From 6 February 1952 until she died in 2022, Queen Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) ruled the United Kingdom and other Crown territories. At the time of her death, she was the monarch of 15 of the 32 independent states she had been queen regnant of during her lifetime. Queen Elizabeth II’s reign lasted 70 and 214 days, making it the longest of any British monarch and the most extended female head of state.
Born to the Duke and Duchess of York in London’s Mayfair, Elizabeth was their first child (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). After King Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936, Elizabeth became the heir apparent when her father ascended to the throne. She received her education at home and entered public service during World War II as a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service
Elizabeth II Early Life
King George V‘s second son, the Duke of York (later King George VI), gave birth to Elizabeth at 2:40 a.m. (GMT) on April 21, 1926. Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) was born via Caesarean section at the London home of her father, the Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. On May 29, she was christened by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the chapel of Buckingham Palace.
She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after her paternal great-grandmother, who had passed away six months prior, and Mary after her paternal grandmother. Her grandfather, King George V, who she lovingly referred to as “Grandpa England,” adored her. Her frequent visits to him during his serious illness in 1929 were credited by the popular press and later biographers with raising his spirits and aiding in his recovery. Her close family called her “Lilibet,” based on what she called herself at first.
Princess Margaret, Elizabeth’s only sibling, entered the world in 1930. The two princesses were homeschooled by their mother and their governess Marion Crawford. Crawford released The Little Princesses, a memoir of Elizabeth and Margaret’s childhood years, in 1950, much to the dismay of the royal family. Lessons focused on history, language, literature, and music. Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as “a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved,” and Winston Churchill called Elizabeth, then two years old, “a character.” Elizabeth’s love of horses and dogs, as well as her orderliness and sense of responsibility, are all reflected in the book.
Elizabeth II Career
In the line of succession to the British throne during her grandfather’s reign, Elizabeth was third in line, after her father and uncle Edward. Despite her birth excitement, Elizabeth was not expected to become queen. With Edward being so young, it was assumed that he would marry and start a family first. After the death of her grandpa in 1936 and the subsequent accession of her uncle Edward VIII, she became the heir apparent after her father.
After his planned marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson sparked a constitutional crisis later that year, Edward abdicated. Because of this, Elizabeth’s father became King George VI, and Elizabeth, who had no brothers, became heir apparent. Male preference primogeniture meant that if her parents had had another child, a son, he would have been the heir apparent and come before her in the line of succession.
Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton College, gave Elizabeth private lessons in constitutional history, and several native French-speaking governesses helped her master the language. So that she may meet other girls her age, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company of the Girl Guides was established. It wasn’t long before she was signed up to become a Sea Ranger.
Elizabeth’s parents visited North America in 1939. Although her family visited Australia and New Zealand in 1927, Elizabeth stayed in the United Kingdom because her father considered her too young to travel with them. It was said that she “looked distraught” when her parents left. She and her parents made history on May 18 by making the first royal transatlantic telephone call.
Who Is Prince Philip?
The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving royal consort in history, marrying Queen Elizabeth II on 6 February 1952 and remaining by her side until he died in 2021 (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, subsequently Philip Mountbatten; 10 June 1921 – 9 April 2021). Philip’s parents were members of the royal houses of Greece and Denmark, and he spent the first eighteen months of his life in exile.
At 18, after attending schools in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. After meeting Princess Elizabeth, the oldest daughter and heir presumptive of King George VI, in 1934, Philip began writing to her in July 1939. He succeeded wildly as a member of the British Mediterranean and Pacific fleets during World War II. The King gave Philip and Elizabeth his blessing to get married in the summer of 1946. Philip gave up his royal titles and styles in Greece and Denmark, became a naturalized British citizen, and changed his last name to Mountbatten before the announcement of his engagement to Princess Margaret in July 1947.
On November 20th, 1947, he wed Elizabeth. The King bestowed upon Philip the appellation His Royal Highness the day before their wedding. Aside from becoming the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich, he also received these titles on the day of their marriage. Philip, who had acquired the rank of commander, quit active duty upon Elizabeth’s accession to the queen in 1952. He became a prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.
Philip and Elizabeth bore four children: Charles III, Anne, Princess Royal, Andrew, Duke of York, and Edward, Earl of Wessex. In 1960, the Queen of the United Kingdom issued a British Order in Council allowing any descendants of herself and Prince Philip. They do not hold a royal title or style to adopt the surname Mountbatten-Windsor.
How Did Elizabeth II Husband Die?
On April 9, 2021, two months before his 100th birthday, Philip passed away in Windsor Castle of “old age.” He was 99. In the annals of monarchical marriages, he holds the record for the longest tenure. Having been by her husband’s side at the time of his death, the Queen has spoken of the “vast gap” his passing has created in her life.
The Countess of Wessex, Philip’s daughter-in-law, informed the press that his passing was “very lovely,” confirming the palace’s report that he died quietly. It was as though someone had led the way and he had followed. As a result of his passing, preparations for Operation Forth Bridge, the public announcement of his death, and funeral arrangements could begin. Regulations for the COVID-19 epidemic limited the number of mourners to thirty.
Thus, the traditional public ceremony could not occur; the press afterward reported that the Queen had refused a government offers to ease the requirements. The funeral occurred on 17 April 2021 in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, and he was interred in the Royal Vault inside St George’s. The Duke’s remains will be transferred to the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George’s after the Queen’s passing.
The High Court ruled that sealing Philip’s will for at least 90 years was necessary to preserve the “dignity and status” of the Queen, as is customary for senior members of the royal family. This sparked concerns that the will could contain information damaging the royal family’s image. After a closed hearing in July 2021, the President of the Family Division issued the order, notwithstanding his claim that he had neither seen the will nor been told of any of its contents.
In January 2022, The Guardian filed an appeal against the judge’s decision to hold the hearing in secret, claiming that the judge “erred by neglecting to consider any milder interference with open justice than a private hearing,” and the newspaper was eventually allowed to appeal. The Court of Appeal rejected the newspaper’s arguments in July 2022, saying it was concerned that publicizing the hearing for the motion to seal the will could spark “the media frenzy that was feared.” The court added that “a perceived lack of transparency might be a matter of legitimate public debate, but the (Non-Contentious Probate Rules) allow wills and their values to be concealed from the public gaze in some cases.”
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