Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born 21 April 1926)

is the Queen of 16 independent sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. In addition, as Head of the Commonwealth, she is the figurehead of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations and, as the British monarch, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Elizabeth was educated privately at home. Her father, George VI, became King-Emperor of the British Empire in 1936. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After the war and Indian independence George VI’s title of Emperor of India was abandoned, and the evolution of the Empire into the Commonwealth accelerated. In 1947, Elizabeth made the first of many tours around the Commonwealth, and married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. They have four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953

Elizabeth changes a vehicle wheel during the Second World War, April 1945

Elizabeth (left) with US First Lady Pat Nixon, 1970; President Nixon is hidden from view behind Elizabeth, next to British Prime Minister Edward Heath (far left)

Sandringham House, Elizabeth’s private residence in Sandringham, Norfolk.

The Queen’s personal flag

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