Queen Elizabeth II

(Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor)

1926 -

Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Head of the British Commonwealth. Born in London, Her Majesty the Queen has close connections with Scotland, her mother (Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of the Earl of Strathmore) and sister (Princess Margaret) were both born in Glamis Castle in Angus. She was raised by a Scottish governess, the much-loved but later notorious Crawfie. With an official residence at Holyrood Palace and a summer home at Balmoral Castle, the Queen enjoys her time in Scotland, where she typically lives between July and September each year.

Growing up not expecting to be monarch, everything changed when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated and her father reluctantly took the throne as King George VI. His early death brought her coronation in 1953 at Westminster Abbey. At the same abbey in 1947, Elizabeth had married HRH Prince Philip of Greece, who became the Duke of Edinburgh. This union gave rise to four children; namely Prince Charles (Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay), Princess Anne (the Princess Royal), Prince Andrew (Duke of York and Earl of Inverness) and Prince Edward (Earl of Wessex and Earl of Forfar).

She celebrated a successful Silver Jubilee in 1977. However the marriage difficulties of her children brought her upset in the later 20th Century and the death of her sister and mother within weeks of each other in 2002 saddened her deeply. In the same year she celebrated her Golden Jubilee. In 2007, she became the oldest British monarch ever. In 2015, she became the oldest currently-reigning monarch in the world and the longest-reigning British monarch. In 2017, she continued to break longevity records, becoming the first British monarch to celebrate the Sapphire Jubilee (65 years) of a reign and also her 70th wedding anniversary.

While Elizabeth II is widely regarded as providing stability for the nation during periods of change, her role has had to adapt over the years. She inherited a substantial empire and has seen most of these countries gain independence and become part of a Commonwealth, which she heads. At the start of her reign the Royal family were widely loved, but this has changed such that the majority of the British population are now respectful but dispassionate of her position. Criticism led to her volunteering to pay income tax for the first time in 1993 and her popularity suffered as a result of her response to the death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana in 1997, when she chose to protect her grandchildren rather than share in the country's emotional outburst.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better