Something You May Don’t Know About Queen Elizabeths

Queen Elizabeths is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations. She holds numerous other titles and honorary roles, which have varied throughout her sixty-three year reign.

Queen Elizabeths

Elizabeth was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. She was educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward.

When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes; such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. As head of state, she is supreme governor of the Church of England and has played a role in promoting the values of The Crown throughout her reign.

Elizabeths many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and tours of Canada in 1947, 1951-52, 1957, and 1959. State visits to countries she has not previously visited include Nigeria in 1956, Mauritius in 1972, Bahamas in 1973, Uganda in 1974, New Zealand and Australia in 1970-71, Canada again in 1977, and China in 1986.

In 1992, she became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress. During her reign there have also beenmajor changes in the structure of the Commonwealth; namely the growth of the Commonwealth Realms into an intergovernmental organisation and the expansion of the organisation’s membership.

Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and press criticism throughout her reign, often due to her personal reserve and for perceived mishandling of various royal crises. However, support for the monarchy remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V. Her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), was the second son of the King. Her mother, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

She was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May 1926. Her godparents were: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (her paternal grandmother); the Prince of Wales (her paternal uncle, later King Edward VIII); and Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (her paternal aunt). Elizabeth lived with her mother during her parents separation in 1936. When her father acceded to the throne that year, she became heir presumptive; if her grandfather died before her father, she would have become queen.

With the death of her great-grandmother Queen Mary in 1953 and the accession of her father as king that year, Elizabeth became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon.

In 1956, she became the first British monarch to visit Australia and New Zealand. During her reign there have also been major changes in the structure of the Commonwealth; namely the growth of the Commonwealth Realms into an intergovernmental organisation and the expansion of the organisation’s membership.

Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and press criticism throughout her reign, often due to her personal reserve and for perceived mishandling of various royal crises. However, support for the monarchy remains high, as does her personal popularity. Elizabeth was born at 02:40 on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V. Her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), was the second son of the King. Her mother, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother), was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne.

She was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May 1926. Her godparents were: Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (her paternal grandmother); the Prince of Wales (her paternal uncle, later King Edward VIII); and Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh (her paternal aunt). Elizabeth lived with her mother during her parents separation in 1936. When her father acceded to the throne that year, she became heir presumptive; if her grandfather died before her father, she would have become queen.

With the death of her great-grandmother Queen Mary in 1953 and the accession of her father as king that year, Elizabeth became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon.

In 1956, she became the first British monarch to visit Australia and New Zealand. During her reign there have also been major changes in the structure of the Commonwealth; namely the growth of the Commonwealth Realms into an intergovernmental organisation and the expansion of the organisation’s membership.

Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and press criticism throughout her reign, often due to her personal reserve and for perceived mishandling of various royal crises. However, support for the monarchy remains high, as does her personal popularity.

The Queen’s coronation took place on 2 June 1953, more than a year after her accession to the throne. The ceremony was televised for the first time and was also broadcast on radio. Elizabeth took the Oath of Allegiance and the Royal oath, pledging to govern her peoples “according to their respective laws and customs”. She then solemnly swore “to maintain in Scotland the Church of Scotland established by law”. In England, she pledged to uphold the laws enacted by Parliament. The Archbishop of Canterbury then crowned Elizabeth using Mary I’s crown, which had been remodelled for the occasion.

During the service, a Bible was opened at random and Elizabeth’s finger pointed to a verse from the Book of Wisdom: “Be thyself the example of thy people in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity”.

After the death of her father George VI on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25. During her coronation ceremony on 2 June 1953 she took the Oath of Allegiance and the Royal oath, pledging to govern her peoples “according to their respective laws and customs”. She then solemnly swore “to maintain in Scotland the Church of Scotland established by law”. In England, she pledged to uphold the laws enacted by Parliament. The Archbishop of Canterbury then crowned Elizabeth using Mary I’s crown, which had been remodelled for the occasion.

Elizabeth’s first state visit was to Canada in October 1951. From there she travelled to the United States, where she met with President Harry S. Truman at the White House. The visit was a great success and boosted Anglo-American relations. In February 1952, Elizabeth visited Malta, where she was greeted by large crowds.

The tour continued to Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Sudan (now South Sudan), Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Ivory Coast (now Cote d’Ivoire), Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Senegal.

Elizabeth’s first state visit after her coronation was to West Germany in May 1965. The following year she toured Canada and the United States. In 1967, she became the first reigning monarch to visit an Pope when she met with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican City.

In 1972, Elizabeth paid a state visit to the Soviet Union, becoming the first British monarch to do so. The trip was designed to improve Anglo-Soviet relations, which were strained at the time due to the Cold War.

Elizabeth has made several other state visits throughout her reign, including trips to Australia (1954, 1963, 1970, 1974), New Zealand (1963, 1970), South Africa (1995), India (1997), Pakistan (1997), France (1998), China (1986), Sudan (1992), Nigeria (2003) and Jamaica (2005).

In September 2015, Elizabeth became the longest-reigning monarch in British history, surpassing the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

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