Her Majesty the Queen
was born in London on 21 April 1926, first child of the Duke and Duchess of
York, subsequently King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Five weeks later she was
christened in the chapel of Buckingham Palace and was given the names Elizabeth
with her sister Princess Margaret born four years later, had her early education
at home. After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became heiress
presumptive, her studies were extended to include lessons on constitutional
history and law. She also studied art and music; learned to ride (she has been
an excellent horsewoman since early childhood); and enjoyed swimming (at the age
of thirteen she won the Children's Challenge Shield at the Bath Club in London),
and amateur theatricals. At the age of eleven she enroled as a Girl Guide, and
later became a Sea Ranger.
the Princess grew older she began to take part in public life; she was fourteen
when she made her first broadcast, in a message given during the BBC's
children's programme to the children of Britain and the Commonwealth in October
1944, shortly after her eighteen birthday, she was appointed a Counsellor of
State during the King's absence on a tour of the Italian battlefields, and, for
the first time, exercised certain of the functions of the Crown.
the war, the Princess Elizabeth's public engagements grew in number and
frequency. Her first official visit overseas took place in 1947, when she
accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa. During this tour,
she celebrated her twenty-first birthday, on which she made a broadcast address
dedicating herself to the service of the Commonwealth, a dedication which she
repeated five years later on her ascension to the throne, on 6 February 1952.
after the return of the Royal Family from South Africa came the announcement of
the engagement of the Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, son
of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, now His
Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whom she had known for many
years. Their wedding took place in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947.
The Prince Charles, now the Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was
born in 1948, and his sister, the Princess Anne, now the Princess Royal, in
1950. The third child of the Queen and the Duke, the Prince Andrew, now the Duke
of York, was born in 1960, and their fourth, the Prince Edward the Earl of
Wessex, in 1964. The Queen and the Duke celebrated their golden wedding
anniversary in London in 1997.
her marriage, the Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with the Duke of
Edinburgh to France and Greece and, in the autumn of 1951 the couple toured
Canada. In 1952, when King George VI's illness made it inadvisable for him to
carry out his projected visit to Australia and New Zealand, the Princess,
accompanied by the Duke, took his place, and it was in the first stage of this
journey, in Kenya, that she received the news of her father's death and her own
ascension to the throne.
Majesty's coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953.
The ceremony, which was attended by representatives of the peers, the Commons
and all the great public interests in Britain, the Prime Ministers and leading
citizens of the other Commonwealth countries and representatives of foreign
states, was brought home to many hundreds of thousands of the Queen's subjects
in a way never before possible: for the first time in history the coronation of
a British monarch was marked by a television transmission as well as a radio
broadcast throughout the world.
autumn of the following year, Her Majesty set out to accomplish, as Queen, the
Commonwealth tour she had begun before the death of her father and her accession
to the throne.
1977, the Queen's Silver Jubilee was celebrated in the United Kingdom and
throughout the Commonwealth. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen
travelled some 56,000 miles to share the anniversary with her people.
The Queen has six grandchildren.