Queen Elizabeth II Life History
From 6 February 1952 until her passing on 8 September 2022, Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 - other Commonwealth nations) served as the monarch of the United Kingdom. During her lifetime, she held the regency over 32 sovereign states, and there were 15 at the time of her passing. [a] She ruled for 70 years and 214 days, the longest known tenure for a female head of state in history and the longest of any British monarch.
Elizabeth was the first child born to the Duke and Duchess of York in Mayfair, London (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Elizabeth was the presumed heir when her father assumed the throne in 1936 following the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. She received a private home education before serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War. She wed former Greek and Danish royal Philip Mountbatten in November 1947; their union lasted 73 years until he passed away in April 2021. Edward, Anne, Andrew, and Charles were their four children.
At the age of 25, Elizabeth succeeded her father as head of the Commonwealth and queen of seven sovereign Commonwealth nations: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the UK, the end of African colonialism, and the UK's membership in the European Communities and exit from the European Union all occurred during Elizabeth's constitutional monarchy. Her realms changed in number throughout time as other lands attained independence and some realms established republics. State visits to China in 1986, Russia in 1994, and the Republic of Ireland in 2011 are just a few of her numerous significant encounters. She has also met with five popes.
Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, and her silver, golden, diamond, and platinum jubilees were commemorated in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively. Only Louis XIV of France held the title of longest-reigning king in human history, but Elizabeth was the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Particularly following the dissolution of her children's marriages, her "annus horribilis" in 1992, and the passing of her ex-daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, she occasionally had to deal with republican sentiment and media criticism of her family. However, both her personal popularity and support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom remained continuously high. Three months after her Platinum Jubilee, in September 2022, Elizabeth passed away at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, at the age of 96. Her eldest son Charles III succeeded her.
The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II
On April 21, 1926, at 02:40 (GMT), Elizabeth was born. At the time, her paternal grandfather King George V was in power. The second son of the King was her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI). The youngest child of Scottish aristocracy Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, was her mother, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (after known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother). Princess Elizabeth was born via Caesarean section at her grandfather Lord Strathmore's London residence at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair.
In the private chapel of Buckingham Palace, she was baptized on May 29 by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang. She was given the names Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after her paternal great-grandmother, who had passed away six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother. She was loved by her grandfather, George V, whom she adored and affectionately called "Grandpa England," and her regular visits during his serious illness in 1929 were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with lifting his spirits and assisting his recovery. She was known as "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she initially called herself.
Princess Margaret, Elizabeth's only sibling, was born in 1930. The two princesses received their education at home under the guidance of their mother and Marion Crawford, their governess. History, language, literature, and music were the main subjects of the lessons. To the royal family's dismay, Crawford released The Little Princesses, a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's early years. The book discusses Elizabeth's organizational skills and sense of duty, as well as her love of horses and dogs. Others concurred with these observations: When Elizabeth was two, Winston Churchill said that she was "a persona. She exudes a sense of maturity and reflection that is uncharacteristic of a baby." She was a "jolly little child, but basically smart and well-behaved," according to her cousin Margaret Rhodes.
Elizabeth II, Presumptive Heir
Elizabeth was third in line for the British throne during her grandfather's reign, after her father and her uncle Edward. Even though her birth sparked curiosity in the public, it was not anticipated that she would become queen because Edward was still a child and was most likely to be married and have his own children, who would succeed Elizabeth in the line of succession. She passed her father in line for the throne after her grandfather's death in 1936, when her uncle became Edward VIII. After his anticipated union with divorced socialite Wallis Simpson sparked a constitutional crisis later that year, Edward abdicated.
As a result, George VI, Elizabeth's father, ascended to the throne. Elizabeth became the presumed successor because she didn't have any brothers. She would have been below him in the line of succession, which was established at the time by male-preference primogeniture if her parents had later given birth to a son. Elizabeth studied constitutional history privately with Vice-Provost Henry Marten of Eton College, and she also took French lessons from a string of native-speaking governesses. In order for her to interact with girls her own age, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company of the Girl Guides was established. She afterward joined the Sea Rangers.
Elizabeth's parents made a trip to North America in 1939. Elizabeth stayed in Britain, much as they had done in 1927 after seeing Australia and New Zealand, as her father believed she was too young to go on public tours. As her parents left, she "looked distraught." She and her parents made the first royal transatlantic phone call on May 18 after they frequently communicated.
World War II
The United Kingdom joined the Second World War in September 1939. Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should be relocated to Canada, according to Lord Hailsham, in order to prevent the Luftwaffe from frequently bombing London from the air. Their mother said that she didn't agree with this and "The kids won't travel without me. Without the King, I won't be leaving. The King won't ever leave, either." Up until Christmas 1939, the princesses resided at Scotland's Balmoral Castle before relocating to Norfolk's Sandringham House. They stayed in Royal Lodge in Windsor from February to May of 1940 before relocating to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the following five years. The princesses performed pantomimes at Windsor during the holiday season to raise money for the Queen's Wool Fund, which purchased yarn for making military clothing.
Elizabeth, at 14 years old, addressed other kids who had been evacuated from the cities in her first radio transmission, which she made in 1940 as part of the BBC's Children's Hour. She remarked: "In addition to trying to shoulder our fair part of the peril and sorrow of war, we are doing everything in our power to support our brave sailors, soldiers, and airmen. Every single one of us is aware that everything will work out in the end."
Elizabeth made her first solo public appearance in 1943 while visiting the Grenadier Guards, where she had been made Colonel the year before. In order for her to serve as one of the five Counsellors of State in the event of her father's disability or absence abroad, such as during his trip to Italy in July 1944, parliament altered the statute as she got closer to turning 18 years old. She was given the service number 230873 and appointed an honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in February 1945. Five months after completing her training and employment as a technician and driver, she was promoted to honorary junior commander, the female equivalent of captain at the time.
On Victory in Europe Day, which marked the conclusion of the European War, Elizabeth and Margaret mingled covertly with the revelers in the streets of London. "We asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were afraid of being recognized. I remember lines of unknown people locking arms and strolling down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a flood of ecstasy and relief," Elizabeth later recalled in a rare interview.
Plans were made during the war to ally Elizabeth more closely with Wales in order to stifle Welsh nationalism. For a variety of reasons, including concern that Elizabeth might be associated with conscientious objectors in the Urdd at a time when Britain was at war, proposals to make her the Constable of Caernarfon Castle or a patron of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (the Welsh League of Youth) were dropped.  She should become Princess of Wales when she turns 18 years old, according to Welsh MPs. The King disagreed, believing that such a title belonged only to the wife of a Prince of Wales, who had always been the heir apparent. The notion was supported by Home Secretary Herbert Morrison.
At the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1946, she was admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards. In 1947, Princess Elizabeth traveled to her first foreign country with her parents, seeing southern Africa. "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be committed to your service and the service of our great imperial family, to which we all belong," she said in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on the occasion of her 21st birthday during the visit. Dermot Morrah, a journalist for The Times, wrote the speech.
Queen Elizabeth II Marriage
Elizabeth first met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1934, and they reconnected in 1937. They were third cousins through Queen Victoria and second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark. Elizabeth, who was only 13 at the time, claimed she fell in love with Philip after their third encounter at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939. They then started writing to one another. When their engagement was formally announced on July 9, 1947, she was 21 years old.
There was substantial debate surrounding the engagement. Although a British person who fought in the Royal Navy throughout the Second World War, Philip was foreign-born, had no money, and had sisters who had wed Nazi-affiliated German noblemen. Writing to Marion Crawford, "A few of the King's advisers didn't believe he was suitable for her. A prince without a castle or realm, he was. On the thread of Philip's foreign ancestry, some of the papers played protracted and loud tunes." Later biographies said that Elizabeth's mother first expressed doubts about the union and called Philip "the Hun." But she later revealed to Tim Heald, the biographer, that Philip was "an English gentleman."
Prior to getting married, Philip abandoned his Greek and Danish titles, declared his conversion to Anglicanism, took the name Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, which came from his mother's British ancestry, and assumed the style, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. He received the titles of His Royal Highness and Duke of Edinburgh just before the wedding. At Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth and Philip exchanged vows on November 20, 1947. 2,500 wedding presents came to them from all across the world. Because Britain had not yet fully recovered from the effects of the war, Elizabeth needed ration coupons to purchase the fabric for her Norman Hartnell-designed gown.
It was improper for Philip's German relatives, including his three surviving sisters, to be invited to the wedding in post-war Britain. The previous King Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, was not invited to either event. On November 14, 1948, Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles, her first child. The King had granted letters patent to her children a month earlier, allowing them to adopt the title and style of a royal prince or princess, to which they would not have otherwise been entitled since their father was no longer a royal prince. Princess Anne was born on August 15, 1950, as the second child.
After getting hitched, the couple rented Windlesham Moor, a property close to Windsor Castle, until July 1949, when they moved into Clarence House in London. The Duke of Edinburgh served in the Royal Navy and was stationed in the British Crown Colony of Malta at various points between 1949 and 1951. He and Elizabeth spent sporadic periods of time in Malta, residing in the hamlet of Gwardamana at Villa Guardamangia, a rental property owned by Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten. Their two kids stayed in the UK.
Queen Elizabeth II Reign Years
As George VI's health deteriorated in 1951, Elizabeth frequently filled in for him at official functions. Her private secretary, Martin Charteris, brought a draft accession declaration with her when she toured Canada and met with President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C., in October 1951. Elizabeth and Philip left the British territory of Kenya in the early spring of 1952 to go to Australia and New Zealand. They had barely gotten back to Sagana Lodge in Kenya on February 6, 1952, after spending the previous night at Treetops Hotel, when word of George VI's passing and Elizabeth's subsequent ascension to the throne with immediate effect reached them.
The new queen received the news from Philip. Since she was the first Elizabeth to rule Scotland, many Scots were angered by her use of the name Elizabeth II as her regnal name. She was crowned queen over all of her realms, and the royal party hurried back to the UK. Philip and Elizabeth settled into Buckingham Palace.
Following the tradition of a wife assuming her husband's surname upon marriage, it was likely with Elizabeth's accession that the royal house would bear the Duke of Edinburgh's name. The House of Mountbatten moniker was promoted by Lord Mountbatten. After his ducal title, Philip proposed the House of Edinburgh. Elizabeth said on April 9, 1952, that the name of the royal family will remain Windsor since Queen Mary, Elizabeth's grandmother and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill supported keeping the name of the House of Windsor. "I am the only man in the country who isn't allowed to give his name to his own children," Philip griped. For Philip and Elizabeth's male line offspring who do not have royal blood, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted in 1960.
Princess Margaret told her sister she wanted to wed Peter Townsend, a divorcee 16 years Margaret's senior with two boys from his first marriage, as they were making preparations for the coronation. According to her private secretary, "the Queen was instinctively sympathetic toward the Princess, but I suppose she thought—she hoped—given time, the affair would fade out." This is why Elizabeth asked them to wait for a year. Senior politicians opposed the union, and the Church of England forbade remarriage following divorce. Margaret would have been expected to give up her right to succeed if she had entered into a civil union. Margaret made the decision to break up with Townsend's ambitions.
Queen Mary passed away on 24 March 1953, but the coronation took place as scheduled on 2 June, as Mary had ordered before she passed away. With the exception of the anointing and communion, the coronation service at Westminster Abbey was broadcast on television for the first time. Elizabeth requested that the floral symbols of the Commonwealth nations be stitched on her coronation gown.
Longevity and The Diamond Jubilee
Celebrations were organized across Elizabeth's territories, the wider Commonwealth, and abroad to honor her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which marked 60 years as monarch. While her children and grandchildren undertook royal tours of other Commonwealth nations on her behalf, she and her husband completed a lengthy trip to the United Kingdom. Jubilee beacons were lit on June 4th all throughout the world. Elizabeth made an unexpected visit to a wedding party in Manchester Town Hall while on a Jubilee tour of the city, which attracted media attention throughout the world. Elizabeth and her husband celebrated their anniversary with a blue sapphire in November (65th). She was the first British monarch since George III in 1781 to attend a Cabinet meeting on December 18.
Elizabeth became the first head of state to inaugurate two Olympic Games in two different nations when she opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London. She co-starred with Daniel Craig as James Bond in a short film for the London Olympics that was shown at the opening ceremony. She was said to as "the most unforgettable Bond girl yet" at the award ceremony on April 4, 2013, when she won an honorary BAFTA for her support of the film industry.
Elizabeth spent the night at King Edward VII's Hospital on March 3, 2013, as a precaution after experiencing gastroenteritis symptoms. She signed the Commonwealth's new Charter a week later. For the first time in 40 years, she decided not to attend the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2013 due to her advanced age and the need for her to limit her travel. Prince Charles represented her at the meeting in Sri Lanka. She declared that it was her "sincere wish" that Charles would succeed her as Head of the Commonwealth in the announcement made by the Commonwealth heads of state on April 20, 2018.
In May 2018, she had cataract surgery. She stopped operating a vehicle on public roads in March 2019, primarily as a result of a car accident involving her spouse two months prior. On December 21, 2007, Elizabeth passed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-living British monarch. On September 9, 2015, Elizabeth surpassed Victoria to become the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in history.
As of January 23, 2015, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia passed away, she was the country's senior monarch. As a result of the passing of King Bhumibol of Thailand on October 13, 2016, and the resignation of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on November 21, 2017, she later held the titles of the longest-reigning monarch and longest-serving head of state. She celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee on February 6, 2017, and her Platinum Wedding Anniversary on November 20, making her the first British queen to do so. In August 2017, Philip formally ended his role as the Queen's consort.
Queen Elizabeth II Death Day
Following concerns from doctors, Buckingham Palace declared on September 8, 2022, that Queen Elizabeth was receiving medical attention at Balmoral Castle. The declaration added, "The Queen's doctors have expressed worry about her health following additional testing this morning and advised that she continue to be under close observation. The Queen stays put in Balmoral in comfort." To Balmoral went Elizabeth's four children, her daughters-in-law, and her two grandchildren, Prince William and Prince Harry. That evening at 18:30 BST, her passing was officially announced, launching Operation London Bridge and Operation Unicorn because she passed away in Scotland.
Queen Elizabeth II Finances
Elizabeth's personal fortune was the focus of long-running rumors. Her wealth was estimated to be $2 million in 1971 by Jock Colville, her former personal secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts (equal to over £30 million in 2021). The Royal Palace referred to predictions of £100 million as "grossly inflated" in 1993. She inherited her mother's fortune in 2002, which is thought to be worth £70 million. Her personal wealth was valued at £350 million by The Sunday Times Rich List 2020, making her the 372nd richest person in the UK. She topped the list when it first appeared in the Sunday Times Rich List in 1989, according to reports of her riches, which included state assets that weren't actually hers and totaled £5.2 billion (about $13.8 billion in today's worth).
Elizabeth was said to hold her official residences, including Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, as well as the Duchy of Lancaster, a property portfolio worth £472 million in 2015, in trust for her successors and the country. She did not personally own the Royal Collection, which is made up of thousands of historical works of art as well as the Crown Jewels. The Duchy of Lancaster owned investments in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, two British tax havens, according to the Paradise Papers, which were published in 2017. Elizabeth directly owned Sandringham House in Norfolk and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire. She would be unable to sell or acquire personal ownership of The Crown Estate, which had holdings worth £14.3 billion in 2019. The Crown Estate is held in trust.
It’s no secret that Queen Elizabeth II has been ruling for 65 years. She has been able to keep her empire together and inspire generations of women through her hard work and determination. Glad you enjoyed reading about the queen’s life. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.