THE QUEEN ELIZABETH II www.royal.gov.uk The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms. The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25, and has reigned through more than five decades of enormous social change and development. The Queen is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and has four children and eight grandchildren. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Is the Queen the head of the state? Who was her father? When was the Queen born? At what age did she become the Queen? How many decades does she reign? Who is her husband? How many children and grandchildren does she have? The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. At the time she stood third in line of succession to the throne after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her father, The Duke of York. But it was not expected that her father would become King, or that she would become Queen. The Princess was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal greatgrandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary. The Princess's early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park. She also spent time at the country homes of her paternal grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother's parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret Rose. The family of four was very close. When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. In the grounds of Royal Lodge Princess Elizabeth had her own small house, Y Bwthyn Bach (the Little Cottage), which was given to her by the people of Wales in 1932. Princess Elizabeth's quiet family life came to an end in 1936, when her grandfather, King George V, died. His eldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, King Edward VIII had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson. Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth's father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 the two Princesses attended their parents' coronation in Westminster Abbey. Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne, and a figure of even more intense public interest. Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister. After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became heir presumptive, she started to study constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Princess Elizabeth also learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses. It is a skill which has stood The Queen in good stead, as she often has cause to use it when speaking to ambassadors and heads of state from Frenchspeaking countries, and when visiting Frenchspeaking areas of Canada. Princess Elizabeth also studied art and music, learned to ride, and became a strong swimmer. She won the Children's Challenge Shield at London's Bath Club when she was thirteen. Princess Elizabeth enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger. In 1940, at the height of the Blitz, the young Princesses were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years. It was a time of austerity and anxiety for the whole country, including the Royal Family. But at Christmas time there was a period of light relief when the young Princesses put on pantomimes with the children of members of staff for the enjoyment of her family and employees of the Royal Household. Shortly after the Royal Family returned from South Africa in 1947, the Princess's engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was announced. The couple, who had known each other for many years, were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. The event was fairly simple, as Britain was still recovering from the war, and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral. Lieutenant Mountbatten, now His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-greatgrandson of Queen Victoria. The Queen has paid public tribute to her husband on several occasions, recalling his loyal support and service to the country. They have four children, and eight grandchildren. Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, now The Princess Royal, two years later. After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, their third child, Prince Andrew, arrived in 1960 and the fourth, Prince Edward, in 1964. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family. Their grandchildren are Peter and Zara Phillips (b. 1977 and 1981); Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1982 and 1984); Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1988 and 1990); and The Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b.2003 and 2007), children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Family life has been an essential support to The Queen throughout her reign. The family usually spends Christmas together at Sandringham in Norfolk, attending church on Christmas Day. After her marriage in 1947, Princess Elizabeth paid formal visits with The Duke of Edinburgh to France and Greece, and in autumn 1951 they toured Canada. Princess Elizabeth also visited Malta four times while Prince Philip was stationed there on naval duties, and enjoyed the life of a naval wife and young mother. This way of life was not to last long, as her father's health was deteriorating. In 1952, King George VI's illness forced him to abandon his proposed visit to Australia and New Zealand. The Princess, accompanied by Prince Philip, took his place. On Wednesday, 6 February 1952, Princess Elizabeth received the news of her father's death and her own accession to the throne, while staying in a remote part of Kenya. The tour had to be abandoned, and the young Princess flew back to Britain as Queen. She was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. It was a solemn ceremony conducted by Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. Representatives of the peers, the Commons and all the great public interests in Britain, the Prime Ministers and leading citizens of the other Commonwealth countries, and representatives of foreign states were present. Crowds of people viewed the procession all along the route, despite heavy rain. The ceremony was also broadcast on radio around the world and, at The Queen's request, on television for the first time. Television brought home to hundreds of thousands of people around the Commonwealth the splendor and significance of the Coronation in a way never before possible. The Coronation was followed by drives through every part of London, a review of the fleet at Spithead, and visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Much has happened over the course of The Queen's life. Television has been invented, man has walked on the moon for the first time and the Berlin Wall has been built and then razed to the ground. Her Majesty's life has seen many changes too, from fulfilling her role as Queen at the age of 25, to raising a family, to world travel on a scale unparalleled by previous monarchs. An animal lover since childhood, The Queen takes a keen and highly knowledgeable interest in horses. She attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911. As an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, she often visits other race meetings to watch her horses run, and also frequently attends equestrian events. The Queen's horses won races at Royal Ascot on a number of occasions. There was a notable double on 18 June 1954 when Landau won the Rous Memorial Stakes and a stallion called Aureole won the Hardwicke Stakes, and in 1957 The Queen had four winners during Ascot week. In 1984, 1986 and 1991 Her Majesty made brief private visits to the United States to see stallion stations and stud farms in Kentucky. Other interests include walking in the countryside and working her Labradors, which were bred at Sandringham. A lesser known interest is Scottish country dancing. Each year during her stay at Balmoral Castle, The Queen gives dances known as Gillies' Balls, for neighbors, estate and Castle staff and members of the local community. The Queen has many different duties to perform every day. Some are public duties, such as ceremonies, receptions and visits within the United Kingdom or abroad. Other duties are carried out away from the cameras, but they are no less important. These include reading letters from the public, official papers and briefing notes; audiences with political ministers or ambassadors; and meetings with her Private Secretaries to discuss daily business and her future diary plans. Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, she receives official papers nearly every day of every year and remains fully briefed on matters affecting her realms. In front of the camera or away from it, The Queen's duties go on, and no two days in her life are ever the same. Norman Hartnell, who first worked for the then Princess Elizabeth in the 1940s, produced many of the finest evening dresses in Her MajestyвЂ™s wardrobe. His signature style of the 1940s and 1950s was full-skirted dresses in sumptuous silks and duchesse satins. Hardy Amies began designing clothes for The Queen in the early 1950s and established his name with the deceptive simplicity of his accomplished tailoring. The portraits by Cecil Beaton released to mark Her MajestyвЂ™s birthday in 1969 the are amongst the most memorable designs by Hardy Amies. In the 1970s The Queen awarded her patronage to Ian Thomas, who was an assistant designer to Norman Hartnell before setting up his own salon. ThomasвЂ™s flowing chiffon dresses from the 1970s reflect the relaxed style of the decade. Maureen Rose of the same house continued to design for Her Majesty after IanвЂ™s death until the late 80вЂ™s. Between 1988 and 1996, Her MajestyвЂ™s dresses were designed by John Anderson. His business partner Karl Ludwig Rehse took over the mantle after his death in 1988 and the Queen still wears his designs today. Stewart Parvin, the youngest of Her MajestyвЂ™s designers, trained at Edinburgh College of Art. He began to design for The Queen in 2000 and continues to do so. Angela Kelly is Personal Assistant and Senior Dresser to The Queen. Her role includes designing for The Queen, which she has done since 2002. Angela and her team try and use both old and new fabrics when designing. Some of the material they incorporate has been given to Her Majesty many years ago, some dates from when she was Princess Elizabeth. Throughout the centuries, Britain's kings and queens have built or bought palaces to serve as family homes, workplaces and as centers of government. Some of these are still being used today as official Royal residences and many can be visited by the general public. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Overlooking St. James's Park is Buckingham Palace which has been the Sovereign's official residence since the accession in 1837 of Queen Elizabeth. The Palace contains of the 600 rooms. Behind the Palace are 90 acres of private gardens. The main approach to the Palace is along the mall. The Palace is not guarded by the five regiments of foot guards. п‚Ё п‚Ё п‚Ё п‚Ё The Queen meets thousands of people each year in the UK and overseas. Before meeting Her Majesty, many people ask how they should behave. The simple answer is that there are no obligatory codes of behaviour - just courtesy. However, many people wish to observe the traditional forms of greeting. For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way. On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'. п‚Ё п‚Ё You can write to Her Majesty at the following address: Her Majesty The Queen Buckingham Palace London SW1A 1AA If you wish to write a formal letter, you can open with 'Madam' and close the letter with the form 'I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servant'. This traditional approach is by no means obligatory. You should feel free to write in whatever style you feel comfortable.