Today In History: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Became Queen

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.

She was the third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as Edward was still young. Many people believed he would marry and have children of his own. When her grandfather died in 1936 and her uncle succeeded as Edward VIII, she became second-in-line to the throne, after her father.

Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, She then became the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

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In November 1947, Elizabeth got married to Prince Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark and her distant cousin, with whom she has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

King George VI’s health started declining in 1949 and Elizabeth frequently stood in for him at public events. On February 6th, 1952 however, he died in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king’s two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was instantly immediately ascended the throne as Head of the Commonwealth and Queen Regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United KingdomCanada, Australia, New ZealandSouth AfricaPakistan and Ceylon.

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The coronation ceremony was held on 2 June 1953 as planned despite the death of Queen Mary her mother on 24 March. Mary had asked before she died and all activities was carried out according to her instructions, part of which was the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries embroidered on Elizabeth’s dress – 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.

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Queen Elizabeth is currently the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch,  the world’s longest-reigning Queen Regnant and Female Head of State, the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch as well as the longest-serving current Head of State. The 40th British monarch since William the Conqueror celebrated 50 years on the throne in 2003, as the fifth British monarch to do so.

The 92 year old Queen, an avid horsewoman and Corgi dog lover, is also one of the world’s wealthiest women, with extensive real-estate holdings and art and jewellery collections.

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