- Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip's engagement was initially criticized.
- Her father, King George, died in 1952.
- Elizabeth II began her public duties during World War II.
Queen Elizabeth II is currently 93 years old. She was born April 21st, 1926 and has lived through many extraordinary events. Queen Elizabeth II is the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. Her father later became King George VI after his brother King Edward VIII abdicated the throne.
Elizabeth II was not expected to take the throne, since she was behind her uncle and father for the crown. Her grandfather, King George V, died in 1936. Her uncle succeeded the throne and became Edward VIII. However, he abdicated it after his proposed marriage to Wallis Simpson, a divorced socialite. Elizabeth’s father, George VI, took over the throne, and Elizabeth became heir presumptive. She and her sister were privately educated as children.
Despite criticism, Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on November 20, 1947. Elizabeth began her duties during World War II. King George VI died in February of 1952. Elizabeth was coronated on June 2nd, 1953. She became the head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent countries including: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, which later became Sri Lanka.
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband embarked on a 7-month tour in 1953. She visited 13 countries and went over 40,000 miles by land, sea, and air. Huge crowds awaited her wherever she went. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, over 20 African and Caribbean countries gained their independence from Britain to be self-governing. During those years, Britain also hoped to be a part of the European community. The country became a member in 1973.
1977 was the Silver Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II's accession. The Commonwealth celebrated with parties and events in the Queen’s honor. In the 1980’s, Elizabeth II was shot at in London and New Zealand. The queen became the object of satire in the late 1980’s.
In 1991, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a United States Congress joint meeting. She also endured the scandal of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s divorce in the 1990’s. Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris in 1997, and the Queen was initially criticized over her reaction to Princess Diana's death. The criticism subsided after she held a live television broadcast the day before Diana’s funeral.
2002 was Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating her 50 years on the throne. Elizabeth became the longest-reigning British monarch in history in September of 2015. Queen Elizabeth has been the leader of the royal family for over 70 years. She helped make the British monarchy’s image modern and relevant. She was present during the marriages of her son, Prince Charles, and grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
In recent years, the Queen has had Prince Charles stand in for her at events. However, it is very unlikely she will abdicate the throne. At the age of 96, the Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, stepped down from his royal duties in 2017. The queen continues to make public appearances and be the leader of the British royal family.