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Mighty Monarch

On April 21,2016, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday. As the longest-reigning British monarch, mother of four, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of five, her life has been devoted to service – and doing it with flair.

Mighty Monarch

April 21, 1926 – A Princess is Born

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary arrives at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, the London residence of her mother’s parents. As the daughter of Prince Albert, the Duke of York, she is third-in-line to the throne. Had she been the heir apparent, her birth would most likely have taken place at Buckingham Palace.

October 13, 1940 – Her first Public Speech

At the age of 14, and now the heir, Princess Elizabeth broadcast on the BBC Radio programme Children’s Hour during the final weeks of the Battle of Britain. Speaking to the children of the Commonwealth, some of whom had been evacuated to safe havens, she offers her support and understanding of the sadness they must be feeling at being separated from their parents.

“We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.” Queen Elizabeth II on the Children's Hour

April 21, 1944 – Her First Corgi

Princess Elizabeth is given Susan , a Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy and a lifelong love is forged. Many of the Queen’s 30-plus corgis have been Susan’s descendants.

March 1945 – Learns to Drive

Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor joins the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, at Camberley, Surrey. Here she is taught to drive by Maud MacLellan. The Queen is the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence.

February 6, 1952 – Long Live the Queen

Princess Elizabeth is at a fishing lodge in Kenya with her husband of four years, Prince Philip, when she learns her father, King George VI, has died in his sleep at the age of 56. Suddenly finding herself Queen and head of the Commonwealth, she immediately boards a plane back to England.

June 2, 1953 – The Coronation

On the day that 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth is officially anointed and crowned, 8251 guests attend Westminster Abbey to witness the almost three-hour service. Participating in the Sovereign’s procession at the commencement of the coronation are some 250 representatives of Crown, Church and State. Eight Prime Ministers of Commonwealth nations are in attendance, including the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and India.

What’s in a Name?

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.

Did You Know?

Her Majesty’s portrait has appeared on banknotes in every continent except Antarctica. Today, her image is on banknotes or coins of at least 20 countries.

November 24, 1953 – A First Full Commonwealth Tour

One of her first duties as Queen is to visit many of the member nations of the Commonwealth. The tour lasts until May 1954 and covers 14 countries and over 70,000 kilometres.

December 25, 1953 – First Christmas Broadcast abroad

The Queen’s second Christmas Broadcast is made live on radio from Auckland, New Zealand. She speaks of feeling at home in Auckland, despite its distance from London, and extends her sympathy to the families of the 151 victims of the Tangiwai train disaster the previous night. It wasn’t until 1957 that the Christmas message was televised live. Since 1960, the address has been pre-recorded so it can be transmitted around the world at the appropriate time.

February 19, 1960 – Birth of Prince Andrew

While no doubt the birth of all her children is worthy of mention, Prince Andrew’s birth is the first child to a reigning British monarch in 103 years. The last had been Princess Beatrice, the youngest of Queen Victoria’s children, who was born in 1857.

1970 – Steps Out on Tour

During a visit to Sydney, the Queen breaks with tradition and makes her first walkabout to greet the public, as do Prince Philip and Princess Anne. This has since become a regular activity.

1974 – A Friendship Between Two Monarchs

The Queen hosts a State Banquet at Claridge’s in London to welcome the King of Malaysia, Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah. Elizabeth was Queen of Malaya and British Borneo until Malaysian independence in 1957 and ties remain friendly and close. As Sultan of Kedah, Abdul Halim is the third longest-serving living monarch at 57 years, behind Rama IX of Thailand (69) and Elizabeth II (64). Kingship of Malaysia rotates among its nine sultans. Abdul Halim began his second reign in 2011.

February 24, 1986 – Sunny Side Up?

While on tour in Auckland, New Zealand, the Queen is given a less-than-royal reception by anti-royalists who throw eggs at her. Still, Her Majesty sees the funny side. Addressing a State dinner three days later, she quips: “New Zealand has long been renowned for its dairy produce, though I should say that I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast.”

November 24, 1992 – That Speech

Despite 1992 being the Queen’s 40th anniversary as monarch, she finds little to celebrate when an extensively damaging fire at Windsor Castle wraps up a difficult year of very public personal scandals within the royal family. It is a year she describes as her annus horribilis – Latin for horrible year.

Frequent Traveller

In the 64 years of her reign, the Queen has visited 116 countries on 265 official visits – including 82 state visits. Her last was in November 2015 to Malta, where she and Prince Philip lived after their marriage. Yet her Majesty does not have a passport as British passports are issued in her name, so she does not need to possess one.

April 9, 2005 – Charles and Camilla Wed

After years of speculation, Prince Charles marries Camilla Parker Bowles. The Queen hosts the couple’s wedding reception in the State Apartments of Windsor Castle, and expresses delight at the union: “My son is home and dry with the woman he loves.”

“It is rather nice to hibernate for a bit when one leads such a moveable life.”Queen Elizabeth II on her tradition of taking August and September off for a summer break at Balmoral Castle, Scotland.

2012 – London Games and Diamond Jubilee

Her Majesty stars as herself in a James Bond spoof sequence during the Olympics Opening Ceremony alongside 007 himself (played by Daniel Craig). The Queen reportedly enjoys her movie debut greatly, particularly as, with the exception of Prince Philip, the four-and-a-half-minute scene is filmed without her family knowing, takes just one shooting and also stars her corgis Monty, Willow and Holly.

July 24, 2014 – Queen Photobombs Selfie

During the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, a smiling Her Majesty delights Australian hockey players Jayde Taylor and Brooke Peris by photobombing their selfie (right). Snapped as the team was warming down after a 4-0 win in their opening game, the girls had hoped to catch the Queen walking by, but ended up with a beaming monarch. She certainly looks like she was enjoying herself.

September 9, 2015 – Longest Reigning British Monarch

Celebrates a lifetime of service, longer than any other British monarch.



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