When Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born, she was not the direct heir to the throne as her father was the second son of King George V. But after the death of her grandfather and the abdication of her uncle King Edward VIII – both in the same year – Elizabeth’s father became King George VI. The move makes the 10-year-old little princess the next heir.
From this moment on, her life changes as she begins training to be the next monarch.
A few years after the end of World War II, Elizabeth married Prince Philip, who returned from service overseas in 1947. Soon after, they had their first two children, Charles and Anne.
On February 6, 1952, Elizabeth, who was only 25 years old, came to the throne. After eight years as queen, she gave birth to her third child, Andrew, and her last son, Edward, in 1964.
Elizabeth understood the power of the media from a young age and used it to great effect during her reign. At her coronation in 1953, she first asked for cameras to be allowed into Westminster Abbey for televised coverage. She would continue to allow the use of cameras in day-to-day activities, allowing unprecedented access to her private life in the 1969 BBC documentary The Royals, and even dabbled in social media when she joined Twitter in 2014.
As queen, she has served 15 British prime ministers, 12 US presidents, countless heads of state, and visited more than 120 countries.
In 2022, she celebrated her platinum jubilee – marking an incredible 70 years on the throne – and three months later she died in Balmoral, Scotland, at the age of 96. She rests at Windsor Castle with her husband of 73 years.
Last Updated: December 21, 2022
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