87 Facts About Elizabeth II


Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022.


Elizabeth II was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her lifetime and was head of state of 15 realms at the time of her death.


Elizabeth II was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.


Elizabeth II reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union.


Elizabeth II was born on 21 April 1926, the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Elizabeth II, Duchess of York.


Elizabeth II was called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first.


Elizabeth II has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant.


Elizabeth II received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College, and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses.


In 1939, Elizabeth II's parents toured Canada and the United States.


In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth II made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities.


In 1943, Elizabeth II undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed colonel the previous year.


Elizabeth II trained and worked as a driver and mechanic and was given the rank of honorary junior commander five months later.


Elizabeth II went on her first overseas tour in 1947, accompanying her parents through southern Africa.


Elizabeth II met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and again in 1937.


Elizabeth II was 21 when their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.


Elizabeth II was a prince without a home or kingdom.


Elizabeth II required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown because Britain had not yet completely recovered from the devastation of the war.


Elizabeth II gave birth to her first child, Charles, in November 1948.


Elizabeth II was proclaimed queen throughout her realms, and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom.


Elizabeth II issued a declaration on 9 April 1952 that the royal house would continue to be Windsor.


Elizabeth II became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations.


Lord Mountbatten said Elizabeth II was opposed to the invasion, though Eden denied it.


The governing Conservative Party had no formal mechanism for choosing a leader, meaning that it fell to Elizabeth II to decide whom to commission to form a government following Eden's resignation.


Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir, the lord chancellor, consulted the British Cabinet, Churchill, and the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, resulting in Elizabeth II appointing their recommended candidate: Harold Macmillan.


Six years later, in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised Elizabeth II to appoint Alec Douglas-Home as the prime minister, advice she followed.


Elizabeth II again came under criticism for appointing the prime minister on the advice of a small number of ministers or a single minister.


In 1957, Elizabeth II made a state visit to the United States, where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Commonwealth.


Elizabeth II loves her duty and means to be a Queen.


Elizabeth II gave birth to her third child, Prince Andrew, in February 1960, which was the first birth to a reigning British monarch since 1857.


Elizabeth II's fourth child, Prince Edward, was born in March 1964.


In 1965 the Rhodesian prime minister, Ian Smith, in opposition to moves towards majority rule, unilaterally declared independence while expressing "loyalty and devotion" to Elizabeth II, declaring her "Queen of Rhodesia".


Elizabeth II toured Yugoslavia in October 1972, becoming the first British monarch to visit a communist country.


Elizabeth II was received at the airport by President Josip Broz Tito, and a crowd of thousands greeted her in Belgrade.


In February 1974, the British prime minister, Edward Heath, advised Elizabeth II to call a general election in the middle of her tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim, requiring her to fly back to Britain.


When discussions on forming a coalition foundered, Heath resigned as prime minister, and Elizabeth II asked the Leader of the Opposition, Labour's Harold Wilson, to form a government.


Elizabeth II declined, saying she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the Constitution of Australia for the Governor-General.


In 1977, Elizabeth II marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession.


In 1978, Elizabeth II endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania's communist leader, Nicolae Ceausescu, and his wife, Elena, though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands".


Elizabeth II was particularly interested after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state.


Brian Mulroney, Canadian prime minister between 1984 and 1993, said Elizabeth II was a "behind the scenes force" in ending apartheid.


In 1986, Elizabeth II paid a six-day state visit to the People's Republic of China, becoming the first British monarch to visit the country.


Elizabeth II's visit signified the acceptance of both countries that sovereignty over Hong Kong would be transferred from the United Kingdom to China in 1997.


In Canada, Elizabeth II publicly supported politically divisive constitutional amendments, prompting criticism from opponents of the proposed changes, including Pierre Trudeau.


On 24 November 1992, in a speech to mark the Ruby Jubilee of her accession to the throne, Elizabeth II called 1992 her.


Two days later, British prime minister John Major announced plans to reform the royal finances, drawn up the previous year, including Elizabeth II paying income tax from 1993 onwards, and a reduction in the civil list.


Elizabeth II's solicitors had taken successful action against The Sun five years earlier for breach of copyright after it published a photograph of her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of York, and her granddaughter Princess Beatrice.


In January 1994, Elizabeth II broke the scaphoid bone in her left wrist as the horse she was riding at Sandringham tripped and fell.


In October 1995, Elizabeth II was tricked into a hoax call by Montreal radio host Pierre Brassard impersonating Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien.


Elizabeth II, who believed that she was speaking to Chretien, said she supported Canadian unity and would try to influence Quebec's referendum on proposals to break away from Canada.


In consultation with her husband and John Major, as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury and her private secretary, Elizabeth II wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, suggesting that a divorce would be advisable.


Elizabeth II was on holiday with her extended family at Balmoral.


Elizabeth II made a speech and praised Philip for his role as a consort, referring to him as "my strength and stay".


In 1999, as part of the process of devolution within the UK, Elizabeth II formally opened newly established legislatures for Wales and Scotland: the National Assembly for Wales at Cardiff in May, and the Scottish Parliament at Edinburgh in July.


In 2002, Elizabeth II marked her Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of her accession.


In 2003, Elizabeth II sued the Daily Mirror for breach of confidence and obtained an injunction which prevented the outlet from publishing information gathered by a reporter who posed as a footman at Buckingham Palace.


In May 2007, citing unnamed sources, The Daily Telegraph reported that Elizabeth II was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of Tony Blair, that she was concerned the British Armed Forces were overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair.


Elizabeth II was said to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.


Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a diamond wedding anniversary in November 2007.


Elizabeth II addressed the UN General Assembly for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as Queen of all Commonwealth realms and Head of the Commonwealth.


Elizabeth II's 11-day visit to Australia in October 2011 was her 16th visit to the country since 1954.


Elizabeth II, who opened the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, opened the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London, making her the first head of state to open two Olympic Games in two countries.


On 3 March 2013, Elizabeth II stayed overnight at King Edward VII's Hospital as a precaution after developing symptoms of gastroenteritis.


Elizabeth II was represented at the summit in Sri Lanka by Prince Charles.


Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-lived British monarch on 21 December 2007, and the longest-reigning British monarch and longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in the world on 9 September 2015.


Elizabeth II became the oldest current monarch after King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died on 23 January 2015.


Elizabeth II later became the longest-reigning current monarch and the longest-serving current head of state following the death of King Bhumibol of Thailand on 13 October 2016, and the oldest current head of state on the resignation of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on 21 November 2017.


On 19 March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II moved to Windsor Castle and sequestered there as a precaution.


Elizabeth II was reportedly at her husband's bedside when he died, and remarked in private that his death had "left a huge void".


Later that month, Elizabeth II had "mild cold-like symptoms" and tested positive for COVID-19, along with some staff and family members.


Elizabeth II never planned to abdicate, though she took on fewer public engagements as she grew older and Prince Charles took on more of her duties.


Elizabeth II died peacefully at 15:10 BST at the age of 96, with two of her children, Charles and Anne, by her side.


Elizabeth II's death was announced to the public at 18:30, setting in motion Operation London Bridge and, because she died in Scotland, Operation Unicorn.


Elizabeth II's coffin lay at rest at the cathedral for 24 hours, guarded by the Royal Company of Archers, during which around 33,000 people filed past the coffin.


Elizabeth II's fell pony, and two royal corgis, stood at the side of the procession.


Elizabeth II rarely gave interviews, and little was known of her political opinions, which she did not express explicitly in public.


Elizabeth II had arguably issued a public coded statement about the referendum by telling one woman outside Balmoral Kirk that she hoped people would think "very carefully" about the outcome.


Elizabeth II had a deep sense of religious and civic duty, and took her Coronation Oath seriously.


Elizabeth II was patron of more than 600 organisations and charities.


Elizabeth II instituted other new practices; her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members of the public, took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.


Elizabeth II's wardrobe developed a recognisable, signature style driven more by function than fashion.


Elizabeth II's popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s.


Elizabeth II was portrayed in a variety of media by many notable artists, including painters Pietro Annigoni, Peter Blake, Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, Terence Cuneo, Lucian Freud, Rolf Harris, Damien Hirst, Juliet Pannett and Tai-Shan Schierenberg.


Notable photographers of Elizabeth II included Cecil Beaton, Yousuf Karsh, Anwar Hussein, Annie Leibovitz, Lord Lichfield, Terry O'Neill, John Swannell and Dorothy Wilding.


The first official portrait photograph of Elizabeth II was taken by Marcus Adams in 1926.


Elizabeth II held many titles and honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, was sovereign of many orders in her own countries and received honours and awards from around the world.


From 21 April 1944 until her accession, Elizabeth II'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 third a cross of St George.


Elizabeth II possessed royal standards and personal flags for use in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and elsewhere.