|Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her other realms and territories|
|Elizabeth II in 2007|
|Reign||6 February 1952– present
( 61 years, 101 days)
|Coronation||2 June 1953|
|Full name||Elizabeth Alexandra Mary|
|Born||April 21, 1926|
|Birthplace||17 Bruton Street, London, England|
|Heir apparent||Prince Charles|
|Royal House||House of Windsor|
|Mother||Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother|
|Children||Charles, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the Queen of sixteen countries in the world: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. She is the queen of each country separately, and all sixteen are independent countries. She became Queen when her father, King George VI, died on 6 February 1952.
The countries of which she is Queen are known as Commonwealth realms. Their total population is over 129 million. Elizabeth II lives in the United Kingdom. In all the other countries where she is queen, a person has been chosen to represent her. This person is known as the Governor General.
Elizabeth II is Queen and is interested in the running of her countries, but she does not tell the governments what to do. She has regular meetings with people from her governments, but it is they who run the countries. She performs ceremonies for the governments, gives out honours, and visits and supports many charities.
Since 1947, the Queen has been married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip was born into the royal families of Greece and Denmark. Just before they were married, he became a citizen of the United Kingdom, and changed his name to Philip Mountbatten. He became the Duke of Edinburgh on the day he married, and became a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957. The Queen and Prince Philip have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Early life [change]
Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton Street, in Mayfair, London, on 21 April 1926. She was the oldest child of Prince Albert, Duke of York and Elizabeth, Duchess of York. Her father was the second son of King George V and brother to the Prince of Wales. Her mother, the Duchess of York, was the daughter of a Scottish lord, and had grown up in one of Scotland's most famous castles, Glamis Castle.
Princess Elizabeth was baptised in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace (it was destroyed during World War II) by the Archbishop of York. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her father's grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and her grandmother, Queen Mary. As a child, her family called her "Lilibet". She was very fond of her grandfather, George V, and it is said that she helped him recover from a serious illness in 1929.
Princess Elizabeth had one sister, Princess Margaret, who was born in 1930. The two young princesses were educated at home. They had a governess called Marion Crawford or "Crawfie" for short. Elizabeth was taught history by a teacher from Eton College. Both princesses learnt to speak French very well. Because the Princess would one day be the Head of the Church of England, she was taught religion by The Archbishop of Canterbury. The Queen has always been religious.
As a granddaughter of the British king, she was called "Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York". At her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the throne. This meant that if the king died, then the next in line was her uncle, the Prince of Wales and then her father, the Duke of York, and then her. But when she was born, people did not think that she would become queen. Everyone thought that, one day, her uncle would get married and have children. But that never happened.
Her grandfather, King George V, died in 1936. Her uncle became King Edward VIII, but only for a short time. He wanted to marry a woman who was divorced. Because (at that time) this was against the law for the king, he abdicated (gave up his throne). His brother, the Duke of York, became King George VI. Unless her parents produced a male child, one day Princess Elizabeth would be Queen, not as the wife to a king, but in her own right.
When Elizabeth was thirteen years old, the Second World War broke out. Because London was being bombed, the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were moved to safety to Windsor Castle in Berkshire. It was suggested that they should be sent to Canada but their mother said: "The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave [England]."
In 1940, Princess Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour. She spoke to other children who had been taken to safety.
Military career [change]
In 1945, Princess Elizabeth joined the army as a truck driver and mechanic. She enjoyed training with other young women, and decided to send her own children to school rather than have them educated at home, the way she and her sister were. After the war was won, she and her sister, Princess Margaret, went out into the London crowds after midnight to celebrate with everyone else.
After the war, in 1947, Elizabeth made her first official overseas visit. She went with her parent to South Africa. She and her father, went with Prime Minister Jan Smuts to the top of Table Mountain by cable car. On her 21st birthday, she made a broadcast to the British Commonwealth and Empire, pledging:
|“||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.||”|
Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947. The couple are distantly related to each other, through King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Prince Philip was not rich, he was Greek Orthodox and his sister had married someone who had fought on the opposing side in the war, so there were some people who were not happy about the marriage. But most people throughout the Commonwealth were full of joy. Even though people were still very poor because of the war, the royal couple received 2,500 wedding presents from all around the world. The wedding was held in Westminster Abbey. Princess Margaret was one of the nine bridesmaids.
After their wedding, the couple lived mainly at Clarence House in London. For a time, they lived in Malta, where the Duke of Edinburgh was serving in the Royal Navy. In Malta, they lived at the house of Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten of Burma.
On 14 November 1948, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Charles. The couple had four children:
- Charles, Prince of Wales (born 14 November 1948)
- Anne, Princess Royal (born 15 August 1950)
- Prince Andrew, Duke of York (born 19 February 1960)
- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (born 10 March 1964)
In 1951, the King's health became too bad to go to many public events. Princess Elizabeth began to make official visits for him. She visited Greece, Italy and Malta (where Philip was stationed) during that year. In October, she made a tour of Canada and visited President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C. In January 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. They had reached Kenya when a message arrived, telling of the death of the King, on 6 February 1952. Elizabeth and Philip were staying at "Sagana Lodge" in Kenya when she was told of her father's death and that now she was Queen. It was Prince Philip who broke the news of her father's death to Elizabeth. They returned to the United Kingdom immediately by plane.
Elizabeth II's coronation (when she was crowned queen) took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. She wore a dress made by Norman Hartnell, which was decorated with the national flowers of the countries of the Commonwealth.
Life as Queen [change]
After the Coronation, the Queen and Prince Philip moved into Buckingham Palace, in central London, the main official home of the monarch. It is believed that, like Queen Victoria, she does not like living at the Palace, and prefers Windsor Castle.
In 1953, the Queen and Prince Philip, began a six-month, around the world tour in the Royal Yacht, Britannia. She was the first reigning monarch to visit Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. Since then, Elizabeth has made many trips. In October 1957, she made an official visit to the United States, and spoke to the United Nations General Assembly. She toured Canada, and became the first monarch to open the nation's Parliament. The Queen likes visiting Canada, which she calls her "home away from home". In February 1961, she visited Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan and Nepal for the first time. Since then, the Queen has made visits to most Commonwealth countries, most European countries and to many countries outside Europe. In 1991, she became the first British monarch to speak to a joint session of the United States Congress during another visit to that country. She regularly attends the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings. She is the most widely-travelled head of state in history.
Changes to the Commonwealth [change]
When Elizabeth became Queen on 6 February 1952, she was officially Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka). These were the Commonwealth countries. There were many more countries that she also ruled, because they belonged to the British Empire. One by one, many of the countries became independent, and as they gained independence she became Queen of many of them. Altogether, she was sovereign of 32 nations. Some of the countries are now republics and have a president as "Head of State", while some of them keep the Queen as "Head of State". Queen Elizabeth II is the only monarch of more than one independent nation. The old British Empire became the Commonwealth of Nations, which includes both monarchies and republics. It is now called "The Commonwealth", and the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth. She works hard to keep peace and good communication between all the nations that are members.
Relationships with her governments and other countries [change]
Ever since she became the Queen, Elizabeth has spent about three hours every day "doing the boxes". The "boxes" are two large red boxes that are brought to her from the Parliament every day. They are full of state papers sent to her from her various departments, embassies, and government offices. One of the most famous photos taken of Elizabeth as a teenager shows her with her father, the King, learning about "the boxes". Because she has been doing this since 1952, she knows a great deal about the government of the UK.
When the Queen is in London, she meets her Prime Minister once a week, to talk about events. She also has meetings with the First Minister of Scotland and other Ministers of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and the Prime Ministers and Ministers of other countries, when she is in their country, or when they visit London.
In the late 1990s, there were "referendums" in which the people of Scotland and Wales were asked if they wanted parliaments that were separate from the parliament of the United Kingdom. This was called a "devolution policy". As a result, the new Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly of Wales, were set up. The Queen opened the first sessions of these two bodies.
Recently, some people in Australia want a republic, with an elected or appointed President as Head of State instead of the Queen. In 1999, the people of Australia were asked in a referendum whether they wanted a republic. The decision of the people was to remain a monarchy. The Queen visited Australia the following year and said that she would continue to serve Australians as she had done for 48 years.
Elizabeth II is friends with many world leaders. Her first Prime Minister of Australia, Sir Robert Menzies called her "My Dear" and recited a poem that said "I will love her till I die". She has friendships with Mary Robinson, President of Ireland (1990-1997) and George W. Bush, who was the first American President in more than 80 years to stay at Buckingham Palace. Nelson Mandela, in the BBC documentary, called her "my friend, Elizabeth".
The Queen as a person [change]
Faith and Duty [change]
Elizabeth II, as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, is the "Supreme Governor" of the Church of England and sworn protector of the Church of Scotland. She is very interested in the Church of England, but the Archbishop of Canterbury runs the church. She rarely attends the yearly meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
The Queen is deeply religious. In her Christmas Day television broadcast in 2000, she said:
|“||To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ, and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.||”|
The Queen regularly goes to church wherever she is: at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, St. Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham House, Crathie Kirk at Balmoral Castle, and Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, when she stays there in Holyroodhouse, her official home in Scotland.
The Queen often meets with leaders from other religions as well. In 1980, she became the first British Monarch to visit the Vatican, where she was welcomed by Pope John Paul II. She made another visit twenty years later on October 17, 2000. Queen Elizabeth II is Patron of "The Council of Christians and Jews" in the UK.
The Queen has shown a very strong sense of duty, ever since she was a girl. Her father, King George VI, was not meant to be king. Her uncle became king when her grandfather died. But he fell in love with an American woman who was divorced, and that wasn't allowed. So he had to give up being king very shortly after ascending. George VI didn't want to be king, because he was quite nervous and had a stammer. However, Elizabeth's grandfather said that he didn't think her uncle was very good as a king, and wanted George to reign, then Elizabeth. From the moment she realised that one day she would be Queen, she became very interested in her duties and did all she could to help her father. Her promise to serve her people all her life has always been very important to her. Some people think that now that she is old, perhaps she will retire ("abdicate") and let her son Prince Charles take over. People who know her well, including Prince Charles, have said that this will never happen.
The Queen has often shown courage, ever since she joined the military at 18. During a trip to Ghana in 1961, she was warned that it was dangerous to be near the President Kwame Nkrumah because people wanted to kill him. But she refused to stay away. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Harold Macmillan, wrote that the Queen got very impatient with people if they tried to treat her like "a film star".
In 1964, when the Queen was invited to Quebec, there were fears for her safety because there was opposition to her visit. There were suggestions that the tour should be cancelled. But the Queen's secretary said that the Queen would not want to be stopped from going to Quebec because of any danger. During the Trooping the Colour in 1981, she was shot at, but she carried on. It was later discovered that the shots were blanks. In 1982, a man called Michael Fagan broke into Buckingham Palace in the morning, and found the Queen's bedroom. He woke her up, and sat on her bed, until the guards came to take him away.
Family relations [change]
Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been supported in her duties by her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip promised to help the Queen on the day of her Coronation. The Queen was also helped by her mother Queen Elizabeth, known as "The Queen Mother", who lived to be 101 years old, and stayed very active in her old-age. The Queen is the patron of many organisations and charities. She has many invitations and official duties. Many of the duties have been shared by other members of the Royal Family, who have also become patrons of many organisations.
The Queen was sad about the broken marriages and divorces of three of her children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. Prince Charles's marriage to Lady Diana Spencer was thought to be a fairytale wedding because she was young and beautiful. But it soon became unhappy, and after their divorce, she was killed in a car accident in 1997. On 9 April 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles, whom he had loved for many years. In the year 2002, within a few months of each other, the Queen's mother and sister, Princess Margaret, both died.
As the Queen is old, people worry about her health, but she is rarely sick. However, she is leaving more duties to the younger members of the Royal Family, particularly to Prince Charles, who will become monarch on her death.
It is very hard to estimate the Queen's wealth because it is private, but she owns large properties, such as Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. She does not own Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, or the royal collection of art, which are worth millions of pounds. They are owned by the government of the United Kingdom. In 2010, Forbes magazine estimated her personal fortune at about US$450 million (£300 million).
Silver Jubilee [change]
In 1977, the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee, marking the 25th anniversary of her coming to the Throne. There was a royal procession in the golden State Coach and a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral. Millions of people watched on television. There were parties across the UK. Five commemorative stamps were printed. The Jubilee line of the London Underground, which opened in 1979, was named in honour of the anniversary.
Golden Jubilee [change]
In 2002, Elizabeth II celebrated her Golden Jubilee, marking the 50th anniversary of her coming to the Throne. She toured the Commonwealth countries. There was a pop concert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral.
Diamond Wedding Anniversary [change]
The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their sixtieth (Diamond) wedding anniversary on 19 November 2007, with a special service at Westminster Abbey. The night before, Prince Charles gave a private dinner party at Clarence House for twenty members of the Royal Family.
On the following day, 20 November, the Queen and Prince Philip went on a visit to Malta, where they had stayed from 1949 to 1951 after getting married. A Royal Navy ship which was nearby, got its sailors to line up on deck, to form a big number '60', for the couple's sixtieth wedding anniversary.
Diamond Jubilee [change]
On 3 March 2013, she was hospitalized due to an apparent stomach infection.
Titles and styles [change]
When someone is talking about the Queen, she is called "The Queen" or "Her Majesty". When someone is talking to her, she is called "Your Majesty". After the first time, the person talking to the Queen can say "Ma'am". It is pronounced "Mam". These are the titles that she has had:
- 21 April 1926 – 11 December 1936: Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York
- 11 December 1936 – 20 November 1947: Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth
- 20 November 1947 – 6 February 1952: Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
- 6 February 1952 – present: Her Majesty The Queen
The Queen has several coats of arms. In the UK, they are known as the "Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom". Every British monarch has used these arms since the reign of Queen Victoria. The coats of arms used in Scotland and Canada are different to the arms used in England and Wales.
Elizabeth II is:
- Queen of Antigua and Barbuda
- Queen of Australia
- Queen of The Bahamas
- Queen of Barbados
- Queen of Belize
- Queen of Canada
- Queen of Grenada
- Queen of Jamaica
- Queen of New Zealand
- Queen of Papua New Guinea
- Queen of Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Queen of Saint Lucia
- Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Queen of the Solomon Islands
- Queen of Tuvalu
- Queen of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|Prince Charles, Prince of Wales||14 November 1948||29 July 1981||Lady Diana Spencer||Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Harry of Wales
|28 August 1996|
|9 April 2005||Camilla Shand|
|Princess Anne, Princess Royal||15 August 1950||14 November 1973||Captain Mark Phillips||Peter Phillips
|28 April 1992|
|12 December 1992||Timothy Laurence|
|Prince Andrew, Duke of York||19 February 1960||23 July 1986||Sarah Ferguson||Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
|30 May 1996|
|Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex||10 March 1964||19 June 1999||Sophie Rhys-Jones||Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn
- Witchell, Nicholas (27 May 2006). "Queen 'Lilibet' letters unveiled". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5019736.stm. Retrieved 30 April 2007.
- Excerpt from The Queen A Biography of Elizabeth II, Pimlott, Ben
- Rose, Kenneth.; King George V; Weidenfeld and Nicolson; London, Great Britain; 1983, p389. ISBN 0-297-78245-2
- "The Real Crawfie". Channel 4. http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/R/real_lives/crawfie.html. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
- "80 Facts About The Queen". British Monarchy Official Website. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4823.asp. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
- "Queen's decision no snub: royal aides". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/02/23/charles-queen050223.html. Retrieved 23 February 2005.
- "Biography of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Activities as Queen". British Monarchy Official Website. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page1043.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-04.
- Butler, Desmond (8 May 2007). "Queen Elizabeth Wraps Up Whirlwind Tour". ABC News. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=3152873. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
- Kynaston, David (7 May 2007). Austerity Britain 1945-51. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-7475-7985-4.
- An interview with Margaret Rhodes, as part of Channel 4's The Queen's Wedding
- Princess Elizabeth (21 April 1947). "Historic speeches: 21st birthday speech". British Monarchy Official Website. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4098.asp. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
- Edwards, Phil (31 October 2000), The Real Prince Philip, Channel 4, http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/R/real_lives/prince_philip_t.html, retrieved 23 September 2009
- Petropoulos, Jonathan (2006), Royals and the Reich: the princes von Hessen in Nazi Germany, Oxford University Press, p. 363, ISBN 0195161335
- Prince of Wales's press office.
- Lacey, Robert.; Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; New York; Rose, Kenneth.; 1977, p. 150. ISBN 0-15-155684-9
- National Gallery of Australia: By Appointment: Norman Hartnell's sample for the Coronation dress of Queen Elizabeth II
- English, Rebecca (20 April 2006). "'The Queen will NEVER consider abdicating'". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=383595&in_page_id=1770. Retrieved 15 October 2006.
- "Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. http://www.crht.ca/DiscoverMonarchyFiles/QueenElizabethII.html. Retrieved 6 March 2007.
- "1964 Quebec visit – speech". CBC. http://archives.cbc.ca/500f.asp?id=1-69-70-236.
- Challands, Sarah (25 April 2006). "Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 80th birthday". CTV Television Network News. http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060418/queen_liz_birthday_060418. Retrieved 13 June 2007.
- The Real Queen.
- Information supplied by the Royal Household to a parliamentary inquiry into the workings of the monarchy in the early 1970s.
- Elizabeth II (25 December 2000). "Historic speeches: Christmas Broadcast 2000". British Monarchy Official Website. http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4656.asp. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
- On this Day, 17 October 1980
- "Presidents, Vice Presidents and Board". Council of Christians and Jews. http://www.ccj.org.uk/Presidents.html. Retrieved 9 September 2007.
- "Queen 'will do her job for life'". BBC News. 19 April 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4921120.stm. Retrieved 4 February 2007.
- "Courage of the Queen". Canadian Royal Heritage Trust. http://www.crht.ca/LibraryShelf/CourageoftheQueen.html. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- Richest Royals
- "Queen celebrates Silver Jubilee". BBC News: On This Day. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/7/newsid_2562000/2562633.stm.
- "In Depth: The Golden Jubilee". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2002/the_golden_jubilee/.
- Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, Key facts; retrieved 2012-6-3.
- Raynor, Gordon. "Diamond Jubilee: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge given key role in service at St Paul's," The Telegraph, 29 May 2012; retrieved 2012-6-3.
- "Queen hospitalized after apparent infection". WABC TV. http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/national_world&id=9013915. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
Further reading [change]
- Bond, J. (2002). Elizabeth. Reader's Digest Association. ISBN 0-7621-0369-8
- Erickson, C. (2003). Lilibet : An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II. St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-28734-8
- Pimlott, Ben (2002 - revised edition 2007) The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-007-11436-2
- Waller, Maureen (2006) Sovereign Ladies: Sex, Sacrifice, and Power. The Six Reigning Queens of England. St. Martin's Press, New York. ISBN 0-312-33801-5
Other websites [change]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Elizabeth II|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Official website
- Elizabeth II: Modern Monarch
- BBC Coverage of The Queens Golden Jubilee (2002) including AUDIO/VIDEO coverage