family's seclusion and a failure to fly a flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace caused public dismay.[120][140] Pressured by the hostile reaction, the Queen agreed to a live broadcast to the world and returned to London to deliver it on 5 September, the day before Diana's funeral.[141] In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana and her feelings "as a grandmother" for Princes William and Harry.[142] As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.[142]

In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession, Elizabeth called 1992 her annus horribilis, meaning horrible year.[126] In March, her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his wife Sarah, Duchess of York, separated; in April, her daughter Anne, Princess Royal, divorced her husband Captain Mark Phillips;[127] during a state visit to Germany in October, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her;[128] and, in November, Windsor Castle suffered severe fire damage. The monarchy received increased criticism and public scrutiny.[129] In an unusually personal speech, the Queen said that any institution must expect criticism, but suggested it be done with "a touch of humour, gentleness and understanding".[130] Two days later, the Prime Minister, John Major, announced reforms of the royal finances that had been planned since the previous year, including the Queen paying income tax for the first time from 1993 and a reduction in the civil list.[131] In December, Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, formally separated.[132] The year ended with a lawsuit as the Queen sued The Sun newspaper for breach of copyright when it published the text of her annual Christmas message two days before its broadcast. The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees and donated £200,000 to charity.[133]

Elizabeth, in formal dress, holds a pair of spectacles to her mouth in a thoughtful pose
Prince Philip and Elizabeth II, October 1992

In 1991, in the wake of victory in the Gulf War, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.[125]


In 1987, in Canada, Elizabeth publicly supported politically divisive constitutional amendments, prompting criticism from opponents of the proposed changes, including Pierre Trudeau.[119] The same year, the elected Fijian government was deposed in a military coup. Elizabeth, as monarch of Fiji, supported the attempts of the Governor-General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, to assert executive power and negotiate a settlement. Coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka deposed Ganilau and declared Fiji a republic.[121] By the start of 1991, republican feeling in Britain had risen because of press estimates of the Queen's private wealth—which were contradicted by the Palace—and reports of affairs and strained marriages among her extended family.[122] The involvement of the younger royals in the charity game show It's a Royal Knockout was ridiculed[123] and the Queen was the target of satire.[124]

Intense media interest in the opinions and private lives of the royal family during the 1980s led to a series of sensational stories in the press, not all of which were entirely true.[112] As Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun, told his staff: "Give me a Sunday for Monday splash on the Royals. Don't worry if it's not true—so long as there's not too much of a fuss about it afterwards."[113] Newspaper editor Donald Trelford wrote in The Observer of 21 September 1986: "The royal soap opera has now reached such a pitch of public interest that the boundary between fact and fiction has been lost sight of ... it is not just that some papers don't check their facts or accept denials: they don't care if the stories are true or not." It was reported, most notably in The Sunday Times of 20 July 1986, that the Queen was worried that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's economic policies fostered social divisions and was alarmed by high unemployment, a series of riots, the violence of a miners' strike, and Thatcher's refusal to apply sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The sources of the rumours included royal aide Michael Shea and Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal, but Shea claimed his remarks were taken out of context and embellished by speculation.[114] Thatcher reputedly said the Queen would vote for the Social Democratic Party—Thatcher's political opponents.[115] Thatcher's biographer John Campbell claimed "the report was a piece of journalistic mischief-making".[116] Belying reports of acrimony between them, Thatcher later conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen,[117] and the Queen gave two honours in her personal gift—membership in the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter—to Thatcher after Thatcher's replacement as prime minister by John Major.[118] Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said Elizabeth was a "behind the scenes force" in ending apartheid in South Africa.[119][120]

During the 1981 Trooping the Colour ceremony and only six weeks before the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, six shots were fired at the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall on her horse, Burmese. Police later discovered that the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcus Sarjeant, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three.[106] The Queen's composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised.[107] From April to September 1982, the Queen remained anxious[108] but proud[109] of her son, Prince Andrew, who was serving with British forces during the Falklands War. On 9 July, the Queen awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find an intruder, Michael Fagan, in the room with her. Remaining calm and through two calls to the Palace police switchboard, she spoke to Fagan while he sat at the foot of her bed until assistance arrived seven minutes later.[110] Though she hosted US President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982 and visited his Californian ranch in 1983, she was angered when his administration ordered the invasion of Grenada, one of her Caribbean realms, without informing her.[111]

Elizabeth in red uniform on a black horse
Elizabeth riding Burmese at the 1986 Trooping the Colour ceremony


According to Paul Martin, Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried that the Crown "had little meaning for" Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister.[104] Tony Benn said that the Queen found Trudeau "rather disappointing".[104] Trudeau's supposed republicanism seemed to be confirmed by his antics, such as sliding down banisters at Buckingham Palace and pirouetting behind the Queen's back in 1977, and the removal of various Canadian royal symbols during his term of office.[104] In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patriation of the Canadian constitution found the Queen "better informed ... than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats".[104] She was particularly interested after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state.[104] Patriation removed the role of the British parliament from the Canadian constitution, but the monarchy was retained. Trudeau said in his memoirs that the Queen favoured his attempt to reform the constitution and that he was impressed by "the grace she displayed in public" and "the wisdom she showed in private".[105]

In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with her associated national and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen's popularity, despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret's separation from her husband.[100] In 1978, the Queen endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania's communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his wife, Elena,[101] though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands".[102] The following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt, former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, as a communist spy; the other was the assassination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.[103]

Silver Jubilee

A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was dismissed from his post by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, after the Opposition-controlled Senate rejected Whitlam's budget proposals.[98] As Whitlam had a majority in the House of Representatives, Speaker Gordon Scholes appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr's decision. She declined, stating that she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the Constitution of Australia for the governor-general.[99] The crisis fuelled Australian republicanism.[98]

In February 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath advised the Queen to call a general election in the middle of her tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim, requiring her to fly back to Britain.[96] The election resulted in a hung parliament; Heath's Conservatives were not the largest party, but could stay in office if they formed a coalition with the Liberals. Heath only resigned when discussions on forming a coalition foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of the Opposition, Labour's Harold Wilson, to form a government.[97]

The 1960s and 1970s saw an acceleration in the decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean. Over 20 countries gained independence from Britain as part of a planned transition to self-government. In 1965, however, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith, in opposition to moves toward majority rule, declared unilateral independence from Britain while still expressing "loyalty and devotion" to Elizabeth. Although the Queen dismissed him in a formal declaration, and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, his regime survived for over a decade.[94] As Britain's ties to its former empire weakened, the British government sought entry to the European Community, a goal it achieved in 1973.[95]

Acceleration of decolonisation

Elizabeth's pregnancies with Princes Andrew and Edward, in 1959 and 1963, mark the only times she has not performed the State Opening of the British parliament during her reign.[92] In addition to performing traditional ceremonies, she also instituted new practices. Her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members of the public, took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.[93]

The Queen with Prime Minister Edward Heath (left), US President Richard Nixon, and First Lady Pat Nixon, 1970

In 1957, she made a state visit to the United States, where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Commonwealth. On the same tour, she opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament, becoming the first monarch of Canada to open a parliamentary session.[85] Two years later, solely in her capacity as Queen of Canada, she revisited the United States and toured Canada.[85][86] In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran.[87] On a visit to Ghana the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, even though her host, President Kwame Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of state, was a target for assassins.[88] Harold Macmillan wrote, "The Queen has been absolutely determined all through ... She is impatient of the attitude towards her to treat her as ... a film star ... She has indeed 'the heart and stomach of a man' ... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen."[88] Before her tour through parts of Quebec in 1964, the press reported that extremists within the Quebec separatist movement were plotting Elizabeth's assassination.[89][90] No attempt was made, but a riot did break out while she was in Montreal; the Queen's "calmness and courage in the face of the violence" was noted.[91]

The Suez crisis and the choice of Eden's successor led in 1957 to the first major personal criticism of the Queen. In a magazine, which he owned and edited,[80] Lord Altrincham accused her of being "out of touch".[81] Altrincham was denounced by public figures and slapped by a member of the public appalled by his comments.[82] Six years later, in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised the Queen to appoint the Earl of Home as prime minister, advice that she followed.[83] The Queen again came under criticism for appointing the prime minister on the advice of a small number of ministers or a single minister.[83] In 1965, the Conservatives adopted a formal mechanism for electing a leader, thus relieving her of involvement.[84]

The absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that, following Eden's resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. Eden recommended that she consult Lord Salisbury, the Lord President of the Council. Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir, the Lord Chancellor, consulted the British Cabinet, Winston Churchill, and the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, resulting in the Queen appointing their recommended candidate: Harold Macmillan.[79]

In 1956, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden discussed the possibility of France joining the Commonwealth. The proposal was never accepted and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Union.[77] In November 1956, Britain and France invaded Egypt in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to capture the Suez Canal. Lord Mountbatten claimed the Queen was opposed to the invasion, though Eden denied it. Eden resigned two months later.[78]

From Elizabeth's birth onwards, the British Empire continued its transformation into the Commonwealth of Nations.[72] By the time of her accession in 1952, her role as head of multiple independent states was already established.[73] Spanning 1953–54, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-world tour. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations.[74] During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen her.[75] Throughout her reign, the Queen has undertaken state visits to foreign countries and tours of Commonwealth ones and she is the most widely travelled head of state.[76]

A formal group of Elizabeth in tiara and evening dress with eleven politicians in evening dress or national costume.
Elizabeth II and Commonwealth leaders at the 1960 Commonwealth Conference, Windsor Castle

The Commonwealth realms (pink) and their territories and protectorates (red) at the beginning of Elizabeth II's reign

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

Despite the death of Queen Mary on 24 March, the coronation on 2 June 1953 went ahead as planned, as Mary had asked before she died.[65] The ceremony in Westminster Abbey, with the exception of the anointing and communion, was televised for the first time.[66][4] Elizabeth's coronation gown was embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries:[70] English Tudor rose; Scots thistle; Welsh leek; Irish shamrock; Australian wattle; Canadian maple leaf; New Zealand silver fern; South African protea; lotus flowers for India and Ceylon; and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute.[71]

Amid preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret informed her sister that she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorcé‚ 16 years Margaret's senior, with two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them to wait for a year; in the words of Martin Charteris, "the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought—she hoped—given time, the affair would peter out."[61] Senior politicians were against the match and the Church of England did not permit remarriage after divorce. If Margaret had contracted a civil marriage, she would have been expected to renounce her right of succession.[62] Eventually, she decided to abandon her plans with Townsend.[63] In 1960, she married Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon the following year. They were divorced in 1978; she did not remarry.[64]

With Elizabeth's accession, it seemed probable that the royal house would bear her husband's name, becoming the House of Mountbatten, in line with the custom of a wife taking her husband's surname on marriage. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, favoured the retention of the House of Windsor, and so on 9 April 1952 Elizabeth issued a declaration that Windsor would continue to be the name of the royal house. The Duke complained, "I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children."[59] In 1960, after the death of Queen Mary in 1953 and the resignation of Churchill in 1955, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted for Philip and Elizabeth's male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.[60]

During 1951, Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C., in October 1951, her private secretary, Martin Charteris, carried a draft accession declaration in case the King died while she was on tour.[54] In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6 February 1952, they had just returned to their Kenyan home, Sagana Lodge, after a night spent at Treetops Hotel, when word arrived of the death of the King and consequently Elizabeth's immediate accession to the throne. Philip broke the news to the new Queen.[55] Martin Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name; she chose to remain Elizabeth, "of course".[56] She was proclaimed queen throughout her realms and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom.[57] She and the Duke of Edinburgh moved into Buckingham Palace.[58]

Elizabeth in crown and robes next to her husband in military uniform
Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953

Accession and coronation


Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor, near Windsor Castle, until 4 July 1949,[47] when they took up residence at Clarence House in London. At various times between 1949 and 1951, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in the British Crown Colony of Malta as a serving Royal Navy officer. He and Elizabeth lived intermittently, for several months at a time, in the hamlet of Gwardamanġa, at Villa Guardamangia, the rented home of Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten. The children remained in Britain.[53]

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948. One month earlier, the King had issued letters patent allowing her children to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess, to which they otherwise would not have been entitled as their father was no longer a royal prince.[51] A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.[52]

Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world.[47] Because Britain had not yet completely recovered from the devastation of the war, Elizabeth required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell.[48] In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations, including his three surviving sisters, to be invited to the wedding.[49] The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, was not invited either.[50]

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 of his mother's British family.[45] Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style His Royal Highness.[46]

The engagement was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born (though a British subject who had served in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links.[41] Marion Crawford wrote, "Some of the King's advisors did not think him good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom. Some of the papers played long and loud tunes on the string of Philip's foreign origin."[42] Elizabeth's mother was reported, in later biographies, to have opposed the union initially, even dubbing Philip "The Hun".[43] In later life, however, she told biographer Tim Heald that Philip was "an English gentleman".[44]

Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937.[38] They are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—said she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters.[39] Their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.[40]

Marriage and family

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.[37]
on her 21st birthday, she made the following pledge: British CommonwealthIn 1947, Princess Elizabeth went on her first overseas tour, accompanying her parents through southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the

During the war, plans were drawn up to quell Welsh nationalism by affiliating Elizabeth more closely with Wales. Proposals, such as appointing her Constable of Caernarfon Castle or a patron of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (the Welsh League of Youth), were abandoned for various reasons, which included a fear of associating Elizabeth with conscientious objectors in the Urdd, at a time when Britain was at war.[34] Welsh politicians suggested that she be made Princess of Wales on her 18th birthday. The idea was supported by the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, but rejected by the King because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.[35] In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.[36]

At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. Elizabeth 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."[33]

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 the previous year.[28] As she approached her 18th birthday, the law was changed so that she could act as one of five Counsellors of State in the event of her father's incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944.[29] In February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern with the service number of 230873.[30] She trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary junior commander five months later.[31][32]

Princess Elizabeth (left, in uniform) on the balcony of Princess Margaret, 8 May 1945
Elizabeth in Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, April 1945
We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.[27]

In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War, which lasted until 1945. During the war, many of London's children were evacuated to avoid the frequent aerial bombing. The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth's mother, who declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave."[23] Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret stayed at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they moved to Sandringham House, Norfolk.[24] From February to May 1940, they lived at Royal Lodge, Windsor, until moving to Windsor Castle, where they lived for most of the next five years.[25] At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomimes at Christmas in aid of the Queen's Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military garments.[26] In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities.[27] She stated:

Second World War

In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured Canada and the United States. As in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours.[21] Elizabeth "looked tearful" as her parents departed.[22] They corresponded regularly,[22] and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.[21]

Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College,[18] and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses.[19] A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed specifically so that she could socialise with girls her own age.[20] Later she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger.[19]

During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as the Prince of Wales was still young and many assumed that he would marry and have children of his own.[15] When her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father. Later that year Edward abdicated, after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis.[16] Consequently, Elizabeth's father became king and she became heir presumptive. If her parents had had a later son, she would have lost her position as first-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession.[17]

Elizabeth as a rosy-cheeked young girl with blue eyes and fair hair
Princess Elizabeth aged 7, painted by Philip de László, 1933

Heir presumptive

Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford, who was casually known as "Crawfie".[9] Lessons concentrated on history, language, literature and music.[10] Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family.[11] The book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, and her attitude of responsibility.[12] Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant."[13] Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".[14]


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.