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Elizabeth II

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Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II greets NASA GSFC employees, May 8, 2007 edit.jpg
Queen of the United Kingdom and
the other Commonwealth realms[show]
Reign 6 February 1952present
2 June 1953
George VI
Heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales
Prime Ministers
See list
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (m. 1947)
Charles, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Full name
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
House Windsor
Father George VI
Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
21 April 1926 (age 88)
Mayfair, London, England,
United Kingdom
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926)[a] is the constituti
onal monarch of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations. She i
s also Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Upon her accession on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth
and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingd
om, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon. Her coron
ation the following year was the first to be televised. From 1956 to 1992, the n
umber of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms be
came republics. Today, in addition to the first four of the aforementioned count
ries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New G
uinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, B
elize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. She is the longest-lived
and, after her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, the second longest-reigni
ng British monarch.
Elizabeth was born in London and educated privately at home. Her father acceded
to the throne as George VI on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936,
from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public dut
ies during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territoria
l Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she
has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
Elizabeth's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Repub
lic of Ireland, the first state visit of an Irish president to Britain, and reci
procal visits to and from the Pope. She has seen major constitutional changes, s
uch as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decoloniza
tion of Africa. She has also reigned through various wars and conflicts involvin
g many of her realms.

Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her chi
ldren and grandchildren, the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and the celebra
tion of milestones such as her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 200
2, and 2012, respectively. Moments of sorrow for her include the death of her fa
ther at 56, the assassination of Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, the br
eakdown of her children's marriages in 1992 (a year deemed her annus horribilis)
, the death in 1997 of her son's former wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the
deaths of her mother and sister in 2002. Elizabeth has occasionally faced republ
ican sentiments and severe press criticism of the royal family, but support for
the monarchy and her personal popularity remain high.
Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Heir presumptive
2.1 Second World War
2.2 Marriage and family
3 Reign
3.1 Accession and coronation
3.2 Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth
3.3 Silver Jubilee
3.4 1980s
3.5 1990s
3.6 Golden Jubilee
3.7 Diamond Jubilee and beyond
4 Public perception and character
4.1 Finances
5 Titles, styles, honours and arms
5.1 Titles and styles
5.2 Arms
6 Issue
7 Ancestry
8 See also
9 Notes
10 References
11 Bibliography
12 External links
Early life
Elizabeth as a thoughtful-looking toddler with curly, fair hair
Princess Elizabeth aged 3, 1929
Elizabeth is the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George V
I), and his wife, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth). Her father
was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. Her mother was the youngest
daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and
Kinghorne. She was born by Caesarean section at 2.40 am (GMT) on 21 April 1926 a
t her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair.[1] She was
baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private
chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May,[2][b] and named Elizabeth after her mothe
r, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, and Mary
after her paternal grandmother.[4] Her close family called her "Lilibet".[5] Geo
rge V cherished his granddaughter, and during his serious illness in 1929 her re
gular visits were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with ra
ising his spirits and aiding his recovery.[6]
Elizabeth's only sibling, Princess Margaret, was four years younger. The two pri
ncesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their go
verness, Marion Crawford, who was casually known as "Crawfie".[7] Lessons concen
trated on history, language, literature and music.[8] To the dismay of the royal
family,[9] in 1950 Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's c
hildhood years entitled The Little Princesses. The book describes Elizabeth's lo

ve of horses and dogs, her orderliness and her attitude of responsibility.[10] O

thers echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she w
as two as "a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishi
ng in an infant."[11] Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly littl
e girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".[12]
Heir presumptive
Elizabeth as a rosy-cheeked young girl with blue eyes and fair hair
Princess Elizabeth aged 7, painted by Philip de Lszl, 1933
During her grandfather's reign, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to
the throne, behind her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke
of York. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to b
ecome Queen, as the Prince of Wales was still young and many assumed that he wou
ld marry and have children of his own.[13] In 1936, when her grandfather, George
V, died and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to th
e throne, after her father. Later that year Edward abdicated, after his proposed
marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis.
[14] Consequently, Elizabeth's father became King, and she became heir presumpti
ve. If her parents had had a later son, she would have lost her position as firs
t-in-line, as her brother would have been heir apparent and above her in the lin
e of succession.[15]
Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten,
Vice-Provost of Eton College,[16] and learned French from a succession of native
-speaking governesses.[17] A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Comp
any, was formed specifically so that she could socialise with girls her own age.
[18] Later she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger.[17]
In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured Canada and the United States. As in 1927, wh
en her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Brita
in, since her father thought her too young to undertake public tours.[19] Elizab
eth "looked tearful" as her parents departed.[20] They corresponded regularly,[2
0] and she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call on
18 May.[19]
Second World War
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War, which lasted until 1945
. During the war, London was frequently subject to aerial bombardment, and many
of London's children were evacuated. The suggestion by senior politician Lord Ha
ilsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Eli
zabeth's mother, who declared, "The children won't go without me. I won't leave
without the King. And the King will never leave."[21] Princesses Elizabeth and M
argaret stayed at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they mov
ed to Sandringham House, Norfolk.[22] From February to May 1940, they lived at R
oyal Lodge, Windsor, until moving to Windsor Castle, where they lived for most o
f the next five years.[23] At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomimes at Chris
tmas in aid of the Queen's Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military ga
rments.[24] In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast du
ring the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated
from the cities.[25] She stated:
We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen,
and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We
know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.[25]
Elizabeth in Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, April 1945
Princess Elizabeth (left, in uniform) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with (
left to right) her mother Queen Elizabeth, British Prime Minister Winston Church

ill, King George VI, and Princess Margaret, 8 May 1945

In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance
on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed Colonel the
previous year.[26] As she approached her 18th birthday, the law was changed so t
hat she could act as one of five Counsellors of State in the event of her father
's incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944.[27] In
February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an hono
rary Second Subaltern with the service number of 230873.[28] She trained as a dr
iver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months late
At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, the princesses Elizab
eth and Margaret mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets
of London. Elizabeth later said in a rare interview, "We asked my parents if we
could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recogn
ised ... I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whiteh
all, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief."[31]
During the war, plans were drawn up to quell Welsh nationalism by affiliating El
izabeth more closely with Wales. Proposals, such as appointing her Constable of
Caernarfon Castle or a patron of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (the Welsh League of Youth),
were abandoned for various reasons, which included a fear of associating Elizab
eth with conscientious objectors in the Urdd, at a time when Britain was at war.
[32] Welsh politicians suggested that she be made Princess of Wales on her 18th
birthday. The idea was supported by the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, but re
jected by the King because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a
Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.[33]
In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eiste
ddfod of Wales.[34]
In 1947 Princess Elizabeth went on her first overseas tour, accompanying her par
ents through southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Com
monwealth on her 21st birthday, she made the following pledge:
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.[35]
Marriage and family
Main article: Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edin
Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 a
nd 1937.[36] They are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of D
enmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. After another meeting at the Ro
yal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeththough only 13 years oldsaid
she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters.[37] Their enga
gement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.[38]
The engagement was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, wa
s foreign-born (though a British subject who had served in the Royal Navy during
the Second World War), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Naz
i links.[39] Marion Crawford wrote, "Some of the King's advisors did not think h
im good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom. Some of the p
apers played long and loud tunes on the string of Philip's foreign origin."[40]
Elizabeth's mother was reported, in later biographies, to have opposed the union
initially, even dubbing Philip "The Hun".[41] In later life, however, she told
biographer Tim Heald that Philip was "an English gentleman".[42]
Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted fro
m Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountb

atten, taking the surname of his mother's British family.[43] Just before the we
dding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style His Royal Highness
Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They
received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world.[45] Because Britain had not
yet completely recovered from the devastation of the war, Elizabeth required rat
ion coupons to buy the material for her gown, which was designed by Norman Hartn
ell.[46] In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh's
German relations, including his three surviving sisters, to be invited to the we
dding.[47] The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII, was not invited eithe
Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948. On
e month earlier, the King had issued letters patent allowing her children to use
the style and title of a royal prince or princess, to which they otherwise woul
d not have been entitled as their father was no longer a royal prince.[49] A sec
ond child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.[50]
Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor, near Windsor Castle,
until 4 July 1949,[45] when they took up residence at Clarence House in London.
At various times between 1949 and 1951, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in
the British Crown colony of Malta as a serving Royal Navy officer. He and Elizab
eth lived intermittently, for several months at a time, in the hamlet of Gwardam
ana, at Villa Guardamangia, the rented home of Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten.
The children remained in Britain.[51]
Accession and coronation
Elizabeth in crown and robes next to her husband in military uniform
Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953
Coronation of Elizabeth II
Main article: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
During 1951, George VI's health declined and Elizabeth frequently stood in for h
im at public events. When she toured Canada and visited President Harry S. Truma
n in Washington, D.C., in October 1951, her private secretary, Martin Charteris,
carried a draft accession declaration in case the King died while she was on to
ur.[52] In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and
New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6 February 1952, they had just returned to their
Kenyan home, Sagana Lodge, after a night spent at Treetops Hotel, when word arr
ived of the death of the King. Philip broke the news to the new Queen.[53] Marti
n Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name; she chose to remain Elizabeth, "o
f course".[54] She was proclaimed queen throughout her realms and the royal part
y hastily returned to the United Kingdom.[55] She and the Duke of Edinburgh move
d into Buckingham Palace.[56]
With Elizabeth's accession, it seemed probable that the royal house would bear h
er husband's name, becoming the House of Mountbatten, in line with the custom of
a wife taking her husband's surname on marriage. British Prime Minister Winston
Churchill and Elizabeth's grandmother, Queen Mary, favoured the retention of th
e House of Windsor, and so on 9 April 1952 Elizabeth issued a declaration that W
indsor would continue to be the name of the royal house. The Duke complained, "I
am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children
."[57] In 1960, after the death of Queen Mary in 1953 and the resignation of Chu
rchill in 1955, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted for Philip and Eliza
beth's male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.[58]
[show]British Royal Family
Amid preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret informed her sister that

she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorcee 16 years Margaret's senior, with
two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them to wait for a year; i
n the words of Martin Charteris, "the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards th
e Princess, but I think she thoughtshe hopedgiven time, the affair would peter out
."[59] Senior politicians were against the match and the Church of England did n
ot permit remarriage after divorce. If Margaret contracted a civil marriage, she
would be expected to renounce her right of succession.[60] Eventually, she deci
ded to abandon her plans with Townsend.[61] In 1960, she married Antony Armstron
g-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon the following year. They were divorced
in 1978; she did not remarry.[62]
Despite the death of Queen Mary on 24 March, the coronation went ahead, as Mary
had asked before she died, taking place as planned on 2 June 1953.[63] The cerem
ony in Westminster Abbey, with the exception of the anointing and communion, was
televised for the first time.[64][c] Elizabeth's coronation gown was commission
ed from Norman Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral embl
ems of the Commonwealth countries:[68] English Tudor rose; Scots thistle; Welsh
leek; Irish shamrock; Australian wattle; Canadian maple leaf; New Zealand silver
fern; South African protea; lotus flowers for India and Ceylon; and Pakistan's
wheat, cotton, and jute.[69]
Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth
Further information: Historical development of the Commonwealth realms
A formal group of Elizabeth in tiara and evening dress with eleven prime ministe
rs in evening dress or national costume.
Elizabeth II and her Commonwealth Prime Ministers, at the 1960 Commonwealth Prim
e Minister's Conference, Windsor Castle
The Queen witnessed, over her life, the continued transformation of the British
Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations.[70] By the time of her accession in 195
2, her role as head of multiple independent states was already established.[71]
Spanning 195354, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-wor
ld tour. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to v
isit those nations.[72] During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of
the population of Australia were estimated to have seen her.[73] Throughout her
reign, the Queen has undertaken state visits to foreign countries and tours of C
ommonwealth ones and she is the most widely travelled head of state in history.[
In 1956, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony
Eden discussed the possibility of France joining the Commonwealth. The proposal
was never accepted and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome, whi
ch established the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Un
ion.[75] In November 1956, Britain and France invaded Egypt in an ultimately uns
uccessful attempt to capture the Suez Canal. Lord Mountbatten claimed the Queen
was opposed to the invasion, though Eden denied it. Eden resigned two months lat
The absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a l
eader meant that, following Eden's resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide w
hom to commission to form a government. Eden recommended that she consult Lord S
alisbury, the Lord President of the Council. Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir, th
e Lord Chancellor, consulted the British Cabinet, Winston Churchill, and the Cha
irman of the backbench 1922 Committee, resulting in the Queen appointing their r
ecommended candidate: Harold Macmillan.[77]
The Suez crisis and the choice of Eden's successor led in 1957 to the first majo
r personal criticism of the Queen. In a magazine, which he owned and edited,[78]
Lord Altrincham accused her of being "out of touch".[79] Altrincham was denounc
ed by public figures and physically attacked by a member of the public appalled
by his comments.[80] Six years later, in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised th

e Queen to appoint the Earl of Home as prime minister, advice that she followed.
[81] The Queen again came under criticism for appointing the Prime Minister on t
he advice of a small number of ministers or a single minister.[81] In 1965, the
Conservatives adopted a formal mechanism for electing a leader, thus relieving h
er of involvement.[82]
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Queen Elizabeth II's Address to the United Nations General Assembly
In 1957, she made a state visit to the United States, where she addressed the Un
ited Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Commonwealth. On the same tour, s
he opened the 23rd Canadian parliament, becoming the first monarch of Canada to
open a parliamentary session.[83] Two years later, solely in her capacity as Que
en of Canada, she revisited the United States and toured Canada,[83][84] despite
learning upon landing at St. John's, Newfoundland, that she was pregnant with h
er third child.[85] In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran
.[86] On a visit to Ghana the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, eve
n though her host, President Kwame Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of stat
e, was a target for assassins.[87] Harold Macmillan wrote, "The Queen has been a
bsolutely determined all through ... She is impatient of the attitude towards he
r to treat her as ... a film star ... She has indeed 'the heart and stomach of a
man' ... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen."[87] Before her tour throu
gh parts of Quebec in 1964, the press reported that extremists within the Quebec
separatist movement were plotting Elizabeth's assassination.[88][89] No attempt
was made, but a riot did break out while she was in Montreal; the Queen's "calm
ness and courage in the face of the violence" was noted.[90]
The Queen with Prime Minister Edward Heath (left), US President Richard Nixon an
d First Lady Pat Nixon, 1970
Elizabeth's pregnancies with Princes Andrew and Edward, in 1959 and 1963, mark t
he only times she has not performed the State Opening of the British parliament
during her reign.[91] In addition to performing traditional ceremonies, she also
instituted new practices. Her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members o
f the public, took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.[92]
The 1960s and 1970s saw an acceleration in the decolonisation of Africa and the
Caribbean. Over 20 countries gained independence from Britain as part of a plann
ed transition to self-government. In 1965, however, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian
Smith, in opposition to moves toward majority rule, declared unilateral indepen
dence from Britain while still expressing "loyalty and devotion" to Elizabeth. A
lthough the Queen dismissed him in a formal declaration, and the international c
ommunity applied sanctions against Rhodesia, his regime survived for over a deca
In February 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath advised the Queen to call
a general election in the middle of her tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim, re
quiring her to fly back to Britain.[94] The election resulted in a hung parliame
nt; Heath's Conservatives were not the largest party, but could stay in office i
f they formed a coalition with the Liberals. Heath only resigned when discussion
s on forming a coalition foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of th
e Opposition, Labour's Harold Wilson, to form a government.[95]
A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, Austra
lian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was dismissed from his post by Governor-Genera
l Sir John Kerr, after the Opposition-controlled Senate rejected Whitlam's budge
t proposals.[96] As Whitlam had a majority in the House of Representatives, Spea
ker Gordon Scholes appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr's decision. She decline
d, stating that she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the Constitutio
n of Australia for the governor-general.[97] The crisis fuelled Australian repub

Silver Jubilee
In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and event
s took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with her associated na
tional and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen's populari
ty, despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret's
separation from her husband.[98] In 1978, the Queen endured a state visit to the
United Kingdom by Romania's communist dictator, Nicolae Ceauescu, and his wife,
Elena,[99] though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands".[100] Th
e following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt, form
er Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, as a communist spy; the other was the assas
sination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten by the Provisional Irish Re
publican Army.[101]
According to Paul Martin, Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried tha
t the Crown "had little meaning for" Pierre Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister
.[102] Tony Benn said that the Queen found Trudeau "rather disappointing".[102]
Trudeau's supposed republicanism seemed to be confirmed by his antics, such as s
liding down banisters at Buckingham Palace and pirouetting behind the Queen's ba
ck in 1977, and the removal of various Canadian royal symbols during his term of
office.[102] In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patria
tion of the Canadian constitution found the Queen "better informed ... than any
of the British politicians or bureaucrats".[102] She was particularly interested
after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of s
tate.[102] Patriation removed the role of the British parliament from the Canadi
an constitution, but the monarchy was retained. Trudeau said in his memoirs that
the Queen favoured his attempt to reform the constitution and that he was impre
ssed by "the grace she displayed in public" and "the wisdom she showed in privat
Elizabeth in red uniform on a black horse
Elizabeth riding Burmese at the 1986 Trooping the Colour ceremony
During the 1981 Trooping the Colour ceremony and only six weeks before the weddi
ng of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, six shots were fired at
the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall on her horse, Burmese. Poli
ce later discovered that the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcu
s Sarjeant, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three.[104]
The Queen's composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised.[1
05] From April to September 1982, the Queen remained anxious[106] but proud[107]
of her son, Prince Andrew, who was serving with British forces during the Falkl
ands War. On 9 July, the Queen awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find
an intruder, Michael Fagan, in the room with her. Remaining calm and through tw
o calls to the Palace police switchboard, she spoke to Fagan while he sat at the
foot of her bed until assistance arrived seven minutes later.[108] Though she h
osted US President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982 and visited his Calif
ornian ranch in 1983, she was angered when his administration ordered the invasi
on of Grenada, one of her Caribbean realms, without informing her.[109]
Intense media interest in the opinions and private lives of the royal family dur
ing the 1980s led to a series of sensational stories in the press, not all of wh
ich were entirely true.[110] As Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun, told his st
aff: "Give me a Sunday for Monday splash on the Royals. Don't worry if it's not
trueso long as there's not too much of a fuss about it afterwards."[111] Newspape
r editor Donald Trelford wrote in The Observer of 21 September 1986: "The royal
soap opera has now reached such a pitch of public interest that the boundary bet
ween fact and fiction has been lost sight of ... it is not just that some papers
don't check their facts or accept denials: they don't care if the stories are t
rue or not." It was reported, most notably in The Sunday Times of 20 July 1986,
that the Queen was worried that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's econo

mic policies fostered social divisions and was alarmed by high unemployment, a s
eries of riots, the violence of a miners' strike, and Thatcher's refusal to appl
y sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The sources of the rum
ours included royal aide Michael Shea and Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridat
h Ramphal, but Shea claimed his remarks were taken out of context and embellishe
d by speculation.[112] Thatcher reputedly said the Queen would vote for the Soci
al Democratic PartyThatcher's political opponents.[113] Thatcher's biographer Joh
n Campbell claimed "the report was a piece of journalistic mischief-making".[114
] Belying reports of acrimony between them, Thatcher later conveyed her personal
admiration for the Queen and,[115] after Thatcher's replacement as prime minist
er by John Major, the Queen gave two honours in her personal gift to Thatcher: a
ppointment to the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter.[116] Former Canadi
an Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said Elizabeth was a "behind the scenes force"
in ending apartheid in South Africa.[117][118]
In 1987, in Canada, Elizabeth publicly pronounced her support for that country's
politically divisive Meech Lake Accord, prompting criticism from opponents of t
he constitutional amendments, including Pierre Trudeau.[117] The same year, the
elected Fijian government was deposed in a military coup. Elizabeth, as monarch
of Fiji, supported the attempts of the Governor-General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau
, to assert executive power and negotiate a settlement. Coup leader Sitiveni Rab
uka deposed Ganilau and declared Fiji a republic.[119] By the start of 1991, rep
ublican feeling in Britain had risen because of press estimates of the Queen's p
rivate wealthwhich were contradicted by the Palaceand reports of affairs and strai
ned marriages among her extended family.[120] The involvement of the younger roy
als in the charity game show It's a Royal Knockout was ridiculed[121] and the Qu
een was the target of satire.[122]
In 1991, in the wake of victory in the Gulf War, Elizabeth became the first Brit
ish monarch to address a joint meeting of the United States Congress.[123]
Elizabeth, in formal dress, holds a pair of spectacles to her mouth in a thought
ful pose
Prince Philip and Elizabeth II, October 1992
In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession,
Elizabeth called 1992 her annus horribilis, meaning horrible year.[124] In March
, her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his wife Sarah, Duchess of Yor
k, separated; in April, her daughter Anne, Princess Royal, divorced her husband
Captain Mark Phillips;[125] during a state visit to Germany in October, angry de
monstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her;[126] and, in November, Windsor Castle
suffered severe fire damage. The monarchy received increased criticism and publi
c scrutiny.[127] In an unusually personal speech, the Queen said that any instit
ution must expect criticism, but suggested it be done with "a touch of humour, g
entleness and understanding".[128] Two days later, the Prime Minister, John Majo
r, announced reforms of the royal finances that had been planned since the previ
ous year, including the Queen paying income tax for the first time from 1993 and
a reduction in the civil list.[129] In December, Charles, Prince of Wales, and
his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, formally separated.[130] The year ended with
a lawsuit as the Queen sued The Sun newspaper for breach of copyright when it p
ublished the text of her annual Christmas message two days before its broadcast.
The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees and donated 200,000 to charity.[1
In the ensuing years, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana's mar
riage continued.[132] Even though support for republicanism in Britain seemed hi
gher than at any time in living memory, republicanism remained a minority viewpo
int and the Queen herself had high approval ratings.[133] Criticism was focused
on the institution of monarchy itself and the Queen's wider family rather than t
he Queen's own behaviour and actions.[134] In consultation with her husband, Pri

me Minister Major, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, and her private secret
ary, Robert Fellowes, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995
, saying that a divorce was desirable.[135] A year after the divorce, which took
place in 1996, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. The
Queen was on holiday with her son and grandchildren at Balmoral. Diana's two son
s wanted to attend church and so the Queen and Prince Philip took them that morn
ing.[136] After that single public appearance, for five days the Queen and the D
uke shielded their grandsons from the intense press interest by keeping them at
Balmoral where they could grieve in private,[137] but the royal family's seclusi
on and a failure to fly a flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace caused public
dismay.[118][138] Pressured by the hostile reaction, the Queen agreed to a live
broadcast to the world and returned to London to deliver it on 5 September, the
day before Diana's funeral.[139] In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for
Diana and her feelings "as a grandmother" for Princes William and Harry.[140] A
s a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.[140]
Golden Jubilee
In evening wear, Elizabeth and President Bush hold wine glasses of water and smi
Elizabeth II and George W. Bush share a toast during a state dinner at the White
House, 7 May 2007
Street scene of Elizabeth and spectators
Elizabeth II (centre, in pink) during a walkabout in Queen's Park, Toronto, 6 Ju
ly 2010
In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as Queen. Her sister and mother die
d in February and March respectively, and the media speculated whether the Jubil
ee would be a success or a failure.[141] She again undertook an extensive tour o
f her realms, which began in Jamaica in February, where she called the farewell
banquet "memorable" after a power cut plunged the King's House, the official res
idence of the governor-general, into darkness.[142] As in 1977, there were stree
t parties and commemorative events and monuments were named to honour the occasi
on. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration
in London[143] and the enthusiasm shown by the public for the Queen was greater
than many journalists had predicted.[144]
Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on
both knees. In October 2006, she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium
because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer.
In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources
that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of British Prime
Minister Tony Blair, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forces w
ere overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over
rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly.[146] She was, however, said
to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.[147] On 20 Marc
h 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen atten
ded the first Maundy service held outside England and Wales.[148] At the invitat
ion of Irish President Mary McAleese, the Queen made the first state visit to th
e Republic of Ireland by a British monarch in May 2011.[149]
The Queen addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her c
apacity as Queen of all Commonwealth realms and Head of the Commonwealth.[150] T
he UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, introduced her as "an anchor for our age".
[151] During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officia
lly opened a memorial garden for the British victims of the 11 September attacks
.[151] The Queen's visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th since 1954, was
called her "farewell tour" in the press because of her age.[152]
Diamond Jubilee and beyond

Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marked 60 years as Queen, with celebrations

throughout her realms, the wider Commonwealth, and beyond. In a message released
on Accession Day, she stated: "In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew
to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and
the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness ... I hop
e also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advanc
es that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear h
ead and warm heart".[153] She and her husband undertook an extensive tour of the
United Kingdom, while her children and grandchildren embarked on royal tours of
other Commonwealth states on her behalf.[154][155] On 4 June, Jubilee beacons w
ere lit around the world.[156]
The Queen opened the 2012 Summer Olympics on 27 July and the Paralympics on 29 A
ugust 2012 in London, making her the first head of state to open two Olympic Gam
es in two different countries (she also opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montr
eal).[157] For the London Olympics, she played herself in a short film as part o
f the opening ceremony, alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond.[158] On 4 April 20
13, she received an honorary BAFTA for her patronage of the film industry and wa
s called "the most memorable Bond girl yet" at the award ceremony.[159]
On 18 December 2012, the Queen became the first British sovereign to attend a pe
ace-time Cabinet meeting since King George III in 1781.[160]
Elizabeth was admitted on 3 March 2013 to the King Edward VII Hospital for asses
sment as a precaution after developing symptoms of gastroenteritis. She returned
to Buckingham Palace the following day.[161] Due to her advanced age and the ne
ed for her to limit travelling, she did not attend the biennial meeting of Commo
nwealth heads of government which took place in November 2013 in Sri Lanka; it w
as the first time since 1973 that she has not attended the meeting. She was repr
esented at the summit by her son, Charles, Prince of Wales.[162]
The Queen is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United
Kingdom and the second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumib
ol Adulyadej of Thailand). She does not intend to abdicate,[163] though the prop
ortion of the Sovereign's duties performed by Prince Charles is expected to cont
inue to increase as Elizabeth reduces her commitments.[164] She would surpass Qu
een Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015.[165]
Public perception and character
Main article: Personality and image of Queen Elizabeth II
Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feeling
s. As a constitutional monarch, she has not expressed her own political opinions
in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty and t
akes her coronation oath seriously.[166] Aside from her official religious role
as Supreme Governor of the established Church of England, she personally worship
s with that church and with the national Church of Scotland.[167] She has demons
trated support for inter-faith relations and has met with leaders of other churc
hes and religions, including five popes: Pius XII, John XXIII, John Paul II, Ben
edict XVI, and Francis. A personal note about her faith often features in her an
nual Royal Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth, such as in 2000, whe
n she spoke about the theological significance of the millennium marking the 200
0th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ:
To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings o
f Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in wh
ich I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in d
ifficult times from Christ's words and example.[168]
Elizabeth and Ronald Reagan on black horses. He bare-headed; she in a headscarf;
both in tweeds, jodhpurs and riding boots.

Elizabeth II and US President Ronald Reagan riding at Windsor, 1982

She is the patron of over 600 organisations and charities.[169] Her main leisure
interests include equestrianism and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
[170] Her lifelong love of corgis began in 1933 with Dookie, the first corgi own
ed by her family.[171][172] Scenes of a relaxed, informal home life have occasio
nally been witnessed; she and her family, from time to time, prepare a meal toge
ther and do the washing up afterwards.[173]
In the 1950s, as a young woman at the start of her reign, Elizabeth was depicted
as a glamorous "fairytale Queen".[174] After the trauma of the war, it was a ti
me of hope, a period of progress and achievement heralding a "new Elizabethan ag
e".[175] Lord Altrincham's accusation in 1957 that her speeches sounded like tho
se of a "priggish schoolgirl" was an extremely rare criticism.[176] In the late
1960s, attempts to portray a more modern image of monarchy were made in the tele
vision documentary Royal Family and by televising Prince Charles's investiture a
s Prince of Wales.[177] In public, she took to wearing mostly solid-colour overc
oats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd.[178]
At her Silver Jubilee in 1977, the crowds and celebrations were genuinely enthus
iastic,[179] but in the 1980s public criticism of the royal family increased, as
the personal and working lives of Elizabeth's children came under media scrutin
y.[180] Elizabeth's popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s. Under pressure
from public opinion, she began to pay income tax for the first time and Buckingh
am Palace was opened to the public.[181] Discontent with the monarchy reached it
s peak on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, though Elizabeth's personal pop
ularity and support for the monarchy rebounded after her live broadcast to the w
orld five days after Diana's death.[182]
In November 1999, a referendum in Australia on the future of the Australian mona
rchy favoured its retention in preference to an indirectly elected head of state
.[183] Polls in Britain in 2006 and 2007 revealed strong support for Elizabeth,[
184] and referenda in Tuvalu in 2008 and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 200
9 both rejected proposals to become republics.[185]
Elizabeth has been portrayed in a variety of mediums by many notable artists dur
ing her reign, including painters Lucian Freud, Peter Blake, Juliet Pannett, Chi
nwe Chukwuogo-Roy, Terence Cuneo, Tai-Shan Schierenberg and Pietro Annigoni.[186
] Notable photographers of Elizabeth have included Cecil Beaton, Yousuf Karsh, L
ord Lichfield, Terry O'Neill, Annie Leibovitz and John Swannell. The first offic
ial portrait of Elizabeth was taken by Marcus Adams.[187]
View of Sandingham House from the south bank of the Upper Lake
Sandringham House, Elizabeth's private residence in Sandringham, Norfolk
Further information: Finances of the British Royal Family
Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years.
Jock Colville, who was her former private secretary and a director of her bank,
Coutts, estimated her wealth in 1971 at 2 million (the equivalent of about 25 mil
lion today[188]).[189][190] Official Buckingham Palace statements in 1993 called
estimates of 100 million "grossly overstated".[191] Forbes magazine estimated he
r net worth at around US$450 million (about 275 million) in 2010.[192] The Royal
Collection (which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels) is not owned by the Qu
een personally and is held in trust,[193] as are the occupied palaces, such as B
uckingham Palace and Windsor Castle,[194] and the Duchy of Lancaster, a property
portfolio valued in 2013 at 429 million.[195] Sandringham House and Balmoral Cas
tle are privately owned by the Queen.[194] The British Crown Estatewith holdings
of 7.3 billion in 2011[196]is held in trust for the nation and cannot be sold or o
wned by Elizabeth in a private capacity.[197]
Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Main article: List of titles and honours of Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth has held many titles and honorary military positions throughout the Co
mmonwealth, is Sovereign of many orders in her own countries, and has received h
onours and awards from around the world. In each of her realms she has a distinc
t title that follows a similar formula: Queen of Jamaica and her other realms an
d territories in Jamaica, Queen of Australia and her other realms and territorie
s in Australia, etc. In the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, which are Crown dep
endencies rather than separate realms, she is known as Duke of Normandy and Lord
of Mann, respectively. Additional styles include Defender of the Faith and Duke
of Lancaster. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially
address her as Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma'am.[198]
See also: Flags of Elizabeth II and Coats of arms of Elizabeth II
From 21 April 1944 until her accession, Elizabeth's arms consisted of a lozenge
bearing the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom differenced with a label of
three points argent, the centre point bearing a Tudor rose and the first and th
ird a cross of St George.[199] Upon her accession, she inherited the various arm
s her father held as sovereign. The Queen also possesses royal standards and per
sonal flags for use in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamai
ca, Barbados, and elsewhere.[200]
Coat of arms of Princess Elizabeth (19441947)
Coat of arms of Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (19471952)
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom (except Scotland)
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in Scotland
Coat of arms of Elizabeth II in Canada (one of three versions used in her reign)
See also: Line of succession to the British throne
Birth Marriage
Date | Spouse Children
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales 14 November 1948
29 July 1981
Divorced 28 August 1996 Lady Diana Spencer
Prince William, Duke of Cambridg
Prince Harry
9 April 2005
Camilla Parker Bowles
Princess Anne, Princess Royal 15 August 1950 14 November 1973
Divorced 28 April 1992 Mark Phillips Peter Phillips
Zara Tindall
12 December 1992
Timothy Laurence
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
19 February 1960
23 July 1986
Divorced 30 May 1996
Sarah Ferguson Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex 10 March 1964 19 June 1999
Sophie Rhys-Jone
Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn
Main articles: Ancestry of Elizabeth II and Descent of Elizabeth II from William

[show]Ancestors of Elizabeth II
See also
Portal icon
Commonwealth realms portal
Portal icon
Royalty portal
List of current heads of state and government
List of the richest royals
Jump up ^ See Queen's Official Birthday for an explanation of why Elizabeth II's
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66] In North America, just under 100 million viewers watched recorded broadcasts
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