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Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, in London, England. She was the oldest child of Prince Albert and his wife Elizabeth. Her father was second in line to the throne and later became King George VI of Great Britain and Ireland in 1936 when his older brother Edward VIII gave up the throne. Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were homeschooled and were taught by their mother Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Their parents were trying to teach them about royal standards, so their parents would hand them political articles to read and then eventually they ended up studying the British constitution. Elizabeth and her sister wrote a book called Crawfie. It was about raising the royal daughters.
At age 16, the fume of World War II broke out, Elizabeth had asked her father if she could serve as a volunteer nurse in bomb damaged areas in London, but her father thought it was way to dangerous for her to work in. When she was 18, her father allowed her to work voluntarily with the Royal Auxiliary Territorial Service. He only allowed her to because he knew how much his daughter loved serving others. While working there she was trained to drive and repair vehicles even though she was not allowed to drive any of the vehicles.
As a teenager, Elizabeth started to make her first appearance. Since she was a daughter of a royal King, her father would mainly be seen. Around the time, she started making appearances, she also started crushing on her distant cousin, Prince Philip of Greece. When she turned 20, she got engaged to him. Her father disapproved of her getting engaged at 20 years old. He had nothing against Philip he just felt like she was too young to consider marriage. Eventually her father became okay with her falling in love with Philip so they got married after he renounced his Greek citizenship and title. Four years later, Elizabeth got the message that her father passed away while she and Philip were on a trip to Kenya. She then became Queen Elizabeth II.
Once Elizabeth became the Queen, she also became the Head of State in all Commonwealth Realms which also means that she is also the Queen of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu. At the beginning of November in 1953, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made a sixth month trip around the world on a tour of the Commonwealth. It also included the first visit to New Zealand and Australia by a reigning British monarch. This was one of her many perks she got since becoming the Queen.
Her duties as the Queen were very ceremonial. Elizabeth has always worked with Time Magazine. In 1952 she became Woman of the Year because she insisted on making sure her children went to normal schools, although the royal definition of “ordinary” meant that her children would go to a very nice private school. In 1952, she also tried to make the British monarchy more modern and more sensitive to the public. She started hosting informal luncheons at Buckingham Palace, which was her home. She welcomed a variety of people from all different types of fields such as industry, theater, and sports. She had opened it to the public so people could get to know her a little better since she had not been the Queen for long. She showed interest and skill in using of the media for royally approved documentaries and in television broadcasts. The most popular attempts Elizabeth made to become more accessible was the walkabouts, where she met and shook hands with ordinary people. She even would chat with the crowds that gathered around her. These small kind things revealed some things about her character as a person. It also fulfilled her idea that she had to be seen to be believed.
Elizabeth became very popular because of her worldwide travels. Her alert and enthusiastic attitude contributed to all the love she got from people everywhere she traveled. From 1970-1985 she had a full schedule. She visited France in spring of 1972, attended the Commonwealth Conference in Ottawa in 1973, and took part in the United States celebration of the 200th anniversary of American independence from England. In the summer of 1976, she went to Montreal to open the Summer Olympics. She also traveled 56,000 miles as part of her 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations which marked her 25th year as Queen. In 1978, she traveled to Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.
In April 1982, the Queen made an important visit to Ottawa, Canada where she proclaimed the New Canadian constitution, which means she cut the last legal links between the United Kingdom and Canada. In March 1984, she also made a visit to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, Mexico, California, and British Columbia, Canada. While on her first trip to the west coast of North America in California, she made 20 some public appearances including a visit with Prince Philip to President Ronald Reagan’s Santa Barbara ranch and also to Yosemite National Park. Elizabeth went to North America again in 1984 visiting Canada for the 14th time and afterwards again to the United States.
During her travels, Elizabeth celebrated many delight personal events, such as her 25th wedding anniversary with Prince Philip on November 20, 1972. On that very same day 100 couples from all over Britain joined the queen and Prince Philip to share the occasion.
On November 14, 1973, Princess Anne, Elizabeth’s daughter, married Mark Philips and later had two children, Peter and Zara. Becoming a grandmother was one of the Queen’s happiest moments. Her eldest son Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981. They had two sons, Prince William and Prince Henry. Her other son, Prince Andrew, married Sarah Ferguson on July 23, 1986 and they had two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Queen Elizabeth had a total of 6 grandchildren. Another one of the queen’s happiest events was when she got the Silver Jubilee in 1977.
She was invited to many sports events, festivals, carnivals, races, concerts, commemorative stamps, and other activities. On May 4, 1977, both Houses of Parliament presented Elizabeth II with loyal address in the Westminster Hall at St. Paul’s Cathedral. In June, the Queen and her family celebrated a Thanksgiving service. At the Thanksgiving service the Queen talked about her concerns for people who were victims of human conflict. She traveled widely to meet people during the year she was presented with the Silver Jubilee and established the Silver Jubilee Trust Fund, which was designed to help the young to help others. Elizabeth became more confident, more open, and more ready to reveal her sense of humor.
In the late 1980s Elizabeth became very concerned over England and the future of her royal family. The British press repeatedly reported the problems in her children’s marriages. Elizabeth later found out that her son Prince Charles was not interested in taking on the throne after his mother. There then were rumors that Elizabeth was going to hand over the throne to her grandson Prince William. All troubles just seemed to arise in the year 1992, and she herself called it a terrible year. Her daughter, Princess Anne’s, 20-year marriage ended in a divorce.
Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, her sons, had officially separated from their wives. Another thing added on to the list is on the night of November 20, a fire badly damaged a good section of Windsor Castle one of Queen Elizabeth’s other homes. After the public found out her house partly burned down they paid for it with taxpayers’ money. The British people felt that the Queen deserved it. Two days later Buckingham Palace announced that they were going to restore everything she had lost. So, her year ended on a happier note and she was happy to find out that her daughter Princess Anne remarried on December 12.
In 1995, Elizabeth wrote a letter to Prince Charles and Princess Diana advising them to divorce, because they were shown on live television while they were being interviewed about their relationship and they both discussed their unhappy 14-year marriage. They got divorced in 1996. Regardless of their family problems, Elizabeth still generally remained popular. After August 1997, her former daughter in law Princess Diana died. Elizabeth was surprised by the criticism, she was told that she broke the tradition. So on live broadcast the day before the funeral she addressed the whole nation paying tribute to Diana. Her kind gesture was seen very significant because she usually only addressed the nation only on Christmas Day. That was the only second exception in her reign of 45 years.
In regards to all her problems and public stresses, Elizabeth refused to let all that slow her down. She continued to enjoy time with her family and country life. It was very likewise that Elizabeth would continue to practice her royal duties. She started hosting both British and foreign leaders and received visitors from overseas. Elizabeth was also the head of the navy, army, and air force of Great Britain. She is also a president or financial supporter of more than 700 organizations. In 1998, one of her accomplishments was opening the new British Library in London. On February 6, 2002, she delivered her Golden Jubilee message to the United Kingdom. In that same year, it also marked her 55th anniversary of her rise to the throne. Queen Elizabeth is the only 5th monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee, she is truly an inspiration.
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