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MichaelZ

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Queen Elizabeth II has died


Obituary: Queen Elizabeth II​

    • Published
      14 minutes ago
Equanimity / Queen Elizabeth II by Chris Levine (artist), Rob Munday (holographer) © Jersey Heritage Trust 2004
IMAGE SOURCE, CHRIS LEVINE/ JERSEY HERITAGE TRUST
The long reign of Queen Elizabeth II was marked by her strong sense of duty and her determination to dedicate her life to her throne and to her people.
She became for many the one constant point in a rapidly changing world as British influence declined, society changed beyond recognition and the role of the monarchy itself came into question.
Her success in maintaining the monarchy through such turbulent times was even more remarkable given that, at the time of her birth, no-one could have foreseen that the throne would be her destiny.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born on 21 April 1926, in a house just off Berkeley Square in London, the first child of Albert, Duke of York, second son of George V, and his duchess, the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
Princess Elizabeth at her christening ceremony with her parents
IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
Baby Elizabeth with her parents at her christening
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Both Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret Rose, who was born in 1930, were educated at home and brought up in a loving family atmosphere. Elizabeth was extremely close to both her father and her grandfather, George V.
At the age of six, Elizabeth told her riding instructor that she wanted to become a "country lady with lots of horses and dogs".
She was said to have shown a remarkable sense of responsibility from a very early age. Winston Churchill, the future prime minister, was quoted as saying that she possessed "an air of authority that was astonishing in an infant".
Despite not attending school, Elizabeth proved adept at languages and made a detailed study of constitutional history.
A special Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace, was formed so that she could socialise with girls of her own age.

Increasing tension​

On the death of George V in 1936, his eldest son, known as David, became Edward VIII.
However, his choice of wife, the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, was deemed to be unacceptable on political and religious grounds. At the end of the year he abdicated.
The newly crowned King George VI & Queen Elizabeth with Princesses Elizabeth & Margaret
IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,
Princess Elizabeth, with her parents and younger sister Margaret, at the time of her father's "very, very wonderful" Coronation
Princess Elizabeth makes her first broadcast, accompanied by her younger sister Princess Margaret Rose 12 October 1940 in London
Image caption,
Princesses Elizabeth (right) and Margaret broadcast to the nation in World War Two
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A reluctant Duke of York became King George VI. His Coronation gave Elizabeth a foretaste of what lay in store for her and she later wrote that she had found the service "very, very wonderful".
Against a background of increasing tension in Europe, the new King, together with his wife, Queen Elizabeth, set out to restore public faith in the monarchy. Their example was not lost on their elder daughter.
In 1939, the 13-year-old princess accompanied the King and Queen to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.
Together with her sister Margaret, she was escorted by one of the cadets, her third cousin, Prince Philip of Greece.

Obstacles​

It was not the first time they had met, but it was the first time she took an interest in him.
Prince Philip called on his royal relatives when on leave from the navy, and by 1944, when she was 18, Elizabeth was clearly in love with him. She kept his picture in her room and they exchanged letters.
The young princess briefly joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) towards the end of the war, learning to drive and service a lorry. On VE Day, she joined the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace as thousands gathered in The Mall to celebrate the end of the war in Europe.
"We asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves," she later recalled. "I remember we were terrified of being recognised. I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief."
After the war, her desire to marry Prince Philip faced a number of obstacles.
The King was reluctant to lose a daughter on whom he doted, and Philip had to overcome the prejudice of an establishment that could not accept his foreign ancestry.
Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten
IMAGE SOURCE, PA
Image caption,
Princess Elizabeth's wedding to Philip Mountbatten brightened the post-war gloom
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But the wishes of the couple prevailed and on 20 November 1947 the couple married in Westminster Abbey.
The Duke of Edinburgh, as Philip had become, remained a serving naval officer. For a short time, a posting to Malta meant the young couple could enjoy a relatively normal life.
Their first child, Charles, was born in 1948, followed by a sister, Anne, who arrived in 1950.
But the King, having suffered considerable stress during the war years, was terminally ill with lung cancer, brought about by a lifetime of heavy smoking.
In January 1952, Elizabeth, then 25, set off with Philip for an overseas tour. The King, against medical advice, went to the airport to see the couple off. It was to be the last time Elizabeth would see her father.
Elizabeth heard of the death of the King while staying at a game lodge in Kenya and the new Queen immediately returned to London.
"In a way, I didn't have an apprenticeship," she later recalled. "My father died much too young, so it was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can."

Obituary continued: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-61605149

 

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