Queen Elizabeth II is the present Queen of England, and she is one of the longest-reigning monarchs in British history. She is also regarded as a queen in Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Her husband is Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is the longest-serving consort in Commonwealth history.
Queen Elizabeth II was the oldest child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and she was born on the 21st of April, 1926 at 17 Burton Street, London. Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary spent much of her early childhood in Piccadilly. She was a fun-loving and confident child who was greatly adored by her parents. Although her father had hoped that she would get her education from a public school, Edward VIII, who was the new king, decided that she should be educated privately instead. The king had a love affair with a divorcee named Wallis Simpson, and the British public strongly opposed the relationship. In the year 1937, Edward VIII was forced to step down from the throne, and he was succeeded by King George VI. Hence, Princess Elizabeth became Heiress Presumptive to the Throne.
After she moved to Buckingham Palace, Princess Elizabeth attended Eton College. She took classes in constitutional history and European history. During the Second World War, she became more involved in the affairs of the country, carrying out a number of responsibilities that were supposedly performed by the Head of State. On the November 20,1947, Princess Elizabeth married the son of Prince Andrew of Greece, Philip Mountbatten. Prince Philip had to renounce his royal titles in Greece and Denmark before the marriage. The marriage was considered a controversial one because it was attended by the Duke’s German relatives, which was unacceptable during the time of post-war Britain. Adding to the controversy was the Duke's lack of financial standing, his Greek Orthodox religion, and the fact that his sisters had married German noblemen with Nazi ties. Furthermore, the wedding was not attended by Princess Mary, the Princess Royal, because former king Edward VIII was not given an invitation.
One year after their marriage, Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles, and their second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950. During a trip to Kenya, the Duke of Edinburgh revealed to Princess Elizabeth that her father had passed away, and she was crowned the new Queen of England on the 2nd of June, 1953. The crowning of Queen Elizabeth II was an event that brought much hope to Great Britain and the Commonwealth nations. In 1960, she gave birth to Prince Andrew, and four years later, Prince Edward was born. Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in November of 1972.
Prince Charles was married to Lady Diana of Spencer on the 24th of February, 1981, and this brought a great joy to Queen Elizabeth II. That same year while attending the Trooping the Colour Ceremony, a teenage boy took out a revolver and fired six shots at the Queen. It was discovered that the gun was actually loaded with blanks. The 1980s would become a very difficult decade for Queen Elizabeth II as she had to deal with the failing marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as well as terrorist attacks and riots that were taking place around the country. Soon, everything seemed to fall apart for the royal family, with the divorces of Prince Andrew and Princess Anne, and the separation of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In August 1997, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh received news that Princess Diana had died in a car accident with a man that she was dating. But somehow, the death of Diana seemed to have strengthened the bonds of the members of the royal family.
Throughout her 57 years’ reign as the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth has contributed significantly to the progress of Great Britain as well as other Commonwealth countries. During her reign, the British monarchy has been transformed into a modern monarchy that is more accessible to the public. She has visited almost all the counties in Great Britain, and she has helped to develop the agricultural, industrial, economical, as well as cultural activities in these regions. Queen Elizabeth has also made royal visits to all the Commonwealth countries. During these visits, she would present awards to distinguished people of the countries and attend important ceremonies. In 1977, she issued the Silver Jubilee Medal to honor Canadians who had made valuable contributions to their country. She had visited Canada on several occasions, and she had attended many significant ceremonies in the country, including the first session of the 23rd Parliament, the opening of St. Lawrence Seaway, Proclamation of the Constitutional Act in 1982, and others.
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