Historical Personalities » Empresses & Queens » QUEEN ELIZABETH II
|Full name||: Queen Elizabeth II|
|Alias||: Queen Elizabeth II|
|Address||: Mayfair, London|
|Father||: King George VI|
|Mother||: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon|
|Siblings||: Princess Margaret|
|Husband||: Prince Philip|
|Children||: Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward|
|Activists||: Empresses & Queens|
‘Supreme Governor of the Church of England’ and ‘The Defender of the Faith’, Her Highness Queen Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch and serves as the head of Commonwealth Nations. Reserved and introvert, the queen has been revered by her subjects for displaying impeccable moral character, administrative acumen and unequivocal empathy towards all factions of the society, throughout her life. Once, mesmerized by her larger-than-life persona, filmmaker Michael Waldman quipped, “The more time I spent filming Our Queen, the more I was struck by the strange idiosyncrasies of her life”. The fact that she is both the only female royal to have joined the military services and the only head of the state alive to have served in the military during World War II bears testimony to her loyalty and devotion towards her country and countrymen. Post the tumultuous phase of the Second World War, Elizabeth, the ‘fairy tale queen’, ushered England in an era of hope and prosperity, thus promulgating a ‘new Elizabethan age’. Patron of innumerable charitable organizations, this magnanimous monarch, has also been the subject of a few controversies and speculations.
During the outbreak of the Second World War, London was subjected to heavy bombardment and Elizabeth and her sister were shifted to Balmoral Castle, Scotland where they stayed until Christmas of 1939. They were later sent to Sandringham House, Norfolk amidst growing concern for their safety.
Till May 1940, she stayed at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, and was later shifted to Windsor Castle where she spent several years.
She was appointed as the Colonel-in-Chief of Grenadier Guards in 1942 and, a year later, she made her first solo public appearance and went to visit the infantry regiment. She also served as one of five Counselors of State in July 1944 when her father, King George VI, was on his trip to Italy.
In 1945, she was appointed to the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary Second Subaltern. Here, she was trained as a driver and mechanic and, within a few months, became Junior Commander of the regiment.
Soon, Princess Elizabeth started accompanying her parents on official trips both within England and abroad.
She was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1946. A year later, on her first official visit with her parents, she travelled through the South African countries.
In 1951, owing to her father’s declining health, she visited Canada and the USA in his stead, as the heir apparent.
While she was on her tour to Kenya, Australia and New Zealand with her husband, her father, King George VI passed away and she was proclaimed the sovereign of the Commonwealth realms over 6th and 7th February 1952.
After her return from Kenya, it was anticipated that the royal house would bear the name of her husband and henceforth be known as the House of Mountbatten.
However, on the insistence of Queen Mary and the then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Elizabeth retained the name ‘House of Windsor’. She was coronated at Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953 in the first ever coronation ceremony to be televised.
During an impasse within the Conservative Party, the queen was bestowed the responsibility of appointing the leader of the party and, heeding the advice of the British cabinet and Winston Churchill, she appointed Harold Macmillan.
She visited United States in 1957 and addressed the United Nations General Assembly as a representative of the Commonwealth Nations. The same year, she also visited Canada and opened the session for the 23rd Canadian parliament, the first monarch of Canada to do so.
In the 1960s and & 70s, the African and the Caribbean countries were rapidly decolonizing and were becoming sovereign states. During the Australian constitutional crisis, her decision of not interfering in the constitutional matter of the country speeded up Australian Republicanism.
Following the victory in the 1991 Gulf War, the Queen addressed a joint session of the United States Congress and became the first British monarch to do so. In her speech in 1992, the year commemorating her 40th anniversary as the queen, she called the year of 1992, her ‘annus horribilis’, meaning the horrible year.
In 2002, the queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee as a monarch and embarked on a trip across her realm, starting in Jamaica in the Caribbean. In 2010, she addressed the United Nations for the second time and, a year later, visited the Republic of Ireland, the first British monarch to do so.
2012 witnessed Elizabeth’s ‘Diamond Jubilee’ as the queen of England and, in July of the same year, she opened both the Olympic and Paralympic games. Later this year, she also became the first sovereign after King George III to have participated in the peace-time Cabinet meeting.
Born to Prince Albert, Duke of York and Elizabeth, daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, Elizabeth II is the grand-daughter of King George V and Queen Mary.
Elizabeth, with her sister Margaret, started her education at home and learned history, French, mathematics, geography along with dancing, singing and art.
Her unruffled childhood took a decisive turn when her grandfather King George V passed away and her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to be with his lady love and twice divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Consequently, Elizabeth’s father was crowned king and she became the crown princess and next in line to the throne.
Elizabeth got married to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, her second cousin once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousin through Queen Victoria, on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey.
Her first son, Prince Charles was born on 14 November, 1948 and, a couple of years later, she also gave birth to Princess Anne. Prince Andrew was born in 1960 while Prince Edward, her fourth child, was born in 1964.
In 1969, she declared Prince Charles her successor and bestowed upon him, the title of Prince of Wales. Prince Charles got married to 19-year-old Diana Spencer in 1981.