RIP Queen Elizabeth II,
gone to join her beloved Prince Philip.
May your souls rest in peace
The Queen ruled longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.
The Queen carried out all of her duties against the backdrop of a full personal life which saw her raise four children and welcome grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren to the Royal Family. Her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh was – in her own words – her ‘strength and stay’ during her reign, whilst other members of the Royal Family continued to offer vital support through their work in the UK and overseas.
The then Princess Elizabeth was born in Mayfair in 1926. Her family did not expect that she would one day become Monarch. Her Royal Highness was expected to live a relatively normal, if privileged, life with her close-knit and loving family. But everything changed in December 1936, when her uncle – King Edward VIII – abdicated, leaving her father as King, and her as next in line to the throne.
The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York – who later became King George VI – and Queen Elizabeth. She was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary at Buckingham Palace on 29 May that year. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.
The Princess’s early years were spent in Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park. In 1930, Princess Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret Rose was born. The family of four was very close.
Princess Elizabeth’s quiet family life came to an end in 1936, when her grandfather, King George V, died. His eldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, King Edward VIII had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson.
Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 the two Princesses attended their parents’ Coronation in Westminster Abbey. Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne, and a figure of even more intense public interest.
After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936, Princess Elizabeth started to study constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met when they attended the wedding of Prince Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece to The Duke of Kent, who was an uncle of Princess Elizabeth, in 1934. Their engagement was announced on 9 July 1947 and the couple were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. The event was fairly simple, as Britain was still recovering from the war, and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral.
Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, now The Princess Royal, two years later.
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip lived in Malta between 1949 and 1951, where Prince Philip was an officer in the Mediterranean Fleet.
In 1952, King George VI’s health was poor, and illness forced him to abandon a proposed Commonwealth tour. Princess Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Philip, took his place. On Wednesday 6 February 1952, she received the news of her father’s death and her own Accession to the throne while staying in a remote part of Kenya. In an instant, she had ceased to be Princess Elizabeth and became Queen Elizabeth II.
Following the news, the tour was abandoned, and the young Princess flew back to Britain as Queen. She was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport before returning to Clarence House, where the Royal Standard was flown for the first time in her reign.
The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. Crowds of people viewed the procession all along the route, despite heavy rain. The ceremony was also broadcast on radio around the world and, at The Queen’s request, on television for the first time.
After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, their third child, Prince Andrew, arrived in 1960 and the fourth, Prince Edward, in 1964. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s grandchildren are Peter and Zara Phillips (b. 1977 and 1981); Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1982 and 1984); Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1988 and 1990); and The Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b.2003 and 2007).
Their great grandchildren are Savannah Phillips (b. 2010 and Isla Phillips (b. 2012), children of Peter and Autumn Phillips; Prince George (b. 2013), Princess Charlotte (b. 2015), and Prince Louis (b. 2018) children of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Mia Tindall (b.2014), Lena Tindall (b. 2018) and Lucas Tindall (b. 2021), children of Zara and Mike Tindall; Archie Mountbatten-Windsor (b. 2019) and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor (b. 2021), children of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex; and August Brooksbank (b. 2021), son of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
In 2007 The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary (60 years). During a speech at the lunch to mark their Golden Wedding at London’s Guildhall in 1997 Her Majesty said of His Royal Highness: ‘He is someone who doesn’t take easily to compliments. He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.’
The Queen’s reign has been punctuated by an unprecedented series of milestones. Her Majesty’s jubilees and birthdays have provided cause for celebration and reflection throughout the remarkable years since her Accession. In 1977 The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was marked with celebrations throughout the UK and Commonwealth. In 2002, the Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2007. The Diamond Jubilee was marked with a spectacular central weekend and a series of regional tours throughout the UK and Commonwealth. On 9th September 2015 The Queen became Britain’s Longest Reigning Monarch. The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday on 21 April 2016 and her official birthday on 11 June 2016, the second day of three days of national celebrations.
Throughout the Queen’s life, and despite her incredibly busy programme of engagements and duties as Head of State, the Queen managed to maintain hobbies and interests away from her official work. An animal lover since childhood, her greatest passions are for horses and dogs. The Queen took a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses and annually attended the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911. As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, Her Majesty often visited other race meetings to watch her horses run, and also frequently attended equestrian events. The Queen’s horses have won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. The Queen also enjoyed walking in the countryside and spending time with her dogs. For her eighteenth birthday, The Queen was given a Corgi named Susan from whom numerous successive dogs were bred. Some Corgis were mated with dachshunds (most notably Pipkin, who belonged to Princess Margaret) to create ‘Dorgis’, and Her Majesty owned Corgis and Dorgis ever since.
The Queen’s beloved husband, Prince Philip, died at the age of 99, on 9 April 2021. The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said it was “a moment of sadness” for the country and “most particularly, for the Queen losing her husband of 73 years – a bigger span of years than most of us can imagine”. He said Prince Philip had made “a huge contribution to the success of the Queen’s reign”, describing the duke as “utterly loyal in his belief in the importance of the role that the Queen was fulfilling – and in his duty to support her”. “It was the importance of the solidity of that relationship, of their marriage, that was so crucial to the success of her reign,” he added.
On 20 February 2022, Queen Elizabeth tested positive for Covid-19 just days after Prince Charles and Camilla also tested positive. Concerns grew for Queen Elizabeth’s wellbeing, as she cancelled her attendance at virtual engagements.
On Tuesday 6 September 2022, the Queen welcomed Liz Truss at Balmoral, and asked her to form a government after the resignation of Boris Johnson. Liz Truss has become the 15th Prime Minister during the Queen’s reign. The monarch has been at Balmoral since July 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, died on 8 September 2022. She was 96 years old.
You’ve Earned It/YEI sends its deepest and sincerest condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II as well as the British public and royalists around the world.
Information, courtesy of https://www.royal.uk/her-majesty-the-queen