In Memory of HM Queen Elizabeth II - 1926 - 2022
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on April 21 1926, the elder daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.
As the child of a younger son of King George V, she had little prospect of acceding to the throne. However , once her uncle Edward VIII abdicated on December 11, 1936, her father became King George VI and , she , in turn , the heir presumptive.
In a radio address to the Commonwealth in 1947, on her 21st birthday, she said: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."
On 20 November 1947, she married Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, in a relatively simple ceremony as the country was still recovering from the ravages of World War II.
Princess Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948 and to Princess Anne two years later. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were born in 1960 and 1964 respectively. As Prince Philip's naval wife, off and on between 1949 and 1951, Princess Elizabeth lived in Malta, mainly at Villa Guardamangia, Pietà.
In the summer of 1951, the health of King George VI entered into serious decline. In January 1952 the Princess and Prince set out on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, but en route, at Sagana, Kenya, news reached them of the King's death on February 6, 1952. Elizabeth age 25, now Queen, at once flew back to England. Her coronation was held at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
At the time of her death, Queen Elizabeth held a number of other titles, which have now automatically passed to her son and heir, King Charles III.
She was head of the Commonwealth, commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, and supreme governor of the Church of England. She was also patron of more than 600 charities and organisations.
In 2015, she also became the longest-serving British monarch in history, passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. As head of state and head of nation, Queen Elizabeth II was widely regarded as a symbol of stability, working tirelessly to ensure the monarchy remained relevant during a period of immense social, technological, and economic change.
The Queen's reign saw 15 different UK prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. Away from her official duties, she was a devoted wife and mother, and dedicated grandmother to eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.