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Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is
Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom, its dependencies (the Bailiwick of Guernsey, the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Isle of Man) and its overseas t ...
and 15 other
Commonwealth realm#REDIRECT Commonwealth realm#REDIRECT Commonwealth realm {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{R from other capitalisation ...
s. Elizabeth was born in
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive districts in London and th ...

Mayfair
,
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its estuary leading to the North Sea. London has been a major settlement for two millen ...
, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later
King George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last empe ...

King George VI
and
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth
). Her father ascended the throne on the
abdication Abdication is the act of formally relinquishing monarchical authority. Abdications have played various roles in the succession procedures of monarchies. While some cultures have viewed abdication as an extreme abandonment of duty, in other societies ...
of his brother
King Edward VIII Edward VIII (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David; 23 June 1894 – 28 May 1972) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Empire, and Emperor of India, from 20 January 1936 until his abdication in December o ...
in 1936, from which time she was the
heir presumptive An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. ...
. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the
Auxiliary Territorial Service The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS; often pronounced as an acronym) was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed on 9 September 1938, initially as a women's voluntary service, and existed until 1 Februar ...
. In 1947, she
married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them ...
Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she had four children:
Charles, Prince of Wales Charles, Prince of Wales (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. He has been heir apparent as well as Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay si ...

Charles, Prince of Wales
;
Anne, Princess Royal Anne, Princess Royal, (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise; born 15 August 1950) is the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She is 15th in the line of succession to the British throne and has bee ...
;
Prince Andrew, Duke of York Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (Andrew Albert Christian Edward, born 19 February 1960) is the third child and second son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He is eighth in the line of succession to the British throne. ...
; and
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (Edward Antony Richard Louis; born 10 March 1964) is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. At birth, he was third in line of succession to the British throne; he is curr ...
. When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth became
head of the Commonwealth The Head of the Commonwealth is the "symbol of the free association of independent member nations" of the Commonwealth of Nations (commonly known as ''the Commonwealth''), an intergovernmental organisation that currently comprises 54 sovereign st ...
and
queen regnant A queen regnant (plural: queens regnant) is a female monarch, equivalent in rank and title to a king, who reigns in her own right over a realm known as a "kingdom"; as opposed to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king; or a queen re ...
of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering , making it the world's second-largest country by total ...

Canada
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixt ...

Australia
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and more than 700 smaller islands, covering a total area of . New Zealand ...
,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212.2 million, and has the wor ...
, and
Ceylon Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island countr ...
. She has reigned as a
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
through major political changes, such as
devolution in the United Kingdom In the United Kingdom, devolution is the Parliament of the United Kingdom's statutory granting of a greater level of self-government to the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly and to ...
,
accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities The Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities (EC) – the collective term for the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) – took effect on ...
,
Brexit Brexit (; a portmanteau of "British exit") was the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC or Euratom) at 23:00 31 January 2020 GMT (00:00 CET). The UK is the first and o ...
, Canadian
patriation Patriation is the political process that led to full Canadian sovereignty, culminating with the Constitution Act, 1982. The process was necessary because under the Statute of Westminster 1931, with Canada's agreement at the time, the British parlia ...
, and the
decolonisation of Africa The decolonisation of Africa took place in the mid-to-late 1950s to 1975, with sudden and radical regime changes on the continent as colonial governments made the transition to independent states. The process was often quite disorganised, and marre ...
. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence, and as realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO; ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO), formerly known as Ceylon, and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island countr ...
), became republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state or sovereign of the V ...

pope
s. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her
Silver Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag (from the Latin ', derived from the Proto-Indo-European ''h₂erǵ'': "shiny" or "white") and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical cond ...
, Golden, and
Diamond Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At room temperature and pressure, another solid form of carbon known as graphite is the chemically stable form of carbon, but di ...
Jubilee A jubilee is a particular anniversary of an event, usually denoting the 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, or 70th anniversary. Of biblical origins, the term is often now used to denote the celebrations associated with the reign of a monarch after a milesto ...

Jubilee
s in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a
Sapphire Jubilee In 2017, the term sapphire jubilee or blue sapphire jubilee was coined for the celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (see Sapphire Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II). Previously, the sapphire wedding anniversary wa ...
. In 2021, after 73 years of marriage, Prince Philip died at the age of 99. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch. She is the longest-serving female head of state in world history, and the world's oldest living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and
oldest Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya, Hungary *Old, Northamptonshire, England *Old Street station, a railway and tube station in London (station code OLD) *OLD, IATA code for Old Town Municipal Airport and Seaplane Base, Old Town, Maine ...
and longest-serving current head of state. Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and press criticism of the
royal family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens, emirs/emiras, or sultans/sultanas, and sometimes their extended family. The term imperial family appropriately describes the family of an emperor or empress, and the term papal family desc ...
, in particular after the breakdown of her children's marriages, her in 1992, and the death in 1997 of her former daughter-in-law
Diana, Princess of Wales Diana, Princess of Wales (born Diana Frances Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was a member of the British royal family. She was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales—the heir apparent to the British throne—and was the m ...

Diana, Princess of Wales
. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom has been and remains consistently high, as does her personal popularity.


Early life

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born at 02:40 (
GMT Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, counted from midnight. At different times in the past, it has been calculated in different ways, including being calculated from noon; as a conseq ...
) on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather,
King George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother ...

King George V
. Her father, the Duke of York (later
King George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last empe ...

King George VI
), was the second son of the King. Her mother, the Duchess of York (later
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002) was Queen consort of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from 1936 to 1952 as the wife of King George VI. She was the last empress of India. After her husband died, she ...

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
), was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat the
Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne is a title in the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was first created as Earl of Kinghorne in Peerage of Scotland in 1606 for Patrick Lyon. In 1677, the designation of the earldom changed ...
. She was delivered by
Caesarean section Caesarean section, also known as C-section, or caesarean delivery, is the surgical procedure by which a baby is delivered through an incision in the pregnant person's abdomen, often performed because vaginal delivery would put the baby or pregnan ...
at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17
Bruton Street Bruton Street is a street in London's Mayfair district. It runs from Berkeley Square in the south-west to New Bond Street in the north-east, where it continues as Conduit Street. Notable residents have included Field Marshal John Campbell, 2nd Du ...
,
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster, between Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly and Park Lane. It is one of the most expensive districts in London and th ...

Mayfair
. She was
baptised Baptism (from the Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christian rite of admission and adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be performed by sprinkling or pouring water on the head, or by imme ...

baptised
by the
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called ''Anglicans''; they are also called ''E ...
Archbishop of York The Archbishop of York is a senior bishop in the Church of England, second only to the archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and the metropolitan bishop of the Province of York, which covers the n ...
,
Cosmo Gordon Lang William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth, (31 October 1864 – 5 December 1945) was a Scottish Anglican prelate who served as Archbishop of York (1908–1928) and Archbishop of Canterbury (1928–1942). His elevation to Archbishop o ...
, in the private chapel of
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a ...
on 29 May, and named Elizabeth after her mother; Alexandra after
George V's mother
George V's mother
, who had died six months earlier; and Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather, George V, and during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery. Elizabeth's only sibling,
Princess Margaret Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, (Margaret Rose; 21 August 1930 – 9 February 2002) was the younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II. She spent much of her childhood with her p ...

Princess Margaret
, was born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their
governess 300px, In Rebecca Solomon's 1851 painting ''The Governess'', the title figure (seated right, with her charge) exhibits the modest dress and deportment appropriate to her quasi-invisible role in the Victorian household. A governess is a woman e ...

governess
,
Marion Crawford Marion Crawford, CVO (5 June 1909 – 11 February 1988) was a Scottish educator and governess to Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II), who called her Crawfie. Crawford was the named author of the book ''The Li ...
. Lessons concentrated on history, language, literature, and music. 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. The book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, and her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations:
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, ...

Winston Churchill
described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant." Her cousin
Margaret Rhodes Margaret Rhodes (; 9 June 1925 – 25 November 2016) was a British aristocrat and a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. From 1991 to 2002, she served as Woman of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Early life and education ...
described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".


Heir presumptive

During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the
line of succession to the British throne Succession to the British throne is determined by descent, sex (males born before 28 October 2011 precede their elder sisters in the line of succession), legitimacy, and religion. Under common law, the Crown is inherited by a sovereign's child ...
, behind her uncle
Edward Edward is an English given name. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon form ''Éadweard'', composed of the elements ''ead'' "wealth, fortune; prosperous" and ''weard'' "guardian, protector". This term is of Indo-European origin appearing in Latin «a ...
and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young and likely to marry and have children of his own, who would precede Elizabeth in the line of succession. 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 A socialite is a person (usually from a wealthy, or aristocratic background) who plays a prominent role in or is very frequently involved in high society. A socialite generally spends a significant amount of time attending various fashionable social ...
Wallis Simpson Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (born Bessie Wallis Warfield; 19 June 1896 – 24 April 1986), known as Wallis Simpson, was an American socialite and wife of the Duke of Windsor, the former British king Edward VIII. Their intention to marry and ...
provoked a constitutional crisis. Consequently, Elizabeth's father became king, taking the
regnal name A regnal name, or reign name, is the name used by monarchs and popes during their reigns and, subsequently, historically. Since ancient times, some monarchs have chosen to use a different name from their original name when they accede to the monar ...
George VI George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George; 14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952) was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth from 11 December 1936 until his death in 1952. He was concurrently the last empe ...
. Since Elizabeth had no brothers, she became
heir presumptive An heir presumptive is the person entitled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question. ...
. If her parents had a later son, he would have been
heir apparent An heir apparent is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting by the birth of another person. An heir presumptive, by contrast, is someone who is first in line to inherit a title but who can be displ ...
and above her in the line of succession, which was determined by
male-preference primogeniture Primogeniture ( ) is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent's entire or main estate in preference to shared inheritance among all or some children, any illegitimate child or any collateral relative. ...
at the time. Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of
Eton College Eton College () is a 13–18 age range independent boarding school for boys in the town of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by Henry VI as "Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore"Nevill, p.3 ff. as ...
, and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A
Girl Guides , 1918 Image:Christliche Pfadfinder.jpg, Singing Girl Guides in Germany, 2007 Girl Guides (known as Girl Scouts in the United States and some other countries) is a movement found worldwide, which was originally and still largely designed for gir ...
company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed specifically so she could socialise with girls her own age. Later, she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger. In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured Canada and the United States. As in 1927, when they had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours.Pimlott, p. 54 She "looked tearful" as her parents departed.Pimlott, p. 55 They corresponded regularly, and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on 18 May.


Second World War

In September 1939, Britain entered the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
. Lord Hailsham suggested that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be evacuated to Canada to avoid the frequent
aerial bombing An airstrike, air strike or air raid is an offensive operation carried out by aircraft. Air strikes are delivered from aircraft such as blimps, balloons, fighters, bombers, ground attack aircraft, attack helicopters and drones. The official defi ...
. This was rejected by their mother, who declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave." The princesses stayed at
Balmoral Castle Balmoral Castle () is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, owned by Queen Elizabeth II. It is near the village of Crathie, west of Ballater and west of Aberdeen. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British ...

Balmoral Castle
, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they moved to
Sandringham House Sandringham House is a country house in the parish of Sandringham, Norfolk, England. It is the private home of Elizabeth II, whose father, George VI, and grandfather, George V, both died there. The house stands in a estate in the Norfolk Coast ...
, Norfolk. From February to May 1940, they lived at
Royal Lodge The Royal Lodge is a Grade II listed house in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England, half a mile north of Cumberland Lodge and south of Windsor Castle. It was the Windsor residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until her death ...

Royal Lodge
, Windsor, until moving to
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the English and succeeding British royal family, and embodies almost 1,000 years of architectural history. The original castl ...
, where they lived for most of the next five years. At Windsor, the princesses staged
pantomime Pantomime (; informally panto) is a type of musical comedy stage production designed for family entertainment. It was developed in England and is performed throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland and (to a lesser extent) in other English-speaking ...
s at Christmas in aid of the Queen's Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military garments. In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...

BBC
's ''
Children's Hour ''Children's Hour'', initially ''The Children's Hour'', was the BBC's principal recreational service for children (as distinct from "Broadcasts to Schools") which began during the period when radio was the only medium of broadcasting. ''Children' ...
'', addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities. She stated: "We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers, and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well." In 1943, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the
Grenadier Guards "Evil be to him who evil thinks" , colors = , colors_label = , march = Quick: "The British Grenadiers"Slow: "Scipio" , mascot = , equipment = , equipment_label = , battles = Waterloo , anniversaries = , decorations = , battle_honours = , ...

Grenadier Guards
, of which she had been appointed colonel the previous year. As she approached her 18th birthday, parliament changed the law so 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. In February 1945, she was appointed as an honorary second subaltern in the
Auxiliary Territorial Service The Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS; often pronounced as an acronym) was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. It was formed on 9 September 1938, initially as a women's voluntary service, and existed until 1 Februar ...
with the
service number Service may refer to: Activities :''(See the Religion section for religious activities)'' * Administrative service, a required part of the workload of university faculty * Civil service, the body of employees of a government * Community service, v ...
of 230873. She trained as a driver and mechanic and was given the rank of honorary junior commander (female equivalent of
captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a military rank in ar ...
at the time) five months later. At the end of the war in Europe, on
Victory in Europe Day Victory in Europe Day is the day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8 May 1945, marking the end of World War II in Europe. Several countries observ ...
, 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 Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea. It is the main thoroughfare running south from Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Square ...

Whitehall
, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief." During the war, plans were drawn up to quell
Welsh nationalism Welsh nationalism ( cy, Cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig) emphasises and celebrates the distinctiveness of Welsh language, culture, and history, and calls for more self-determination for Wales, which might include more devolved powers for the Senedd, or full ...
by affiliating Elizabeth more closely with Wales. Proposals, such as appointing her Constable of
Caernarfon Castle Caernarfon Castle ( cy, Castell Caernarfon ) – often anglicised as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle – is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government's historic environme ...
or a patron of
Urdd Gobaith Cymru Urdd Gobaith Cymru () (known as the Urdd) is a national voluntary youth organisation, which claimed over 56,000 members in 2019 aged between 8 and 25 years old. It provides opportunities for children and young people across Wales to take part in ...
(the Welsh League of Youth), were abandoned for several reasons, including fear of associating Elizabeth with
conscientious objector A conscientious objector is an "individual who has claimed the right to refuse to perform military service" on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion. In some countries, conscientious objectors are assigned to an alternative ...
s in the Urdd at a time when Britain was at war. Welsh politicians suggested she be made
Princess of Wales Princess of Wales ( cy, Tywysoges Cymru) is a British courtesy title held by the wife of the Prince of Wales, who is, since the 14th century, the heir apparent of the English or British monarch. The first acknowledged title holder was Eleanor de Mo ...
on her 18th birthday.
Home Secretary The home secretary is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of the Home Office. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the home secretary is a senior member of the British Cabinet. The current ...
,
Herbert Morrison Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, (3 January 1888 – 6 March 1965) was a British Labour politician who held a variety of senior positions in the Cabinet. During the inter-war period, he was Minister of Transport during the ...
supported the idea, but the King rejected it 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. In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh
Gorsedd A gorsedd (, plural ''gorseddau'') is a secret society of modern-day bards. The word is of Welsh origin, meaning "throne". It is often spelled gorsedh in Cornwall and goursez in Brittany, reflecting the spellings in the Cornish and Breton langua ...
of Bards at the
National Eisteddfod of Wales The National Eisteddfod of Wales (Welsh: ') is the most important of several eisteddfodau that are held annually, mostly in Wales. Its eight days of competitions and performances are considered the largest music and poetry festival in Europe. Compet ...
. Princess Elizabeth went on her first overseas tour in 1947, accompanying her parents through southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the
British Commonwealth British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people, nationals or natives of the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies. ** Britishness, the British identity and common culture * British English, t ...
on her 21st birthday, she made the following pledge: "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

Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937. They were Cousin#Cousin chart, second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. After another meeting at the Britannia Royal Naval College, Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Devon, Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth—though only 13 years old—said she fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters. She was 21 when their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947. 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. 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." Later biographies reported Elizabeth's mother had reservations about the union initially, and teased Philip as "List of terms used for Germans#Hun (pejorative), The Hun". In later life, however, the Queen Mother told biographer Tim Heald that Philip was "an English gentleman". Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, officially converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style ''Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten'', taking Mountbatten, the surname of his mother's British family. Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style ''His Royal Highness''. Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They received 2,500 wedding gifts from around the world. Because Britain had not yet completely recovered from the devastation of the war, Elizabeth required Rationing in the United Kingdom, ration coupons to buy the material for Wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth, her gown, which was designed by Norman Hartnell. In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for Philip's German relations, including his three surviving sisters, to be invited to the wedding. The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, was not invited either. 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. A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950. Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor, near
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the English and succeeding British royal family, and embodies almost 1,000 years of architectural history. The original castl ...
, until July 1949, 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 in Malta 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.


Reign


Accession and coronation

During 1951, George VI's health declined, and Elizabeth frequently stood in for him at public events. When she toured Canada and visited President 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. 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. Martin Charteris asked her to choose a
regnal name A regnal name, or reign name, is the name used by monarchs and popes during their reigns and, subsequently, historically. Since ancient times, some monarchs have chosen to use a different name from their original name when they accede to the monar ...
; she chose to remain Elizabeth, "of course"; thus she was called Elizabeth II, which annoyed many Scots, as she was the first Elizabeth to rule in Scotland. She was Proclamation of accession of Elizabeth II, proclaimed queen throughout her realms and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom. She and the Duke of Edinburgh moved into
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a ...
. With Elizabeth's accession, it seemed probable the royal house would bear the Duke of Edinburgh's name, in line with the custom of a wife taking her husband's surname on marriage. The Duke's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, advocated the name ''House of Mountbatten''. Philip suggested ''House of Edinburgh'', after his ducal title. The British Prime Minister,
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Apart from two years between 1922 and 1924, ...

Winston Churchill
, and Elizabeth's grandmother, Mary of Teck, 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." 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. Amid preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret told her sister she wished to marry Peter Townsend (RAF officer), 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 Charteris, "the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought—she hoped—given time, the affair would peter out." 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. Margaret decided to abandon her plans with Townsend. Despite the death of Queen Mary on 24 March, the Coronation of Elizabeth II, coronation on 2 June 1953 went ahead as planned, as Mary had asked before she died. The ceremony in Westminster Abbey, with the exception of the anointing and Eucharist, communion, was televised for the first time. Coronation gown of Elizabeth II, Elizabeth's coronation gown was embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries.


Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

From Elizabeth's birth onwards, the British Empire continued its transformation into the Commonwealth of Nations. By the time of her accession in 1952, her role as head of multiple independent states was already established. In 1953, the Queen and her husband embarked on a seven-month round-the-world tour, visiting 13 countries and covering more than by land, sea and air. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and Monarchy of New Zealand, New Zealand to visit those nations. During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen her. Throughout her reign, the Queen has made hundreds of List of state visits made by Elizabeth II, state visits to other countries and List of Commonwealth visits made by Elizabeth II, tours of the Commonwealth; she is the most widely travelled head of state. In 1956, the British and French prime ministers, Sir Anthony Eden and Guy Mollet, 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 to the European Union. In November 1956, Britain and France Suez Crisis, 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. The absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party (UK), Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that, following Eden's resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to Kissing hands, commission to form a government. Eden recommended she consult Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, Lord Salisbury, the Lord President of the Council. Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir, the Lord Chancellor, consulted the British Cabinet, Churchill, and the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, resulting in the Queen appointing their recommended candidate: Harold Macmillan. 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, John Grigg (writer), Lord Altrincham accused her of being "out of touch". Altrincham was denounced by public figures and slapped by a member of the public appalled by his comments. Six years later, in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised the Queen to appoint Alec Douglas-Home, the Earl of Home as prime minister, advice she followed.Hardman, p. 22; Pimlott, pp. 324–335; Roberts, p. 84 The Queen again came under criticism for appointing the prime minister on the advice of a small number of ministers or a single minister. In 1965, the Conservatives adopted a formal mechanism for electing a leader, thus relieving her of involvement. 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. Two years later, solely in her capacity as Queen of Canada, she revisited the United States and toured Canada. In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Kingdom of Nepal, Nepal, and Imperial State of Iran, Iran. On a visit to Ghana the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, even though her host, List of heads of state of Ghana, President Kwame Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of state, was a target for assassins. 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 'Speech to the Troops at Tilbury, the heart and stomach of a man' ... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen."Macmillan, pp. 466–472 Before her tour through parts of Quebec in 1964, the press reported extremists within the Quebec sovereignty movement, Quebec separatist movement were plotting Elizabeth's assassination. 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. Elizabeth's pregnancies with Princes Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Andrew and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Edward, in 1959 and 1963, mark the only times she has not performed the State Opening of Parliament, State Opening of the British parliament during her reign. 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.


Acceleration of decolonisation

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, the Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, in opposition to moves towards majority rule, Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence, unilaterally declared independence while expressing "loyalty and devotion" to Elizabeth. Although the Queen formally dismissed him, and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, his regime survived for over a decade. As Britain's ties to its former empire weakened, the British government sought entry to the European Community, a goal it achieved in 1973. In February 1974, the British Prime Minister, Edward Heath, advised the Queen to call a February 1974 United Kingdom general election, general election in the middle of her tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim, requiring her to fly back to Britain. 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 Liberal Party (UK), Liberals. Heath only resigned when discussions on forming a coalition foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of the Opposition (United Kingdom), Leader of the Opposition, Labour Party (UK), Labour's Harold Wilson, to form a government. A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, the Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, was dismissed from his post by Governor-General of Australia, Governor-General Sir John Kerr (governor-general), John Kerr, after the Opposition-controlled Australian Senate, Senate rejected Whitlam's budget proposals.Bond, p. 96; Marr, p. 257; Pimlott, p. 427; Shawcross, p. 110 As Whitlam had a majority in the House of Representatives (Australia), House of Representatives, Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, Speaker Gordon Scholes appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr's decision. She declined, saying she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the Constitution of Australia for the Governor-General. The crisis fuelled Australian republicanism.


Silver Jubilee

In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with List of events during the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, 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, Lord Snowdon. In 1978, the Queen endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania's communist leader, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his wife, Elena Ceaușescu, Elena, though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands". 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. According to Paul Martin Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried the Crown "had little meaning for" Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister. Tony Benn said the Queen found Trudeau "rather disappointing". 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. In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the
patriation Patriation is the political process that led to full Canadian sovereignty, culminating with the Constitution Act, 1982. The process was necessary because under the Statute of Westminster 1931, with Canada's agreement at the time, the British parlia ...
of the Canadian constitution found the Queen "better informed ... than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats". She was particularly interested after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state. 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".


1980s

During the 1981 Trooping the Colour ceremony, six weeks before the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, six shots were fired at the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall, London, on her horse, Burmese (horse), Burmese. Police later discovered the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcus Sarjeant, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three. The Queen's composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised. Months later, in October, the Queen was the subject of another attack while on a visit to Dunedin, New Zealand. New Zealand Security Intelligence Service documents, declassified in 2018, revealed that 17-year-old Christopher John Lewis fired a shot with a .22 rifle from the fifth floor of a building overlooking the parade, but missed. Lewis was arrested, but never charged with attempted murder or treason, and sentenced to three years in jail for unlawful possession and discharge of a firearm. Two years into his sentence, he attempted to escape a psychiatric hospital in order to assassinate Charles, who was visiting the country with Diana, Princess of Wales, Diana and their son Prince William. From April to September 1982, the Queen's son, Prince Andrew, served with British forces in the Falklands War, for which she reportedly felt anxiety and pride. On 9 July, she awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find an intruder, Michael Fagan incident, Michael Fagan, in the room with her. In a serious lapse of security, assistance only arrived after two calls to the Palace police switchboard. After hosting US President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982 and visiting Rancho del Cielo, his California ranch in 1983, the Queen was angered when his administration ordered the United States invasion of Grenada, invasion of Grenada, one of her Caribbean realms, without informing her. 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. As Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of ''The Sun (United Kingdom), 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." 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 Margaret Thatcher's Thatcherism#economicposition, economic policies fostered social divisions and was alarmed by high unemployment, 1981 England riots, a series of riots, the violence of a UK miners' strike (1984–85), 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 (diplomat), Michael Shea and Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal, but Shea claimed his remarks were taken out of context and embellished by speculation. Thatcher reputedly said the Queen would vote for the Social Democratic Party (UK), Social Democratic Party—Thatcher's political opponents. Thatcher's biographer, John Campbell (biographer), John Campbell, claimed "the report was a piece of journalistic mischief-making". Belying reports of acrimony between them, Thatcher later conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen, 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 her replacement as prime minister by John Major. Brian Mulroney, Canadian prime minister between 1984 and 1993, said Elizabeth was a "behind the scenes force" in ending apartheid. By the end of the 1980s, the Queen had become the target of satire. The involvement of younger members of the royal family in the charity game show ''It's a Royal Knockout'' in 1987 was ridiculed. In Canada, Elizabeth publicly supported politically divisive Meech Lake Accord, constitutional amendments, prompting criticism from opponents of the proposed changes, including Pierre Trudeau. The same year, the elected Fijian government was deposed in 1987 Fijian coups d'état, a military coup. As monarch of Fiji, Elizabeth supported the attempts of Governor-General of Fiji, 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.


1990s

In 1991, in the wake of coalition victory in the Gulf War, the Queen became the first British monarch to address a Joint session of the United States Congress, joint meeting of the United States Congress. In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark her Ruby Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Ruby Jubilee on the throne, Elizabeth called 1992 her ''annus horribilis'' (''horrible year''). 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. In March, her second son, Prince Andrew, and his wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, Sarah, separated; in April, her daughter, Princess Anne, divorced Captain Mark Phillips; during a state visit to Germany in October, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her; and, in November, 1992 Windsor Castle fire, a large fire broke out at Windsor Castle, one of her official residences. The monarchy came under increased criticism and public scrutiny. 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". Two days later, Prime Minister John Major announced reforms to the royal finances planned since the previous year, including the Queen paying income tax from 1993 onwards, and a reduction in the civil list. In December, Prince Charles and his wife, Diana, formally separated. The year ended with a lawsuit, as the Queen sued ''The Sun (United Kingdom), The Sun'' newspaper for breach of copyright when it published the text of her Royal Christmas Message, annual Christmas message two days before it was broadcast. The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees and donated £200,000 to charity. In the years to follow, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana's marriage continued. Even though support for republicanism in Britain seemed higher than at any time in living memory, republicanism was still a minority viewpoint, and the Queen herself had high approval ratings. Criticism was focused on the institution of the monarchy itself and the Queen's wider family rather than her own behaviour and actions. In consultation with her husband and the Prime Minister, John Major, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, and her private secretary, Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes, Robert Fellowes, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, saying a divorce was desirable. In August 1997, a year after the divorce, Diana was killed in Death of Diana, Princess of Wales, a car crash in Paris. The Queen was on holiday with her extended family at Balmoral Castle, Balmoral. Diana's two sons by Charles – Princes Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, William and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Harry – wanted to attend church and so the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh took them that morning. Afterwards, 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, but the royal family's silence and seclusion, and the failure to fly a flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, caused public dismay. Pressured by the hostile reaction, the Queen agreed to return to London and do a Addresses to the nation by Elizabeth II, live television broadcast on 5 September, the day before Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, Diana's funeral. In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana and her feelings "as a grandmother" for the two princes.Bond, p. 134; Brandreth, p. 359; Lacey, pp. 13–15; Pimlott, pp. 623–624 As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated. In November 1997, the Queen and her husband held a reception at Banqueting House to mark their golden wedding anniversary. She made a speech and praised Philip for his role as a consort, referring to him as "my strength and stay".


Golden Jubilee

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Golden Jubilee. Her sister and mother died in February and March respectively, and the media speculated whether the Jubilee would be a success or a failure. 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, Jamaica, King's House, the official residence of the Governor-General of Jamaica, governor-general, into darkness. 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, and the enthusiasm shown by the public for the Queen was greater than many journalists had expected. Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 the Queen 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. In May 2007, ''The Daily Telegraph'', citing unnamed sources, reported the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of the British prime minister, Tony Blair, that she was concerned the British Armed Forces were overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair. She was, however, said to admire Blair's efforts to Northern Ireland peace process, achieve peace in Northern Ireland. She became the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary in November 2007. On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Church of Ireland), St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen attended the first Royal Maundy, Maundy service held outside England and Wales.


Diamond Jubilee and longevity

Elizabeth addressed the UN General Assembly for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as Queen of all Commonwealth realms and Head of the Commonwealth. The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, introduced her as "an anchor for our age". During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officially opened a memorial garden for British victims of the September 11 attacks. The Queen's 11-day visit to Australia in October 2011 was her 16th visit to the country since 1954. By invitation of the Irish President, Mary McAleese, she made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch in May 2011. The Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee marked 60 years on the throne, and celebrations were held throughout her realms, the wider Commonwealth, and beyond. In a message released on Accession Day, Elizabeth wrote: She and her husband undertook an extensive tour of the United Kingdom, while her children and grandchildren embarked on royal tours of other Commonwealth states on her behalf. On 4 June, Jubilee beacons were lit around the world. In November, the Queen and her husband celebrated their blue sapphire wedding anniversary (65th). On 18 December, she became the first British sovereign to attend a peacetime Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet meeting since George III in 1781. The Queen, who opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, also opened the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2012 Summer Paralympics, Paralympics in London, making her the first List of people who have opened the Olympic Games, head of state to open two Olympic Games in two countries. For the London Olympics, she played herself in Happy & Glorious, a short film as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, opening ceremony, alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond. 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. On 3 March 2013, Elizabeth was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital as a precaution after developing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She returned to Buckingham Palace the following day. A week later, she signed the new Charter of the Commonwealth. Because of her age and the need for her to limit travelling, in 2013 she chose not to attend the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting for the first time in 40 years. She was represented at the summit in Sri Lanka by Prince Charles. She had cataract surgery in May 2018. In March 2019, she opted to give up driving on public roads, largely as a consequence of a car crash involving her husband two months earlier. The Queen surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the List of British monarchs by longevity, longest-lived British monarch on 21 December 2007, and the List of monarchs in Britain by length of reign#Overall, longest-reigning British monarch and List of longest-reigning monarchs, longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in the world on 9 September 2015. She became the oldest current monarch after Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died on 23 January 2015. She later became the longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state following the death of Bhumibol Adulyadej, King Bhumibol of Thailand on 13 October 2016, and the Lists of state leaders by age, oldest current head of state on the resignation of Robert Mugabe on 21 November 2017. On 6 February 2017, she became the first British monarch to commemorate a
Sapphire Jubilee In 2017, the term sapphire jubilee or blue sapphire jubilee was coined for the celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II (see Sapphire Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II). Previously, the sapphire wedding anniversary wa ...
, and on 20 November, she was the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum wedding anniversary. Philip had retired from his official duties as the Queen's consort in August 2017. After 73 years of marriage, he died on 9 April 2021, after which she became the first British monarch to reign as a widow or widower since Queen Victoria. She remarked in private that his death "left a huge void". The Queen's Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Platinum Jubilee is planned for 2022, and she would surpass Louis XIV of Kingdom of France, France as the List of longest-reigning monarchs, longest-reigning monarch of a sovereign state in verified world history on 27 May 2024. She does not intend to abdicate, though Prince Charles has been taking on more of her duties as the -year-old monarch carries out fewer public engagements. On 20 April 2018, the government leaders of the Commonwealth of Nations announced that she will be succeeded by Charles as head of the Commonwealth. The Queen stated it was her "sincere wish" that Charles would follow her in the role. Plans for the Queen's own death and funeral, codenamed Operation London Bridge, have been prepared by British government and media organisations since the 1960s.


Public perception and character

Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a
constitutional monarch A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchies differ from absolute monarchies (in which a monarch holds absolute ...
, 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, coronation oath seriously. Aside from her Monarchy of the United Kingdom#Religious role, official religious role as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Supreme Governor of the State religion, established Church of England, she is a member of that church and also of the national Church of Scotland. She has demonstrated support for Interfaith dialogue, 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 Pope Francis, Francis. A personal note about her faith often features in her annual Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth. In 2000, she said: She is patron of over 600 organisations and charities. The Charities Aid Foundation estimated that Elizabeth has helped raised over £1.4 billion for her patronages during her reign. Her main leisure interests include equestrianism and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Her lifelong Royal corgis, love of corgis began in 1933 with Dookie, the first corgi owned by her family. 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. In the 1950s, as a young woman at the start of her reign, Elizabeth was depicted as a glamorous "fairytale Queen". After the trauma of the Second World War, it was a time of hope, a period of progress and achievement heralding a "new Elizabethan age". Lord Altrincham's accusation in 1957 that her speeches sounded like those of a "priggish schoolgirl" was an extremely rare criticism. In the late 1960s, attempts to portray a more modern image of the monarchy were made in the television documentary ''Royal Family (documentary), Royal Family'' and by televising Prince Charles's Investiture of the Prince of Wales, investiture as Prince of Wales. In public, she took to wearing mostly solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd. At her Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Silver Jubilee in 1977, the crowds and celebrations were genuinely enthusiastic, 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. Her 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. Discontent with the monarchy reached its peak on the death of the former Princess of Wales, Diana, although Elizabeth's personal popularity – as well as general support for the monarchy – rebounded after her live television broadcast to the world five days after Diana's death. In November 1999, a 1999 Australian republic referendum, referendum in Australia on the future of the Australian monarchy favoured its retention in preference to an indirectly elected head of state. Polls in Britain in 2006 and 2007 revealed strong support for Elizabeth, and in 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year, approval ratings hit 90 percent. Referendums in 2008 Tuvaluan constitutional referendum, Tuvalu in 2008 and 2009 Vincentian constitutional referendum, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009 both rejected proposals to become republics. Elizabeth has been portrayed in a variety of media by many notable artists, including painters Pietro Annigoni, Peter Blake (artist), Peter Blake, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, Terence Cuneo, Lucian Freud, Rolf Harris, Damien Hirst, Juliet Pannett, and Tai-Shan Schierenberg. Notable photographers of Elizabeth have included Cecil Beaton, Yousuf Karsh, Annie Leibovitz, Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield, Lord Lichfield, Terry O'Neill (photographer), Terry O'Neill, John Swannell (photographer), John Swannell, and Dorothy Wilding. The first official portrait of Elizabeth was taken by Marcus Adams (photographer), Marcus Adams in 1926.


Finances

Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. In 1971, Jock Colville, her former private secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts, estimated her wealth at £2 million (equivalent to about £ in ). In 1993, Buckingham Palace called estimates of £100 million "grossly overstated". In 2002, she inherited an estate worth an estimated £70 million from her mother. The ''Sunday Times Rich List 2020'' estimated her personal wealth at £350 million, making her the 372nd richest person in the UK. She was number one on the list when it began in the ''Sunday Times Rich List 1989'', with a reported wealth of £5.2 billion, which included state assets that were not hers personally, (approximately £ in today's value). The Royal Collection, which includes thousands of historic works of art and the British Crown Jewels, is not owned personally but is held Trust law, in trust by the Queen, as are her official residences, such as
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a ...
and
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is strongly associated with the English and succeeding British royal family, and embodies almost 1,000 years of architectural history. The original castl ...
, and the Duchy of Lancaster, a property portfolio valued at £472 million in 2015. (The Paradise Papers, leaked in 2017, show that the Duchy of Lancaster held investments in two tax haven overseas territories, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.)
Sandringham House Sandringham House is a country house in the parish of Sandringham, Norfolk, England. It is the private home of Elizabeth II, whose father, George VI, and grandfather, George V, both died there. The house stands in a estate in the Norfolk Coast ...
and
Balmoral Castle Balmoral Castle () is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, owned by Queen Elizabeth II. It is near the village of Crathie, west of Ballater and west of Aberdeen. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British ...

Balmoral Castle
are personally owned by the Queen. The British Crown Estate – with holdings of £14.3 billion in 2019 – is held in trust and cannot be sold or owned by her in a personal capacity.


Titles, styles, honours, and arms


Titles and styles

* 21 April 192611 December 1936: ''Her Royal Highness'' Princess Elizabeth of York * 11 December 193620 November 1947: ''Her Royal Highness'' The Princess Elizabeth * 20 November 19476 February 1952: ''Her Royal Highness'' The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh * Since 6 February 1952: ''Her Majesty'' The Queen Elizabeth has held many titles and honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, 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 Fidei defensor, Defender of the Faith and Duke of Lancaster. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to address her initially as ''Your Majesty'' and thereafter as ''Ma'am''.


Arms

From 21 April 1944 until her accession, Elizabeth's arms consisted of a Lozenge (heraldry), lozenge bearing the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom differenced with a Label (heraldry), label of three points argent, the centre point bearing a Tudor rose and the first and third a St George's Cross, cross of St George. Upon her accession, she inherited the various arms her father held as sovereign. The Queen also possesses Banner#Heraldic banners, royal standards and personal flags for use in Royal Standard of the United Kingdom, the United Kingdom, Royal standards of Canada, Canada, Queen's Personal Australian Flag, Australia, Queen's Personal Flag for New Zealand, New Zealand, Queen's Personal Jamaican Flag, Jamaica, Queen's Personal Barbadian Flag, Barbados, and elsewhere.


Issue


Ancestry


See also

* Household of Queen Elizabeth II * List of things named after Elizabeth II * List of Jubilees of British monarchs#Elizabeth II, List of Jubilees of Elizabeth II * Royal Address to the Nation#Elizabeth_II, List of special addresses made by Elizabeth II * Royal eponyms in Canada * Royal descendants of Queen Victoria and King Christian IX


Notes


References


Bibliography

* Jennie Bond, Bond, Jennie (2006). ''Elizabeth: Eighty Glorious Years''. London: Carlton Publishing Group. * Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Gary (2002). ''Fifty Years the Queen''. Toronto: Dundurn Press. * Sarah Bradford, Bradford, Sarah (2012). ''Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times''. London: Penguin. * Gyles Brandreth, Brandreth, Gyles (2004). ''Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage''. London: Century. * Asa Briggs, Briggs, Asa (1995). ''The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Volume 4''. Oxford: Oxford University Press. * John Campbell (biographer), Campbell, John (2003). ''Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady''. London: Jonathan Cape. * Marion Crawford, Crawford, Marion (1950). ''The Little Princesses''. London: Cassell & Co. * Hardman, Robert (2011). ''Our Queen''. London: Hutchinson. * Tim Heald, Heald, Tim (2007). ''Princess Margaret: A Life Unravelled''. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. * Hoey, Brian (2002). ''Her Majesty: Fifty Regal Years''. London: HarperCollins. * Robert Lacey, Lacey, Robert (2002). ''Royal: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II''. London: Little, Brown. * Harold Macmillan, Macmillan, Harold (1972). ''Pointing The Way 1959–1961'' London: Macmillan. * Andrew Marr, Marr, Andrew (2011). ''The Diamond Queen: Elizabeth II and Her People''. London: Macmillan. * Andrew Neil, Neil, Andrew (1996). ''Full Disclosure''. London: Macmillan. * Harold Nicolson, Nicolson, Sir Harold (1952). ''King George the Fifth: His Life and Reign''. London: Constable & Co. * Jonathan Petropoulos, Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006). ''Royals and the Reich: the princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany''. New York: Oxford University Press. * Ben Pimlott, Pimlott, Ben (2001). ''The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy''. London: HarperCollins. * Andrew Roberts (historian), Roberts, Andrew; Edited by Antonia Fraser (2000). ''The House of Windsor''. London: Cassell & Co. * William Shawcross, Shawcross, William (2002). ''Queen and Country''. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. * Margaret Thatcher, Thatcher, Margaret (1993). ''The Downing Street Years''. London: HarperCollins. * Pierre Trudeau, Trudeau, Pierre Elliott (1993). ''Memoirs''. Toronto: McLelland & Stewart. * Williamson, David (1987). ''Debrett's Kings and Queens of Britain''. Webb & Bower. * Woodrow Wyatt, Wyatt, Woodrow; Edited by Sarah Curtis (1999). ''The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt: Volume II''. London: Macmillan.


External links


The Queen
at the Royal Family website *
Queen Elizabeth II's profile
on
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of emplo ...

BBC
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