Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Overview
Elizabeth II is the constitutional
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

, the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

, Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, namely in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean....

, Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

, and Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis , located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population....

. As Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

, she is the figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

; as the British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

.

Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father ascended the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication
Edward VIII abdication crisis
In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire was caused by King-Emperor Edward VIII's proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite....

 of his brother Edward VIII. Elizabeth began to undertake public duties during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service
Auxiliary Territorial Service
The Auxiliary Territorial Service was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War...

.
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Timeline

1945   In the United Kingdom, Princess Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth II, joins the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as a driver.

1947   The Princess Elizabeth marries Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey in London.

1952   Elizabeth II becomes Queen upon the death of her father George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.

1952   Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the UK.

1953   Queen Elizabeth II launches the Royal Yacht {{Ship|HMY|Britannia}}.

1953   Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

1956   The first commercial nuclear power station is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield,in Cumbria, England.

1957   Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first Canadian Monarch to open up an annual session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa, Canada.

1958   Queen Elizabeth II officially opens London Gatwick Airport, (LGW) in Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom.

1958   Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) is inaugurated in the UK by Queen Elizabeth II when she speaks to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

 
Quotations

We are a moderate, pragmatic people, more comfortable with practice than theory.

Speech in reply to Addresses from both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall in the year of Her Golden Jubilee (30 April 2002)

Football's a difficult business and aren't they prima donnas?

The Queen gives her opinion to Premier League chairman Sir David Richards|Sir David Richards, as quoted in BBC News (2 January 2007)]
Encyclopedia
Elizabeth II is the constitutional
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

 of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

, Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

, Barbados
Barbados
Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles. It is in length and as much as in width, amounting to . It is situated in the western area of the North Atlantic and 100 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and the Caribbean Sea; therein, it is about east of the islands of Saint...

, the Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

, Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

, the Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

, Tuvalu
Tuvalu
Tuvalu , formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is a Polynesian island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, midway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbours are Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa and Fiji. It comprises four reef islands and five true atolls...

, Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is an island country in the eastern Caribbean Sea on the boundary with the Atlantic Ocean. Part of the Lesser Antilles, it is located north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent, northwest of Barbados and south of Martinique. It covers a land area of 620 km2 and has an...

, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, namely in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean....

, Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

, and Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis , located in the Leeward Islands, is a federal two-island nation in the West Indies. It is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population....

. As Head of the Commonwealth
Head of the Commonwealth
The Head of the Commonwealth heads the Commonwealth of Nations, an intergovernmental organisation which currently comprises 54 sovereign states. The position is currently occupied by the individual who serves as monarch of each of the Commonwealth realms, but has no day-to-day involvement in the...

, she is the figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

; as the British monarch
Monarchy of the United Kingdom
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

.

Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father ascended the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication
Edward VIII abdication crisis
In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire was caused by King-Emperor Edward VIII's proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite....

 of his brother Edward VIII. Elizabeth began to undertake public duties during the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service
Auxiliary Territorial Service
The Auxiliary Territorial Service was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War...

. When her father died in 1952, Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa
Union of South Africa
The Union of South Africa is the historic predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and the Orange Free State...

, Pakistan
Dominion of Pakistan
The Dominion of Pakistan was an independent federal Commonwealth realm in South Asia that was established in 1947 on the partition of British India into two sovereign dominions . The Dominion of Pakistan, which included modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was intended to be a homeland for the...

, and Ceylon
Dominion of Ceylon
The Dominion of Ceylon, known today as Sri Lanka, was a dominion, in the British Empire between 1948 and 1972. In 1948, British Ceylon was granted independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. In 1972, the Dominion of Ceylon became a republic within the Commonwealth, and its name was changed to Sri Lanka...

. Her coronation service
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the ceremony in which the newly ascended monarch, Elizabeth II, was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, and Pakistan, as well as taking on the role of Head of the Commonwealth...

 in 1953 was the first to be televised.

During her reign of over years, currently the second-longest for a British monarch, she became queen of 25 other Commonwealth countries as they gained independence. Between 1956 and 1992, half of her realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

), became republics. Her Silver
Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II marked the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth realms...

 and Golden Jubilees
Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was the international celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries, upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952, and was intended by the Queen to be both a commemoration of her 50...

 were celebrated in 1977 and 2002; planning for her Diamond Jubilee
Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is the forthcoming international celebration in 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries, upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952...

 in 2012 is underway.

In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

, with whom she has four children: Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

, Anne
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, and Edward
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

. In 1992, which Elizabeth termed her annus horribilis
Annus horribilis
Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase meaning "horrible year", or alternatively, "year of horrors". It alludes to annus mirabilis meaning "year of wonders".-Elizabeth II:...

("horrible year"), Charles and Andrew separated from their wives, Anne divorced, and a severe fire destroyed part of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

. Revelations continued on the state of Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

, and they divorced in 1996. The following year, Diana died in a Paris car crash
Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed's...

, and the media criticised the royal family for remaining in seclusion in the days before her funeral
Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales started on September 6, 1997 at 9:08 am in London, when the tenor bell sounded to signal the departure of the cortege from Kensington Palace. The coffin was carried from the palace on a gun carriage, along Hyde Park to St. James' Palace, where...

. Elizabeth's personal popularity rebounded after she appeared in public and has since remained high.

Early life



Elizabeth was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), and his wife, Elizabeth. Her father was the second son of King George V
George V
George V was king of the United Kingdom and its dominions from 1910 to 1936.George V or similar terms may also refer to:-People:* George V of Georgia * George V of Imereti * George V of Hanover...

 and Queen Mary
Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, as the wife of King-Emperor George V....

, and her mother was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
Claude George Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, KG, KT, GCVO, TD, was a landowner and the maternal grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II....

. She was born by Caesarean section
Caesarean section
A Caesarean section, is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother's abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies, or, rarely, to remove a dead fetus...

 at 2.40 am (GMT) on 21 April 1926 at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair
Mayfair
Mayfair is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster.-History:Mayfair is named after the annual fortnight-long May Fair that took place on the site that is Shepherd Market today...

. The Anglican
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 Archbishop of York
Archbishop of York
The Archbishop of York is a high-ranking cleric in the Church of England, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of York and metropolitan of the Province of York, which covers the northern portion of England as well as the Isle of Man...

, Cosmo Lang
Cosmo Lang
William Cosmo Gordon Lang, 1st Baron Lang of Lambeth GCVO PC was an Anglican prelate who served as Archbishop of York and Archbishop of Canterbury . His rapid elevation to Archbishop of York, within 18 years of his ordination, is unprecedented in modern Church of England history...

, baptised
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

 her in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 on 29 May. She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother
Alexandra of Denmark
Alexandra of Denmark was the wife of Edward VII of the United Kingdom...

, who had died six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother. Her close family called her "Lilibet". George V cherished his granddaughter, 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 was Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon was the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II and the younger daughter of King George VI....

, born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess
Governess
A governess is a girl or woman employed to teach and train children in a private household. In contrast to a nanny or a babysitter, she concentrates on teaching children, not on meeting their physical needs...

, Marion Crawford
Marion Crawford
Marion Crawford, CVO was a Scottish nanny. She was an employee of the British Royal Family, the nanny of the children of King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret who gave her the nickname "Crawfie"...

, who was casually known as "Crawfie". Lessons concentrated on history, language, literature and music. To the dismay of the royal family, Crawford later published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses. The book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, and her attitude of responsibility. Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 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
Margaret Rhodes, LVO , is a first cousin of Elizabeth II.She was born The Hon. Margaret Elphinstone in London, the youngest daughter of the 16th Lord Elphinstone and his wife Mary . Margaret was a bridesmaid to her cousin Elizabeth on 20 November 1947...

 described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".

Heiress presumptive



As a granddaughter of the monarch in the male line, Elizabeth's full style at birth was Her Royal Highness
Royal Highness
Royal Highness is a style ; plural Royal Highnesses...

 Princess
British princess
This is a list of British princesses from the accession of King George I in 1714. This article deals with both princesses of the blood royal and women who become princesses upon marriage....

 Elizabeth of York
. She was third in the line of succession to the throne
Line of succession to the British Throne
The line of succession to the British throne is the ordered sequence of those people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other 15 Commonwealth realms. By the terms of the Act of Settlement 1701, the succession is limited to the descendants of the Electress Sophia of...

, behind her uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as the Prince of Wales was still young, and many assumed he would marry and have children of his own. In 1936, when her grandfather, the King, died and her uncle Edward succeeded, she became second in line to the throne after her father. Later that year, Edward abdicated
Edward VIII abdication crisis
In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire was caused by King-Emperor Edward VIII's proposal to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite....

 after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis. Elizabeth's father became king, and she became heiress presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

, with the style Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth.

Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten
Henry Marten (educator)
Sir Henry Kennett Marten KCVO was the Provost of Eton and the private tutor of Queen Elizabeth II....

, Vice-Provost of Eton College
Eton College
Eton College, often referred to simply as Eton, is a British independent school for boys aged 13 to 18. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as "The King's College of Our Lady of Eton besides Wyndsor"....

, and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses. A Girl Guides
Girl Guides
A Guide, Girl Guide or Girl Scout is a member of a section of some Guiding organisations who is between the ages of 10 and 14. Age limits are different in each organisation. It is the female-centred equivalent of the Scouts. The term Girl Scout is used in the United States and several East Asian...

 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
Ranger (Girl Guide)
A Ranger or Ranger Guide is a member of a section of some Guiding organisations who is between the ages of 14 and 25. Exact age limits are slightly different in each organisation. It is the female-centred equivalent of the Rover Scouts-Early history:...

.

In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured Canada
1939 royal tour of Canada
The 1939 royal tour of Canada was a cross-Canada royal tour by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. It was the first visit of a reigning monarch to Canada. It began May 17, 1939 and saw the royal couple visit every Canadian province as well as the United States and the Dominion of Newfoundland...

 and visited the United States. As in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain as the King thought her too young to undertake public tours. Elizabeth "looked tearful" as her parents departed. They corresponded regularly, and on 18 May, she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call.

Second World War


From September 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret, stayed at Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located near the village of Crathie, west of Ballater and east of Braemar. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria and her...

, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they moved to Sandringham House
Sandringham House
Sandringham House is a country house on of land near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. The house is privately owned by the British Royal Family and is located on the royal Sandringham Estate, which lies within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.-History and current...

, Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

. From February to May 1940, they lived at Royal Lodge
Royal Lodge
The Royal Lodge is a house in the civil parish of Old Windsor, located in Windsor Great Park, 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 there in 2002. Since 2004 it has been the...

, Windsor, until moving to Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, where they stayed for most of the next five years. The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham
Douglas Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham
Douglas McGarel Hogg, 1st Viscount Hailsham PC was a British lawyer and Conservative politician.-Background:...

 that the two princesses should be evacuated
Evacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II
Evacuation of civilians in Britain during the Second World War was designed to save the population of urban or military areas in the United Kingdom from aerial bombing of cities and military targets such as docks. Civilians, particularly children, were moved to areas thought to be less at risk....

 to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth's mother; she declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave." At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomime
Pantomime
Pantomime — not to be confused with a mime artist, a theatrical performer of mime—is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is mostly performed during the...

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
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's Children's Hour
Children's Hour
Children's Hour—at first: "The Children's Hour", from a verse by Longfellow—was the name of the BBC's principal recreational service for children during the period when radio dominated broadcasting....

, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities. She stated:
In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards
Grenadier Guards
The Grenadier Guards is an infantry regiment of the British Army. It is the most senior regiment of the Guards Division and, as such, is the most senior regiment of infantry. It is not, however, the most senior regiment of the Army, this position being attributed to the Life Guards...

, of which she had been appointed Colonel-in-Chief
Colonel-in-Chief
In the various Commonwealth armies, the Colonel-in-Chief of a regiment is its patron. This position is distinct from that of Colonel of the Regiment. They do not have an operational role. They are however kept informed of all important activities of the regiment, and pay occasional visits to its...

 the previous year. As she approached her 18th birthday, the law was changed so that she could act as one of five Counsellors of State
Counsellor of State
In the United Kingdom, Counsellors of State are senior members of the British royal family to whom the Monarch, currently Elizabeth II, delegates certain state functions and powers when she is in another Commonwealth realm, abroad or unavailable for other reasons...

 in the event of her father's incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944. In February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an honorary Second Subaltern
Subaltern (rank)
A subaltern is a chiefly British military term for a junior officer. Literally meaning "subordinate," subaltern is used to describe commissioned officers below the rank of captain and generally comprises the various grades of lieutenant. In the British Army the senior subaltern rank was...

 with the service number
Service number
A service number is an identification code used to identify a person within a large group. Service numbers are most often associated with the military; however, they may be used in civilian term as well...

 of 230873. She trained as a driver and mechanic, and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months later.

During the war, plans were drawn up to quell Welsh nationalism
Welsh nationalism
Welsh nationalism emphasises the distinctiveness of Welsh language, culture, and history, and calls for more self-determination for Wales, which may include more Devolved powers for the Welsh Assembly or full independence from the United Kingdom.-Conquest:...

 by affiliating Elizabeth more closely with Wales. Welsh politicians proposed that Elizabeth be made Princess of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 on her 18th birthday. The idea was supported by Home Secretary
Home Secretary
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, commonly known as the Home Secretary, is the minister in charge of the Home Office of the United Kingdom, and one of the country's four Great Offices of State...

 Herbert Morrison
Herbert Morrison
Herbert Stanley Morrison, Baron Morrison of Lambeth, CH, PC was a British Labour politician; he held a various number of senior positions in the Cabinet, including Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister.-Early life:Morrison was the son of a police constable and was born in...

, but rejected by the King because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent
Heir apparent
An heir apparent or heiress apparent is a person who is first in line of succession and cannot be displaced from inheriting, except by a change in the rules of succession....

 (usually the sovereign's eldest surviving son). Elizabeth was only heir presumptive
Heir Presumptive
An heir presumptive or heiress presumptive is the person provisionally scheduled to inherit a throne, peerage, or other hereditary honour, but whose position can be displaced by the birth of an heir or heiress apparent or of a new heir presumptive with a better claim to the position in question...

 and could be supplanted in the line of succession if the sovereign had a son. In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd
Gorsedd
A gorsedd plural gorseddau, is a community or coming together of modern-day bards. The word is of Welsh origin, meaning "throne". It is occasionally spelled gorsedh , or goursez in Brittany....

 of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales
National Eisteddfod of Wales
The National Eisteddfod of Wales is the most important of several eisteddfodau that are held annually, mostly in Wales.- Organisation :...

.

At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day
Victory in Europe Day commemorates 8 May 1945 , the date when the World War II Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. The formal surrender of the occupying German forces in the Channel Islands was not...

, Elizabeth and her sister mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. She later said in a rare interview, "we asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recognised ... I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall
Whitehall
Whitehall is a road in Westminster, in London, England. It is the main artery running north from Parliament Square, towards Charing Cross at the southern end of Trafalgar Square...

, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief." Two years later, the princess made her first overseas tour, when she accompanied her parents to Southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 on her 21st birthday, she pledged: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Marriage



Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

, in 1934 and 1937. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth
Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, and...

 in July 1939, Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters. They married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. They are second cousins once removed
Cousin
In kinship terminology, a cousin is a relative with whom one shares one or more common ancestors. The term is rarely used when referring to a relative in one's immediate family where there is a more specific term . The term "blood relative" can be used synonymously and establishes the existence of...

 through King Christian IX of Denmark
Christian IX of Denmark
Christian IX was King of Denmark from 16 November 1863 to 29 January 1906.Growing up as a prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg which had ruled Denmark since 1448, Christian was originally not in the immediate line of succession to the Danish...

 and third cousins through Queen Victoria. Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy
Greek Orthodox Church
The Greek Orthodox Church is the body of several churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity sharing a common cultural tradition whose liturgy is also traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament...

 to Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname of his mother's British family
Mountbatten
Mountbatten is the family name originally adopted by a branch of the Battenberg family due to rising anti-German sentiment among the British public during World War I...

. Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh
Duke of Edinburgh
The Duke of Edinburgh is a British royal title, named after the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, which has been conferred upon members of the British royal family only four times times since its creation in 1726...

 and granted the style of His Royal Highness.

The marriage was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born (though a British subject), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi
National Socialist German Workers Party
The National Socialist German Workers' Party , commonly known in English as the Nazi Party, was a political party in Germany between 1920 and 1945. Its predecessor, the German Workers' Party , existed from 1919 to 1920...

 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." Elizabeth's mother was reported, in later biographies, to have opposed the union initially, even dubbing Philip "The Hun". In later life, however, she told biographer Tim Heald
Tim Heald
Tim Heald is a British author, biographer, journalist and public speaker.Heald was born in Dorchester, Dorset, England, and educated at Sherborne School, Dorset and Balliol College, Oxford, receiving an MA in Modern History....

 that Philip was "an English gentleman".

Elizabeth and Philip received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world, but Britain had not yet completely rebounded from the devastation of the war. She still required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown
Wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth
The wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth was worn by the future Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding to Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947 in Westminster Abbey. Given the rationing of clothing at the time, she still had to purchase the material using ration coupons. The dress was...

, designed by Norman Hartnell
Norman Hartnell
Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell, KCVO was a British fashion designer. Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM The Queen 1940, subsequently Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother...

. In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip's three surviving sisters. Other notable absentees were Edward
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

, the former king, who was not invited, and his sister, Mary, Princess Royal
Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood
The Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood was a member of the British Royal Family; she was the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. She was the sixth holder of the title of Princess Royal...

, who said she was ill. Ronald Storrs
Ronald Storrs
Sir Ronald Henry Amherst Storrs, KCMG, CBE was an official in the British Foreign and Colonial Office. He served as Oriental Secretary in Cairo, Military Governor of Jerusalem, Governor of Cyprus, and Governor of Northern Rhodesia.-Biography:The eldest son of John Storrs, the Dean of Rochester...

 claimed that she did not attend in protest at her brother's exclusion.

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

, on 14 November 1948, less than one month after letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 were issued by her father allowing her children to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess. They otherwise would not have been entitled to such a status as their father was no longer a royal prince. A second child, Princess Anne
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, was born in 1950.

Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor
Windlesham Moor
Windlesham Moor is a country house and former royal residence at Sunningdale, Ascot, Surrey, England.- History :It was bought in 1942 for £40,000 by Philip Hill, from whom Sunninghill Park was later bought. He renovated the house in 1944. It was rented furnished from his widow, Mrs...

 near Windsor Castle, until 4 July 1949, when they took up residence at Clarence House
Clarence House
Clarence House is a royal home in London, situated on The Mall, in the City of Westminster. It is attached to St. James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. For nearly 50 years, from 1953 to 2002, it was home to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, but is since then the official residence of The...

 in London. At various times between 1949 and 1951, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in the British Protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

 of Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 as a serving Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 officer. He and Elizabeth lived intermittently, for several months at a time, in the Maltese hamlet of Gwardamanġia
Gwardamangia
Gwardamanġa , is a hamlet in Tal-Pietà, Malta. In Gwardamanġa, one finds St. Luke's Hospital, Malta's former general public hospital....

, at the Villa Gwardamanġia, the rented home of Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

. The children remained in Britain.

Succession


George VI's health declined during 1951, and Elizabeth was soon frequently standing in for him at public events. In October of that year, she toured Canada, and visited President of the United States Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 in Washington, D.C.; on the trip, her private secretary, Martin Charteris
Martin Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield
Martin Michael Charles Charteris, Baron Charteris of Amisfield, GCB, GCVO, OBE, QSO, PC was a courtier of Queen Elizabeth II....

, carried a draft accession declaration for use if 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
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

. On 6 February 1952, they had just returned to their Kenyan home, Sagana Lodge
Sagana Lodge
Sagana Lodge was a royal residence in Kiganjo, in the foothills of Mount Kenya, Kenya. It was a leased wedding present in 1947 to the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh from the colony whilst they were in Kenya. It was built 1949-1950...

, after a night spent at Treetops Hotel
Treetops Hotel
Treetops Hotel is a hotel in Aberdare National Park in Kenya near the township of Nyeri, 1,966 m above sea level on the Aberdare Range and in sight of Mount Kenya...

, when word arrived of the death of Elizabeth's father. Philip broke the news to the new queen. Martin Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name
Regnal name
A regnal name, or reign name, is a formal name used by some monarchs and popes during their reigns. Since medieval times, monarchs have frequently chosen to use a name different from their own personal name when they inherit a throne....

; she chose to remain Elizabeth, "of course". She was proclaimed queen regnant
Proclamation of accession of Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II was proclaimed sovereign of each of the Commonwealth realms on 6 and 7 February 1952, after the death of her father, King George VI, in the night between 5 February and 6 February, and while the Princess was in Kenya....

 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
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

.
With Elizabeth's accession it seemed likely that the royal house
Royal House
A royal house or royal dynasty consists of at least one, but usually more monarchs who are related to one another, as well as their non-reigning descendants and spouses. Monarchs of the same realm who are not related to one another are usually deemed to belong to different houses, and each house is...

 would bear her husband's name. Lord Mountbatten thought it would be the House of Mountbatten, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip's last name on marriage; however, Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary
Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, as the wife of King-Emperor George V....

 and British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 favoured the retention of the House of Windsor
House of Windsor
The House of Windsor is the royal house of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of his family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom...

, and so Windsor it remained. 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 and the resignation of Churchill, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor
Mountbatten-Windsor
Mountbatten-Windsor is the personal surname of some of the descendants of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh under an ambiguously-worded Order in Council issued in 1960, and as such a cadet branch of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg , which in turn is a branch of...

was adopted for Philip and Elizabeth's male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.

Amid preparations for the coronation
Coronation of the British monarch
The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

, Princess Margaret informed her sister that she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorced commoner 16 years older than Margaret with two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them to wait for a year; in the words of Martin Charteris, "the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought – she hoped – given time, the affair would peter out." Senior politicians were against the match, and the Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

 did not permit re-marriage after divorce. If Margaret contracted a civil marriage, she would have to renounce her right of succession. Eventually, she decided to abandon her plans with Townsend. In 1960, she married Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon
Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon
Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, GCVO, RDI is an English photographer and film maker. He was married to Princess Margaret, younger daughter of King George VI and younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II....

. They were divorced in 1978. She did not remarry.

Despite the death of Queen Mary on 24 March 1953, the coronation
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the ceremony in which the newly ascended monarch, Elizabeth II, was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ceylon, and Pakistan, as well as taking on the role of Head of the Commonwealth...

 went ahead on 2 June 1953. Before she died, Mary had asked that the coronation not be delayed. The ceremony in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, except the anointing
Anointing
To anoint is to pour or smear with perfumed oil, milk, water, melted butter or other substances, a process employed ritually by many religions. People and things are anointed to symbolize the introduction of a sacramental or divine influence, a holy emanation, spirit, power or God...

 and communion
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, was televised for the first time, and the coverage was instrumental in boosting the medium's popularity; the number of television licences in the United Kingdom
Television licensing in the United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom and the Crown Dependencies, any household watching or recording live television transmissions is required to purchase a television licence every year. As of 2010, this costs £145.50 for colour and £49.00 for black and white. The licence is required to receive any live...

 doubled to 3 million, and many of the more than 20 million British viewers watched television for the first time in the homes of their friends or neighbours. In North America, just under 100 million viewers watched recorded broadcasts. Elizabeth's coronation gown
Coronation gown of Elizabeth II
The Coronation gown of Elizabeth II was worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her coronation on 2 June 1953. Ordered in October 1952, the dress took eight months of research, design and workmanship to make the intricate embroidery of the dress...

 was commissioned from Norman Hartnell
Norman Hartnell
Sir Norman Bishop Hartnell, KCVO was a British fashion designer. Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM The Queen 1940, subsequently Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother...

 and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries: English Tudor rose
Tudor rose
The Tudor Rose is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the Tudor dynasty.-Origins:...

, Scots thistle
Thistle
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the...

, Welsh leek
Leek
The leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum , also sometimes known as Allium porrum, is a vegetable which belongs, along with the onion and garlic, to family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Allioideae...

, Irish shamrock
Shamrock
The shamrock is a three-leafed old white clover. It is known as a symbol of Ireland. The name shamrock is derived from Irish , which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover ....

, Australian wattle, Canadian maple leaf
Maple leaf
The maple leaf is the characteristic leaf of the maple tree, and is the most widely recognized national symbol of Canada.-Use in Canada:At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the settlements of New France had attained a population of about 18,000...

, New Zealand silver fern
Cyathea dealbata
Cyathea dealbata, or the silver tree fern or silver fern , is a species of medium-sized tree fern, endemic to New Zealand...

, South African protea
Protea
Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes.-Etymology:...

, lotus flowers
Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family Nelumbonaceae...

 for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan's wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, and jute
Jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

.

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth


Elizabeth witnessed, over her life, the ongoing transformation of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 into the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

. By the time of Elizabeth's accession in 1952, her role as nominal head of multiple independent states was already established. Spanning 1953–54, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-world tour. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations. During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen the Queen. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth has undertaken state visits to foreign countries, and tours of Commonwealth ones. She is the most widely travelled head of state in history.

In 1956, French Prime Minister
Prime Minister of France
The Prime Minister of France in the Fifth Republic is the head of government and of the Council of Ministers of France. The head of state is the President of the French Republic...

 Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

 and British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Sir Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 discussed the possibility of France joining the Commonwealth. The proposal was never accepted, and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome
Treaty of Rome
The Treaty of Rome, officially the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was an international agreement that led to the founding of the European Economic Community on 1 January 1958. It was signed on 25 March 1957 by Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany...

, which established the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

, the precursor of the European Union. In November 1956, Britain and France invaded Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 to capture the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 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
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 for choosing a leader meant that, following Eden's resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. Eden recommended that Elizabeth consult Lord Salisbury
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury
Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG, PC , known as Viscount Cranborne from 1903 to 1947, was a British Conservative politician.-Background:...

 (the Lord President of the Council
Lord President of the Council
The Lord President of the Council is the fourth of the Great Officers of State of the United Kingdom, ranking beneath the Lord High Treasurer and above the Lord Privy Seal. The Lord President usually attends each meeting of the Privy Council, presenting business for the monarch's approval...

). Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir
David Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir
David Patrick Maxwell Fyfe, 1st Earl of Kilmuir GCVO, PC, KC, , known as Sir David Maxwell Fyfe from 1942 to 1954 and as The Viscount Kilmuir from 1954 to 1962, was a British Conservative politician, lawyer and judge who combined an industrious and precocious legal career with political ambitions...

 (the Lord Chancellor
Lord Chancellor
The Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain, or Lord Chancellor, is a senior and important functionary in the government of the United Kingdom. He is the second highest ranking of the Great Officers of State, ranking only after the Lord High Steward. The Lord Chancellor is appointed by the Sovereign...

) consulted the Cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....

, Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, and the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee
1922 Committee
In British politics, the 1922 Committee is a committee of Conservative Members of Parliament. Voting membership is limited to backbench MPs although frontbench Conservative MPs have an open invitation to attend meetings. While the party was in opposition, frontbench MPs other than the party leader...

, as a result of which the Queen appointed their recommended candidate: Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

. Six years later, Macmillan resigned and advised the Queen to appoint the Earl of Home
Alec Douglas-Home
Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel, KT, PC , known as The Earl of Home from 1951 to 1963 and as Sir Alec Douglas-Home from 1963 to 1974, was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1963 to October 1964.He is the last...

 as prime minister, advice that she followed.

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, Lord Altrincham
John Grigg (writer)
John Edward Poynder Grigg was a British writer, historian and politician. He was the 2nd Baron Altrincham from 1955 until he disclaimed that title under the Peerage Act on the day it received the Royal Assent in 1963.-Early years:John Grigg was the son of Edward Grigg, a Times journalist...

 accused her of being "out of touch". Altrincham was denounced by public figures and physically attacked by a member of the public appalled at his comments. In 1963, 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 choosing a leader, thus relieving her of involvement.

In 1957, she made a state visit on behalf of the Commonwealth to the United States, where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. On the same tour, she opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament
23rd Canadian Parliament
The 23rd Canadian Parliament was in session from October 14, 1957 until February 1, 1958. The membership was set by the 1957 federal election on June 10, 1957, and it changed only somewhat due to resignations and by-elections until it was dissolved prior to the 1958 election.It holds the...

, becoming the first monarch of Canada to open a parliamentary session. Two years later, she revisited the United States as a representative of Canada. In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran. On a visit to Ghana
Ghana
Ghana , officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso to the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea to the south...

 the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, even though her host President
Heads of state of Ghana
Prior to independence in 1957, Ghana was known as the British colony of Gold Coast. Before then it had been divided among a number of states, by far the largest of which was the Ashanti Empire, whose rulers were known as the Asantehene....

 Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah was the leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1952 to 1966. Overseeing the nation's independence from British colonial rule in 1957, Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana and the first Prime Minister of Ghana...

, 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 'the heart and stomach of a man
Speech to the Troops at Tilbury
The Speech to the Troops at Tilbury was delivered on 9 August Old Style, 19 August New Style 1588 by Queen Elizabeth I of England to the land forces earlier assembled at Tilbury in Essex in preparation of repelling the expected invasion by the Spanish Armada....

' ... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen."

Elizabeth's pregnancies with Princes Andrew
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 and Edward
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

, in 1959 and 1963, mark the only times she has not performed the State Opening of the British Parliament
State Opening of Parliament
In the United Kingdom, the State Opening of Parliament is an annual event that marks the commencement of a session of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is held in the House of Lords Chamber, usually in November or December or, in a general election year, when the new Parliament first assembles...

 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.

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, Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

n Prime Minister Ian Smith
Ian Smith
Ian Douglas Smith GCLM ID was a politician active in the government of Southern Rhodesia, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe Rhodesia and Zimbabwe from 1948 to 1987, most notably serving as Prime Minister of Rhodesia from 13 April 1964 to 1 June 1979...

 declared unilateral independence
Unilateral Declaration of Independence (Rhodesia)
The Unilateral Declaration of Independence of Rhodesia from the United Kingdom was signed on November 11, 1965, by the administration of Ian Smith, whose Rhodesian Front party opposed black majority rule in the then British colony. Although it declared independence from the United Kingdom it...

 in opposition to moves toward majority black rule. Although the Queen dismissed Smith in a formal declaration and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, Smith's regime survived for over a decade.

In February 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 called a general election
United Kingdom general election, February 1974
The United Kingdom's general election of February 1974 was held on the 28th of that month. It was the first of two United Kingdom general elections held that year, and the first election since the Second World War not to produce an overall majority in the House of Commons for the winning party,...

 in the middle of the Queen's tour of the Austronesia
Austronesia
Austronesia, in historical terms, refers to the homeland of the peoples who speak Austronesian languages, including Malay, Filipino, Indonesian, Maori, Malagasy, native Hawaiian, the Fijian language and around a thousand other languages...

n Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim
The Pacific Rim refers to places around the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The term "Pacific Basin" includes the Pacific Rim and islands in the Pacific Ocean...

, and she had to fly back to Britain, interrupting the tour. The inconclusive result of the election meant that Heath, whose Conservative party had the largest share of the popular vote but no overall majority, could stay in office if he formed a coalition with the Liberals
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

. Heath only resigned when discussions on forming a cooperative government foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of the Opposition, Labour's
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

, to form a government.

A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, Australian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Australia
The Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia is the highest minister of the Crown, leader of the Cabinet and Head of Her Majesty's Australian Government, holding office on commission from the Governor-General of Australia. The office of Prime Minister is, in practice, the most powerful...

 Gough Whitlam
Gough Whitlam
Edward Gough Whitlam, AC, QC , known as Gough Whitlam , served as the 21st Prime Minister of Australia. Whitlam led the Australian Labor Party to power at the 1972 election and retained government at the 1974 election, before being dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr at the climax of the...

 was dismissed from his post by Governor-General
Governor-General of Australia
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia is the representative in Australia at federal/national level of the Australian monarch . He or she exercises the supreme executive power of the Commonwealth...

 Sir John Kerr after the Opposition-controlled Senate
Australian Senate
The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. Senators are popularly elected under a system of proportional representation. Senators are elected for a term that is usually six years; after a double dissolution, however,...

 rejected Whitlam's budget proposals. As Whitlam had a majority in the House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

, Speaker
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament of Australia. The presiding officer in the upper house is the President of the Senate....

 Gordon Scholes
Gordon Scholes
Gordon Glen Denton Scholes AO is a former Australian politician and Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives.Scholes was born in Melbourne, the son of Thomas Glen Denton Scholes and his wife Mary Louisa O'Brien. He was the Victorian Amateur Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1949...

 appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr's decision. Elizabeth declined, stating that she would not interfere in decisions reserved for the Governor-General by the Constitution of Australia
Constitution of Australia
The Constitution of Australia is the supreme law under which the Australian Commonwealth Government operates. It consists of several documents. The most important is the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia...

. The crisis fuelled Australian republicanism
Republicanism in Australia
Republicanism in Australia is a movement to change Australia's status as a constitutional monarchy to a republican form of government. Such sentiments have been expressed in Australia from before federation onward to the present...

.

Silver Jubilee


In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession
Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II marked the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth realms...

. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with the Queen's 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. In 1978, Elizabeth endured a state visit by the communist dictator of Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

. The following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt
Anthony Blunt
Anthony Frederick Blunt , was a British art historian who was exposed as a Soviet spy late in his life.Blunt was Professor of the History of Art at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, Surveyor of the King's Pictures and London...

, former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures
Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures
The office of the Surveyor of the King's/Queen's Pictures, in the Royal Collection Department of the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom, is responsible for the care and maintenance of the royal collection of pictures owned by the Sovereign in an official capacity – as...

, as a communist spy; the other was the assassination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 by the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

.

According to Paul Martin, Sr.
Paul Joseph James Martin
Joseph James Guillaume Paul Martin, PC, CC, QC , often referred to as Paul Martin, Sr, was a noted Canadian politician. He was the father of Paul Martin , who served as Prime Minister of Canada from 2003 - 2006.-Early life:Martin was born in Ottawa, Ontario, the son of Lumina and Joseph...

, by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried the Crown "had little meaning for" Canadian Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

 Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

. Tony Benn
Tony Benn
Anthony Neil Wedgwood "Tony" Benn, PC is a British Labour Party politician and a former MP and Cabinet Minister.His successful campaign to renounce his hereditary peerage was instrumental in the creation of the Peerage Act 1963...

 said that 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
Canadian royal symbols
Canadian royal symbols are the visual and auditory identifiers of the Canadian monarchy and the monarch's viceroys, in both the country's federal and provincial jurisdictions...

 during his term of office. In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patriation
Patriation
Patriation is a non-legal term used in Canada to describe a process of constitutional change also known as "homecoming" of the constitution. Up until 1982, Canada was governed by a constitution that was a British law and could be changed only by an Act of the British Parliament...

 of the Canadian constitution
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

 found the Queen "better informed on ... Canada's constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats". She was interested in the constitutional debate after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

. Patriation removed the role of the British parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 in the Canadian constitution, but the monarchy was retained. Trudeau said in his memoirs: "The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."

1980s



During the 1981 Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is a ceremony performed by regiments of the British and the Commonwealth armies. It has been a tradition of British infantry regiments since the 17th century, although the roots go back much earlier. On battlefields, a regiment's colours, or flags, were used as rallying points...

 ceremony, and only six weeks before the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer
Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer
The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Frances Spencer took place on Wednesday, 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom. Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global TV...

, six shots were fired at the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall
The Mall (London)
The Mall in central London is the road running from Buckingham Palace at its western end to Admiralty Arch and on to Trafalgar Square at its eastern end. It then crosses Spring Gardens, which was where the Metropolitan Board of Works and, for a number of years, the London County Council were...

 on her horse, Burmese
Burmese (horse)
Burmese , a black RCMP Police Service Horse mare, was given to Queen Elizabeth II by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and ridden by the queen for Trooping the Colour for eighteen consecutive years from 1969 to 1986.-Royal Service:...

. Police later discovered that the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcus Sarjeant
Marcus Sarjeant
Marcus Simon Sarjeant is notable for firing six blank shots at Queen Elizabeth II as she rode down The Mall to the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 1981.-Background:...

, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three. The Queen's composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised. The following year, the Queen awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find an intruder, Michael Fagan
Michael Fagan incident
Michael Fagan was an intruder who broke into Buckingham Palace and entered Elizabeth II's bedchamber in the early hours of 9 July 1982. The unemployed father of four children managed to evade electronic alarms as well as both palace and police guards....

, in the room with her. Remaining calm, and through two calls to the palace police switchboard, the Queen spoke to Fagan while he sat at the foot of her bed until assistance arrived seven minutes later. From April to September that year, the Queen remained anxious but proud of her son, Prince Andrew, who was serving with British forces during the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. Though she hosted President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 at Windsor Castle in 1982, and visited his Californian ranch
Rancho del Cielo
Rancho del Cielo, or "Sky's or Heaven's Ranch," is a ranch located on the top of the Santa Ynez Mountain range northwest of Santa Barbara, California...

 in 1983, she was angered when his administration ordered the invasion of Grenada
Invasion of Grenada
The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 100,000 located north of Venezuela. Triggered by a military coup which had ousted a four-year revolutionary government, the invasion...

, one of her Caribbean realms, without her foreknowledge.

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
Kelvin MacKenzie
Kelvin Calder MacKenzie is an English media executive and former newspaper editor. He is best known for being editor of The Sun newspaper between 1981 and 1994, an era in which the paper was established as Britain's best selling newspaper.- Biography :MacKenzie was educated at Alleyn's School...

, editor of The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

, 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
Donald Trelford
Donald Trelford is a British journalist and academic, who was editor of The Observer newspaper from 1975 to 1993. He was also a director of The Observer from 1975 to 1993 and Chief Executive from 1992 to 1993....

 wrote in The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

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
The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a British Sunday newspaper.The Sunday Times may also refer to:*The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times *The Sunday Times...

of 20 July 1986, that Elizabeth was worried that British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

's economic policies fostered social divisions, and was alarmed by high unemployment, a series of riots
1981 England riots
In 1981, the United Kingdom suffered serious riots across many major cities in England. They were perceived as race riots between communities, in all cases the main motives for the riots were related to racial tension and inner-city deprivation. The riots were caused by a distrust of the police...

, the violence of a miners' strike
UK miners' strike (1984–1985)
The UK miners' strike was a major industrial action affecting the British coal industry. It was a defining moment in British industrial relations, and its defeat significantly weakened the British trades union movement...

, and Thatcher's refusal to apply sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The sources of the rumours included royal aide Michael Shea
Michael Shea (diplomat)
Michael Sinclair MacAuslan Shea was press secretary to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom from 1978 to 1987. Earlier he had been a career diplomat and was also an author....

 and Commonwealth Secretary-General
Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Commonwealth Secretary-General is the head of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the central body which has served the Commonwealth of Nations since its establishment in 1965, and responsible for representing the Commonwealth publicly...

 Shridath Ramphal
Shridath Ramphal
Sir Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal, GCMG, AC, ONZ, OE, OM, QC, FRSA served as the second Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975-1990. Ramphal previously served as the Foreign Minister of Guyana from 1972-1975...

, 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
Social Democratic Party (UK)
The Social Democratic Party was a political party in the United Kingdom that was created on 26 March 1981 and existed until 1988. It was founded by four senior Labour Party 'moderates', dubbed the 'Gang of Four': Roy Jenkins, David Owen, Bill Rodgers and Shirley Williams...

—Thatcher's political opponents. Thatcher's biographer John Campbell
John Campbell (biographer)
John Campbell is a British political writer and biographer.His works include biographies of Aneurin Bevan, Edward Heath, and Margaret Thatcher, the last consisting The Grocer's Daughter and its sequel The Iron Lady...

 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 after Thatcher's replacement by John Major
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

, Elizabeth gave two honours in her personal gift to Thatcher: the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

.

In 1987, the elected Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

an government was deposed in a military coup. Elizabeth, as head of state, supported the attempts of the Governor-General
Governor-General of Fiji
Fiji became a British Crown Colony in 1874, and an independent dominion in the Commonwealth in 1970. Queen Elizabeth II remained the Head of State, holding the title of Queen of Fiji until 1987, when she formally abdicated following two military coups...

, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau
Penaia Ganilau
Ratu Sir Penaia Kanatabatu Ganilau, GCMG, KCVO, KBE, DSO was the first President of Fiji, serving from 8 December 1987 until his death in 1993...

, to assert executive power and negotiate a settlement. Coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka
Sitiveni Rabuka
Major-General Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, OBE, MSD, OStJ, is best known as the instigator of two military coups that shook Fiji in 1987. He was later democratically elected the third Prime Minister, serving from 1992 to 1999...

 deposed Ganilau, abolished the monarchy
Monarchy of Fiji
The monarchy of Fiji arose in the mid-nineteenth century when native ruler Seru Epenisa Cakobau consolidated control of the Fijian Islands and declared himself King or paramount chief of Fiji . In 1874, he voluntarily ceded sovereignty of the islands to Britain, which made Fiji a Crown colony...

, and declared Fiji a republic. By the start of 1991, republican feeling in Britain had risen because of press estimates of the Queen's private wealth, which were contradicted by the palace, and reports of affairs and strained marriages among her extended family. The involvement of the younger royals in the charity game show It's a Royal Knockout
It's a Royal Knockout
The Grand Knockout Tournament was a one-off charity event which was shown on British television on 19 June 1987...

was ridiculed, and the Queen was the target of satire.

1990s


In 1991, in the wake of victory in the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

. The following year, she attempted to save the failing marriage of her eldest son, Charles
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

, by counselling him and his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

, to reconcile.

In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession, the Queen called 1992 her annus horribilis
Annus horribilis
Annus horribilis is a Latin phrase meaning "horrible year", or alternatively, "year of horrors". It alludes to annus mirabilis meaning "year of wonders".-Elizabeth II:...

, meaning horrible year. In March, her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, and his wife Sarah, Duchess of York
Sarah, Duchess of York
Sarah, Duchess of York is a British charity patron, spokesperson, writer, film producer, television personality and former member of the British Royal Family. She is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, whom she married from 1986 to 1996...

, separated. In April, her daughter Anne, Princess Royal
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

, divorced her husband Captain Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
-Ancestry:-Issue:-Sources:...

. During a state visit to Germany in October, angry demonstrators in Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 threw eggs at her, and in November Windsor Castle suffered severe fire damage. The monarchy received increased criticism and public scrutiny. In an unusually personal speech, Elizabeth 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
John Major
Sir John Major, is a British Conservative politician, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1990–1997...

 announced reforms of the royal finances that had been planned since the previous year, including the Queen paying income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

 for the first time, starting in 1993, and a reduction in the civil list
Civil list
-United Kingdom:In the United Kingdom, the Civil List is the name given to the annual grant that covers some expenses associated with the Sovereign performing their official duties, including those for staff salaries, State Visits, public engagements, ceremonial functions and the upkeep of the...

. In December, Charles and Diana formally separated. The year ended with a lawsuit as the Queen sued The Sun
The Sun (newspaper)
The Sun is a daily national tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom and owned by News Corporation. Sister editions are published in Glasgow and Dublin...

newspaper for breach of copyright when it published the text of her annual Christmas message
Royal Christmas Message
The Queen's Christmas Message is a broadcast made by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms to the Commonwealth of Nations each Christmas. The tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by George V on the British Broadcasting Corporation Empire Service...

 two days before its broadcast. The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees, and donated £200,000 to charity.

In the ensuing years, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana's marriage continued. Even though support for a British republic seemed higher than at any time in living memory, republicanism remained a minority viewpoint and Elizabeth herself had high approval ratings. Criticism was focused on the institution of monarchy itself and the Queen's wider family rather than the Queen's own behaviour and actions. In consultation with Prime Minister Major, Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

 George Carey
George Carey
George Leonard Carey, Baron Carey of Clifton PC, FKC is a former Archbishop of Canterbury, holding the office from 1991 to 2002. He was the first modern holder of the office not to have attended Oxford or Cambridge University...

, her private secretary Robert Fellowes
Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes
Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes, GCB, GCVO, QSO, PC is a former Private Secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1990–1999, and is also known as a brother-in-law of Diana, Princess of Wales.-Family background:...

, and her husband, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, saying that a divorce was desirable. A year after the divorce, which took place in 1996, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris
Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed's...

 on 31 August 1997. The Queen was on holiday at Balmoral
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located near the village of Crathie, west of Ballater and east of Braemar. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria and her...

 with her son and grandchildren. Diana's two sons wanted to attend church, and so their grandparents took them that morning. After that single public appearance, for five days the Queen and the Duke shielded their grandsons from the intense press interest by keeping them at Balmoral where they could grieve in private. The royal family's seclusion caused public dismay. Pressured by the hostile public reaction, the Queen returned to London and agreed to a live broadcast to the world on 5 September, the day before Diana's funeral
Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales
The public funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales started on September 6, 1997 at 9:08 am in London, when the tenor bell sounded to signal the departure of the cortege from Kensington Palace. The coffin was carried from the palace on a gun carriage, along Hyde Park to St. James' Palace, where...

. In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana, and her feelings "as a grandmother" for Princes William and Harry
Prince Harry of Wales
Prince Henry of Wales , commonly known as Prince Harry, is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and fourth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

. As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.

Golden Jubilee and beyond


In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as queen
Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was the international celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the accession of Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries, upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952, and was intended by the Queen to be both a commemoration of her 50...

. Her sister and mother died in February and March, respectively, and the media speculated as to 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
King's House, Jamaica
King's House is the official residence of the Governor-General of Jamaica, who represents the Jamaican Monarch, and head of state....

, the official residence of the Governor-General
Governor-General of Jamaica
The Governor-General of Jamaica represents the Jamaican monarch, and head of state, who holds the title of King or Queen of Jamaica ....

, 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 Elizabeth was greater than many journalists had predicted.

Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on both knees, and in June 2005 she cancelled several engagements after contracting a bad cold. In October 2006, she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium
Emirates Stadium
Ashburton Grove, currently known as the Emirates Stadium, is a UEFA elite football stadium which is home to Arsenal FC, where they moved from Highbury in 2006. It has an current capacity of 60,361, and there have been rumours of an expansion...

 because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer. Two months later, she was seen in public with a plaster
Adhesive bandage
An adhesive bandage, also called a sticking plaster is a small dressing used for injuries not serious enough to require a full-size bandage. "Band-Aid" is the common American English term, while "plaster" is the term in British English usage.- Function :The adhesive bandage protects the cut, e.g...

 on her right hand, which led to press speculation of ill health. She had been bitten by one of her corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The corgi is one of the smallest dogs in the Herding Group. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famed for being the preferred breed...

s while she was separating two that were fighting.

In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph is a daily morning broadsheet newspaper distributed throughout the United Kingdom and internationally. The newspaper was founded by Arthur B...

newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forces
British Armed Forces
The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.Also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services, the Royal Navy, the...

 were overstretched in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly. She was, however, said to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

. On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

 St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh (Church of Ireland)
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh is the seat of the Archbishop of Armagh in the Church of Ireland. It is found in Armagh, Northern Ireland.-History:...

, the Queen attended the first Maundy service held outside of England and Wales. At the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese
Mary Patricia McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson, making McAleese the world's first woman to succeed another as president. She was re-elected unopposed for a second term in...

, in May 2011 the Queen made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland
Queen Elizabeth II's visit to the Republic of Ireland
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh made a state visit to the Republic of Ireland from 17 May to 20 May 2011, at the invitation of the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese....

 by a British monarch.

Elizabeth addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as queen of all her realms and Head of the Commonwealth. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

 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 the British victims of the 11 September attacks.

The Queen's visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th visit since 1954, was called her "farewell tour" in the press because of her age. Elizabeth plans to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee
Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is the forthcoming international celebration in 2012 marking the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II to the thrones of seven countries, upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952...

 in 2012, marking 60 years as Queen. She is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and the second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej
Bhumibol Adulyadej
Bhumibol Adulyadej is the current King of Thailand. He is known as Rama IX...

 of Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

). She does not intend to abdicate
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

, though the proportion of public duties performed by Prince Charles may increase as Elizabeth reduces her commitments.

Public perception and character



Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a constitutional monarch
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, she has not expressed her own political opinions in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty, and takes her coronation oath seriously. Aside from her official religious role as Supreme Governor
Supreme Governor of the Church of England
The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is a title held by the British monarchs which signifies their titular leadership over the Church of England. Although the monarch's authority over the Church of England is not strong, the position is still very relevant to the church and is mostly...

 of the established
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 Church of England
Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

, she personally worships with that church and with the national Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

. She has demonstrated support for inter-faith
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

 relations, and has met with leaders of other religions, and granted her personal patronage
Patronage
Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors...

 to the Council of Christians and Jews
The Council of Christians and Jews
The Council of Christians and Jews, or CCJ, is a voluntary organisation in the United Kingdom. It is composed of Christians and Jews working together to counter anti-semitism and other forms of intolerance in Britain. Their patron is Queen Elizabeth II....

. A personal note about her faith often features in her annual Royal Christmas Message
Royal Christmas Message
The Queen's Christmas Message is a broadcast made by the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms to the Commonwealth of Nations each Christmas. The tradition began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by George V on the British Broadcasting Corporation Empire Service...

 broadcast to the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, such as in 2000, when she spoke about the theological significance of the millennium
Millennium
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

 marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ:

Elizabeth is the patron of over 600 charities and other organisations. Her main leisure interests include equestrianism
Equestrianism
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

 and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Pembroke Welsh Corgi
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a herding dog breed, which originated in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It is one of two breeds known as Welsh Corgi: the other is the Cardigan Welsh Corgi. The corgi is one of the smallest dogs in the Herding Group. Pembroke Welsh Corgis are famed for being the preferred breed...

s. Her clothes consist mostly of solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd.

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 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 monarchy were made in the television documentary Royal Family, and by televising Prince Charles's investiture as Prince of Wales
Investiture of the Prince of Wales
The Investiture of the Prince of Wales is the ceremony marking the formal creation of the title of Prince of Wales, similar to a coronation. An Investiture is not required for the Princes of Wales, as the title is created via Letters patent, and consequently the ceremony is for formal purposes...

.

At her Silver Jubilee
Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II
The Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II marked the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other Commonwealth realms...

 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. Elizabeth's popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s. Under pressure from public opinion, she began to pay income tax for the first time, and Buckingham Palace was opened to the public. Discontent with the monarchy reached its peak on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
Death of Diana, Princess of Wales
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed's...

, though the Queen's popularity rebounded after her live broadcast to the world five days after Diana's death.

In November 1999, a referendum in Australia on the future of the monarchy
Australian republic referendum, 1999
The Australian republic referendum held on 6 November 1999 was a two-question referendum to amend the Constitution of Australia. The first question asked whether Australia should become a republic with a President appointed by Parliament following a bi-partisan appointment model which had...

 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 referendums in Tuvalu in 2008
Tuvaluan constitutional referendum, 2008
A constitutional referendum was held in Tuvalu on 30 April 2008. Voters were asked whether to retain the parliamentary monarchy of Tuvalu, or abolish it in favour of a republic....

 and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines constitutional referendum, 2009
A constitutional referendum was held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on 25 November 2009, which would have replaced the constitution in force since independence in 1979. The proposal was supported by only 43.13% of voters in the referendum, well short of the required two-thirds threshold...

 both rejected proposals to abolish the monarchy.

Finances


Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine estimated her net worth at around US$450 million in 2010, but official Buckingham Palace statements in 1993 called estimates of £100 million "grossly overstated". Jock Colville, who was her former private secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts
Coutts
Coutts & Co. is one of the UK's private banking houses, now wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland . RBS acquired Coutts and all of its overseas subsidiaries when it bought NatWest. On 1 January 2008, Coutts' international businesses were renamed RBS Coutts, aligning them more closely with...

, estimated her wealth in 1971 at £2 million (the equivalent of about £ today). The Royal Collection
Royal Collection
The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation. It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical...

, which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels
Crown jewels
Crown jewels are jewels or artifacts of the reigning royal family of their respective country. They belong to monarchs and are passed to the next sovereign to symbolize the right to rule. They may include crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, and other objects...

, is not owned by the Queen personally and is held in trust
Trust law
In common law legal systems, a trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another...

, as are the occupied palaces in the United Kingdom such as Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

 and Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

, and the Duchy of Lancaster
Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is one of the two royal duchies in England, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is held in trust for the Sovereign, and is used to provide income for the use of the British monarch...

, a property portfolio valued at £383 million in 2011. Sandringham House
Sandringham House
Sandringham House is a country house on of land near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. The house is privately owned by the British Royal Family and is located on the royal Sandringham Estate, which lies within the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.-History and current...

 and Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located near the village of Crathie, west of Ballater and east of Braemar. Balmoral has been one of the residences of the British Royal Family since 1852, when it was purchased by Queen Victoria and her...

 are privately owned by the Queen. The British Crown Estate
Crown Estate
In the United Kingdom, the Crown Estate is a property portfolio owned by the Crown. Although still belonging to the monarch and inherent with the accession of the throne, it is no longer the private property of the reigning monarch and cannot be sold by him/her, nor do the revenues from it belong...

—with holdings of £7.3 billion in 2011—is held in trust for the nation, and cannot be sold or owned by Elizabeth in a private capacity.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms



Titles and styles



Elizabeth has held titles throughout her life, as a granddaughter of the monarch, as a daughter of the monarch, through her husband's titles, and eventually as Sovereign. In common parlance, she is The Queen or Her Majesty. Officially, she has a distinct title in each of her realms: Queen of Canada in Canada, Queen of Australia in Australia, etc. In the Channel Islands
Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey...

 and Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

, which are Crown dependencies rather than separate realms, she is known as Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

 and Lord of Mann
Lord of Mann
The title Lord of Mann is used on the Isle of Man to refer to Queen Elizabeth II, who is the island's Lord Proprietor and head of state.-Relationship with the Crown:The title is not correctly used on its own...

 respectively. Additional styles include Defender of the Faith
Fidei defensor
Fidei defensor is a Latin title which translates to Defender of the Faith in English and Défenseur de la Foi in French...

 and Duke of Lancaster
Duke of Lancaster
There were several Dukes of Lancaster in the 14th and early 15th Centuries. See also Duchy of Lancaster.There were three creations of the Dukedom of Lancaster....

. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially address her as Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma'am.

She has received honours and awards from around the world, and has held honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, both before and after her accession.

Arms



From 21 April 1944, Elizabeth's arms consisted of a lozenge
Lozenge (heraldry)
The lozenge in heraldry is a diamond-shaped charge , usually somewhat narrower than it is tall. It is to be distinguished in modern heraldry from the fusil, which is like the lozenge but narrower, though the distinction has not always been as fine and is not always observed even today...

 bearing the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom
The Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom, and are officially known as her Arms of Dominion...

, differenced with a label
Label (heraldry)
In heraldry, a label is a charge resembling the strap crossing the horse’s chest from which pendants are hung. It is usually a mark of difference, but has sometimes been borne simply as a charge in its own right....

 of three points argent
Argent
In heraldry, argent is the tincture of silver, and belongs to the class of light tinctures, called "metals". It is very frequently depicted as white and usually considered interchangeable with it...

, the centre point bearing a Tudor rose
Tudor rose
The Tudor Rose is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England and takes its name and origins from the Tudor dynasty.-Origins:...

 and the first and third a cross of St. George
St George's Cross
St George's Cross is a red cross on a white background used as a symbolic reference to Saint George. The red cross on white was associated with St George from medieval times....

. After her accession as Sovereign, she adopted the royal coat of arms undifferenced. The design of the shield is also used on the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Elizabeth has personal flags for use in Canada
Queen's Personal Canadian Flag
The royal standards of Canada are personal standards, or official flags, employed to mark the presence of the bearer at any building or area or aboard any car, ship, or airplane, both in Canada and abroad. There are three royal standards, one each for the monarch, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke...

, Australia
Queen's Personal Australian Flag
The Queen's Personal Australian Flag, sometimes known as the Royal Standard of Australia is the personal flag of Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of Australia. The flag was approved for use in 1962. It is only used by the Queen when she is in Australia, or attending an event abroad in her...

, New Zealand, Jamaica
Queen's Personal Jamaican Flag
The Queen's Personal Jamaican Flag, sometimes known as the Royal Standard of Jamaica is the personal flag of Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of Jamaica. The flag was approved for use in 1962 and the proportion as approximately 4:7~. It is only used by the Queen when she is in Jamaica, or...

, Barbados
Queen's Personal Barbadian Flag
The Queen's Personal Barbadian Flag, sometimes known as the Royal Standard of Barbados, is the personal flag of Queen Elizabeth II in her role as Queen of Barbados. The flag was approved for use in the 1970s and is only used by the Queen when she is in Barbados, or attending an event abroad in her...

, and elsewhere
Personal Flag of Queen Elizabeth II
The Personal Flag of Queen Elizabeth II is used in Commonwealth of Nations countries which are not Commonwealth Realms. The flag was created in 1960 and first used in 1961 for the Queen's visit to India..-Description:...

.


Issue

Name Birth Marriage Children Grandchildren
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

 
14 November 1948 29 July 1981
Divorced 28 August 1996
Lady Diana Spencer
Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana, Princess of Wales was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century...

 
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Harry of Wales
Prince Harry of Wales
Prince Henry of Wales , commonly known as Prince Harry, is the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and fourth grandchild of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 
9 April 2005 Camilla Shand 
Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Anne, Princess Royal
Princess Anne, Princess Royal , is the only daughter of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 
15 August 1950 14 November 1973
Divorced 28 April 1992
Captain Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
-Ancestry:-Issue:-Sources:...

 
Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips
Peter Phillips is the son of Anne, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom.Peter Phillips or Philips may also refer to:* Peter Philips Peter Phillips (born 1977) is the son of Anne, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom.Peter Phillips or Philips may also refer to:* Peter Philips Peter Phillips (born...

 
Savannah Phillips
Zara Phillips
Zara Phillips
Zara Anne Elizabeth Phillips, MBE is the second child and only daughter of Princess Anne and her first husband Captain Mark Phillips and is 13th in the line of succession to the throne...

 
12 December 1992 Sir Timothy Laurence
Timothy Laurence
Vice Admiral Sir Timothy James Hamilton Laurence, KCVO, CB, ADC is a senior British naval officer and the second husband of HRH The Princess Royal, the only daughter of HM The Queen...

 
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Andrew, Duke of York KG GCVO , is the second son, and third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 
19 February 1960 23 July 1986
Divorced 30 May 1996
Sarah Ferguson
Sarah, Duchess of York
Sarah, Duchess of York is a British charity patron, spokesperson, writer, film producer, television personality and former member of the British Royal Family. She is the former wife of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, whom she married from 1986 to 1996...

 
Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Beatrice of York is the elder daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York...


Princess Eugenie of York
Princess Eugenie of York
Princess Eugenie of York Eugenie Victoria Helena; born 23 March 1990) is the younger daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Sarah, Duchess of York...

 
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex KG GCVO is the third son and fourth child of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh...

 
10 March 1964 19 June 1999 Sophie Rhys-Jones  Lady Louise Windsor
Lady Louise Windsor
The Lady Louise Windsor is the elder child of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. She is the youngest granddaughter and second-youngest grandchild of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh...


James, Viscount Severn
James, Viscount Severn
James, Viscount Severn is the second child and only son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and the youngest grandchild of Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh...

 

Ancestry




See also


  • List of current heads of state and government
  • List of the richest royals
  • Royal intermarriage
    Royal intermarriage
    Royal intermarriage is the practice of members of ruling dynasties marrying into other reigning families. It was more commonly done in the past as part of strategic diplomacy for reasons of state...


External links



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