Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

:"For the ship, see RMS Queen Elizabeth 2" Infobox British Royalty|majesty
name = Elizabeth II
title = Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms

imgw = 220
caption = Elizabeth II in 2007
reign = 6 February 1952 – present
(age in years and days|1952|2|60|mf=y)
coronation = 2 June 1953
predecessor = George VI
successor = Charles, Prince of Wales
suc-type = Heir Apparent
spouse = Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
issue = Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
full name = Elizabeth Alexandra MaryAs a titled royal, Her Majesty holds no surname, but, when one "is" used, it is Windsor]
titles = "HM" The Queen
"HRH" The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
"HRH" The Princess Elizabeth
"HRH" Princess Elizabeth of York
royal house = House of Windsor
royal anthem = God Save the Queen
father = George VI
mother = Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
residence = Buckingham Palace
date of birth = Birth date and age|1926|4|21|df=yes
place of birth = Mayfair, London
date of christening = 29 May 1926cite web | title=80 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Queen Elizabeth | work=Time Europe | date= | url=http://www.time.com/time/europe/html/060417/facts.html | accessdate=2006-09-26]
place of christening = Buckingham Palace, London

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the queen regnant of 16 independent states and their overseas territories and dependencies. Though she holds each crown and title separately and equally, she is resident in and most directly involved with the United Kingdom, her oldest realm; part of her lineage traces through the royal houses of England, Wessex, and Scotland for over 1500 years. She ascended the thrones of seven countries in February 1952, on the death of her father King George VI. ("See Context below.") In addition to the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is also Queen of 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 each of which she is represented by a Governor-General. The 16 countries of which she is Queen are known as Commonwealth realms, and their combined population, including dependencies, is over 129 million. In theory her powers are vast; however, in practice (and in accordance with convention), she rarely intervenes in political matters.

Elizabeth II also holds a variety of other positions, among them Head of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Duke of Normandy, Lord of Mann , and Paramount Chief of Fiji. Her long reign has seen sweeping changes in her realms and the world at large, perhaps most notably the dissolution of the British Empire (a process that began in the last years of her father's reign) and the consequent evolution of the modern Commonwealth of Nations).

Since 1947, Elizabeth has been married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The couple have four children and eight grandchildren; the eighth (Viscount Severn) was born on 17 December 2007. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7148830.stm|title=Baby boy for Countess of Wessex|publisher=BBC News|date=17 December 2007|accessdate=2007-12-18]


Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka ) upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952. As other colonies of the British Empire attained independence from the UK during her reign, she acceded to the newly created thrones as queen of each respective realm, so that, throughout her 56 years on the throne, she has been the sovereign of 32 individual nations, half of which, after varying periods of time, subsequently became republics. She is currently the only monarch of more than one independent state.

Elizabeth II is currently the second longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, ranking behind Victoria, who reigned over the UK for 63 years. She is also one of the longest-reigning monarchs of any of its predecessor states, ranking behind George III (who reigned over Great Britain and subsequently the United Kingdom for 59 years) and James VI (who reigned over Scotland for 57 years). In March 2008, she surpassed Henry III of England.

Following tradition, she is additionally titled Duke of Lancaster and Duke of Normandy, and is also Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of many of her realms, Lord Admiral of the United Kingdom, and is styled Defender of the Faith in various realms for differing reasons.

Early life

Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton Street, in Mayfair, London, the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Elizabeth, Duchess of York, the first granddaughter of King George V and Queen Mary, and the first princess born into the immediate royal family since Princess Mary in 1897. She was baptised by Archbishop of York Cosmo Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace (which was subsequently destroyed during World War II); her godparents were her paternal grandparents; Princess Mary, Viscountess Lascelles; Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; her maternal grandfather, Claude Bowes-Lyon, Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne; and Mary Elphinstone, Lady Elphinstone. Elizabeth was named for her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and grandmother, respectively. As a child, however, her close family dubbed her as "Lilibet".cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5019736.stm| title = Queen 'Lilibet' letters unveiled| accessdaymonth = 30 April| accessyear = 2007| author = Witchell, Nicholas|date=2006-05-27| publisher = BBC News] .

Elizabeth had a close relationship with her grandfather, and was credited with aiding in his recovery from illness in 1929, [Excerpt from [http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/p/pimlott-queen.html The Queen A Biography of Elizabeth II] , Pimlott, Ben] [Rose, Kenneth.; "King George V"; Weidenfeld and Nicolson; London, Great Britain; 1983, p389. ISBN 0-297-78245-2] the same year a young "P'incess Lilybet" appeared on the cover of an issue of "Time" magazine that held an article describing Elizabeth's third birthday.cite web| url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,769224-2,00.html| title = P'incess Is Three| accessdaymonth = 15 December| accessyear = 2007| publisher = TIME] Her only sibling was Princess Margaret, born in 1930, around the same time that it was suggested their father be appointed as Governor General of Canada, meaning Elizabeth would have spent approximately five years living in Rideau Hall as part of the vice-regal family. This proposal was put down, however, by the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, meaning the two princesses remained in London, where they were educated at home, under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Mary Crawford, who was casually known as "Crawfie".cite web| url = http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/R/real_lives/crawfie.html| title = The Real Crawfie| accessdaymonth = 18 January| accessyear = 2007| publisher = Channel 4] Elizabeth studied history with C.H.K. Marten, then Provost of Eton College, religion with the Archbishop of Canterbury,cite web| url = http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/02/23/charles-queen050223.html| title = Queen's decision no snub: royal aides| publisher = CBC News| accessdaymonth = 23 February| accessyear = 2005] and also learned modern languages; she still speaks French fluently.cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4823.asp| title = 80 Facts About The Queen| accessdaymonth = 18 January| accessyear = 2007| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website] A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed specifically so Elizabeth could participate in guiding, wherein she gained the interpreter, swimmer, dancer, horsewoman, cook, child nurse, and needlewoman badges, and eventually became patrol leader of the Swallow Patrol. [cite web| title = ROYAL SUPPORT FOR THE SCOUTING AND GUIDING MOVEMENTS| publisher = Official Website of the British Monarchy| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page5951.asp| accessdate =2008-07-25]

As a granddaughter of the monarch of the United Kingdom in the male line, Elizabeth held the title of a British princess, with the style "Her Royal Highness", her full style being "Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York". This was her only title, as she was born before the Statute of Westminster severed the UK's ability to legislate for the other Dominions of the Commonwealth, and following 1931, these countries did not adopt any legislation granting titles to anyone other than the monarch; there, Elizabeth was addressed with the title she held in the UK, as a courtesy title. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth did generate public interest, there was no reason to believe then that she would ever become queen, as it was widely assumed that the Prince of Wales would marry and produce children of his own. However, Edward did not have any children between Elizabeth's birth and his abdication, and Elizabeth's parents did not have any sons, who would have taken precedence over the Duke and Duchess' daughters. Therefore, Elizabeth would have become queen, whether Edward had abdicated or not.

Heiress presumptive

When, after the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII, Elizabeth became heiress presumptive, and was thenceforth known as "Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth". There was some demand in Wales that she be created Princess of Wales, but the King was advised that this was the title of the wife of a Prince of Wales, not a title in its own right. Some feel that George VI missed the opportunity to make an innovation in royal practice by re-adopting Henry VIII's idea of proclaiming his daughter, Lady Mary, as Princess of Wales in her own right, in 1525. [cite web| url = http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/mary1.html| title = Queen Mary I| publisher = englishhistory.net| accessdate = 2007-09-04] The possibility, however remote, remained, though, that Elizabeth's father could have a son, who would have supplanted Elizabeth in the line of succession to the throne as heir apparent.

In 1939, the Canadian government desired that Elizabeth accompany her parents on their upcoming tour of Canada; however, the King decided against taking that advice, stating that his daughter was still too young to undertake such a strenuous tour, which ended up being over a month long.

World War II

Elizabeth was 13 years old when World War II broke out, and she and her younger sister were evacuated to Windsor Castle. There was some suggestion that the two princesses be evacuated to Canada, where they, along with their parents, would have lived at Hatly Castle in British Columbia. This plan never came to fruition; to the proposal, Elizabeth's mother made the famous reply: "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave." [cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page1043.asp| title = Biography of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Activities as Queen| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website| accessdate = 2007-09-04] Thus, the children remained at Windsor, where they staged pantomimes at Christmas, to which family and friends were invited, along with the children of Royal Household staff. It was from Windsor that Elizabeth, in 1940, made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's "Children's Hour", addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities. Soon after this, when she was 13 years old, Elizabeth first met her future husband, Philip Mountbatten, [cite web| url = http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A8466339| title = Queen Elizabeth II| date = 3 February 2006| publisher = BBC h2g2| accessdate = 2007-09-04] a Greek royal and member of the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the Danish royal house and a line of the House of Oldenburg. Elizabeth thereafter fell in love with Philip and beginning to write to him when he was in the Royal Navy. During Elizabeth's years at Windsor, plans were drawn up by then constitutional expert Edward Iwi to have a member of the Royal Family present in Wales, in order to quell the growing nationalist influence of "Plaid Cymru".cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4329001.stm|title=Royal plans to beat nationalism|publisher=BBC|date=8 March 2005|accessdate=2007-10-31] In a report he gave to then Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, Iwi proposed having Princess Elizabeth serve as Constable of Caernarfon Castle (the post then held by Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor) and patron of "Urdd Gobaith Cymru", to tour Wales as such. The ideas, none-the-less, were rejected by the Home Secretary, on the grounds that it might cause conflict between north and south Wales; by the King, who refused to subject his young daughter to the pressures of conducting official tours; and by the government, as two leading members of "Urdd Gobaith Cymru" were discovered to be conscientious objectors.

, and other royal women have been given honorary ranks. This training was the first time Elizabeth had been taught along with other students, and it was said that she greatly enjoyed the experience, which led her to send her own children to school rather than have them educated at home.

At the end of the war in Europe, on VE Day, Elizabeth and her sister stole away from Buckingham Palace and mingled with the celebratory crowds after midnight. [cite book| last = Kynaston| first = David| title = Austerity Britain 1945-51|date=7 May 2007| publisher = Bloomsbury| location = London| pages = p. 12| isbn = 978-0-7475-7985-4] [An interview with The Hon. Mrs Rhodes, as part of Channel 4's "The Queen's Wedding"] Two years later, the Princess made her first official overseas tour, when she accompanied her parents to South Africa. It was there that she marked her 21st birthday, when she made a broadcast to the British Commonwealth, pledging "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." [cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4098.asp| title = Historic speeches: 21st birthday speech| author = Princess Elizabeth| date = 21 April 1947| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website| accessdate = 2007-09-09]


Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh, on 20 November 1947. The couple are second cousins once removedndash both being descended from King Christian IX of Denmark; Elizabeth is a great-great-granddaughter through her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, while the Philip is a great-grandson through his paternal grandfather, King George I of Greecendash as well as third cousins, sharing Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother; Elizabeth's great-grandfather was King Edward VII, and his sister was Princess Alice, Philip's great-grandmother. Before Elizabeth's marriage to him, Philip had renounced his claim to the Greek throne, and was then simply referred to as "Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten", an anglicisation of his mother's titular designation, "Battenberg"; it was just before the wedding that he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style of "His Royal Highness".

The marriage was not without controversy: Philip was Greek Orthodox, had no financial standing, and had sisters who had married Nazi supporters. Elizabeth's mother was reported, in later biographies, to have strongly opposed the union, even dubbing Philip as "The Hun".cite web| url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/campaigns/queen80/uqphilip.xml| title = Philip, the one constant through her life| accessdaymonth = 23 January| accessyear = 2007| author = Davies, Caroline|date=2006-04-20| publisher = "The Daily Telegraph"] Still, the Commonwealth had not yet completely rebounded from the devastation of the Second World Warndash though Elizabeth and Philip received over 2,500 wedding gifts from around the world, rationing still required that the Princess save up her rationing coupons to buy the material for her gown [ [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page1729.asp Royal Insight Magazine: Behind-the-Scenes at the Royal Wedding of 1947] ] ndash and the wedding was seen as the first glimmer of a hope of rebirth. At the ceremony, Elizabeth's bridesmaids were her sister; her cousin, Princess Alexandra of Kent; Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott, a cadet relative through their mutual aunt; Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester; her second cousin, Lady Mary Cambridge; Lady Elizabeth Mary Lambart (now Longman), daughter of Frederick Lambart, Earl of Cavan; The Honourable Pamela Mountbatten (now Hicks), Philip's cousin; and two maternal cousins, The Honourable Margaret Elphinstone (now Rhodes) and The Honourable Diana Bowes-Lyon (now Somervell), [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page6120.asp Royal.gov.uk – 60 Facts, Fact 16] ] while her page boys were her young paternal first cousins, Princes William of Gloucester and Michael of Kent. [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page6118.asp Fact 9] ]

Following the wedding, the couple leased their first home, Windlesham Moor, until 4 July 1949, [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page6123.asp Fact 50] ] when they took up residence at Clarence House. However, at various times between 1946 and 1953, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in Malta (at that time a British Protectorate) as a serving Royal Navy officer. Both he and Elizabeth lived for two years, between 1949 and 1951, in the Maltese hamlet of Gwardamangia, at the Villa Gwardamangia (or Villa G'Mangia), which Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma had purchased in about 1929.

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948, several weeks after letters patent were issued by her father allowing her children to enjoy a royal and princely status to which they otherwise would not have been entitled, instead being titled as merely children of a duke. [cite web| url = http://www.heraldica.org/topics/britain/TNA/LCO_6_3676.htm| title = Letters Patent, 22 October 1948| publisher = Heraldica| accessdaymonth = 9 September| accessyear = 2007] Further, though the Royal House is named Windsor, it was decreed through a British Order-in-Council in 1960, that those male-line descendants of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip who were not princes and princesses of the United Kingdom should have the personal surname "Mountbatten-Windsor". [LondonGazette|issue=41948|supp=yes|startpage=1003|date=5 February 1960|accessdate=2007-10-31] In practice, however, all of their children have used Mountbatten-Windsor as their surname (or, in Anne's case, her maiden surname), to honour their father; both Charles and Anne used the surname as their own in the published banns for their first marriages. [Prince of Wales's press office]

Life as queen


George VI's health declined during 1951, and Elizabeth was soon frequently standing in for him at public events, visiting Greece, Italy and Malta. In October of that year, she toured Canada, and visited the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, in Washington, D.C.; on that trip, the Princess carried with her a draft Accession Declaration for use if the King died while she was out of the United Kingdom. By January of 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand; however, when they reached Kenya, word arrived of the death of Elizabeth's father, from lung cancer, on 6 February. The royal party was staying at Sagana Lodge at the time, and Philip broke the news to the new queen. [Lacey, Robert.; "Majesty: Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor"; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; New York; Rose, Kenneth.; 1977, p. 150. ISBN 0-15-155684-9] Martin Charteris, then Assistant Private Secretary to Elizabeth, asked her what she intended to be called as monarch, to which she replied: "Oh, my own name; what else?" [Lacey, 151.] Thereafter, the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom, while Elizabeth was proclaimed queen first in Canada, by the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, on 6 February, [cite web| url = http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-69-70/life_society/new_queen/| title = Canada's New Queen| publisher = CBC| accessdaymonth = 22 August| accessyear = 2007] followed by her British proclamation, read at St. James's Palace the following day.

In 1953, the Queen's grandmother Queen Mary died of lung cancer, on 24 March. Reportedly, her dying wish was that the coronation not be postponed because of her passing. The ceremony thus took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, amid much talk of a "new Elizabethan age." At the Queen's request, the entire procession was, save for the anointing and communion, televised throughout the Commonwealth, and watched by an estimated twenty million people, [Strong, "Coronation", p433–435] who saw Elizabeth in a gown commissioned from Norman Hartnell, which consisted of embroidered floral emblems of the countries of the Commonwealth: the Tudor rose of England, the Scots thistle, the Welsh leek, shamrocks for Ireland, the wattle of Australia, the maple leaf of Canada, the New Zealand fern, South Africa's protea, two lotus flowers for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute. [ [http://www.nga.gov.au/ByAppointment/ National Gallery of Australia: By Appointment: Norman Hartnell's sample for the Coronation dress of Queen Elizabeth II] ] Following the ceremony, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh moved into Buckingham Palace. It has been reported, though, that, as with many of her predecessors, Elizabeth dislikes the palace as a residence, and considers Windsor Castle to be her home.cite web| url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=383595&in_page_id=1770| title = 'The Queen will NEVER consider abdicating'| author = English, Rebecca| publisher = "Daily Mail"|date=2006-04-20| accessdaymonth = 15 October| accessyear = 2006]

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

The metamorphasis of the British Empire began following the Balfour Declaration at the Imperial Conference of 1926, followed by its formalisation in the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Thus, by the time of Elizabeth's accession in 1952, one of her main roles as Queen was already established as a president over a United Kingdom in the process of sharing, more and more, world economic and military power with a growing host of independent nations and principalities. Thus, as countries developed economically and culturally, Elizabeth witnessed, over her reign, the ongoing transformation of the old empire into the new British Commonwealth, and its modern successor, the Commonwealth of Nations. In these circumstances, she focused much of her attention on maintaining links with former British possessions, and, in some cases, such as South Africa, she played an important role in retaining or restoring good relations.

Government papers dating from 1956 were declassified in 2007, and revealed that then French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden had discussed the possibility of France joining in a union with the United Kingdom; among the ideas put forward was one in which Elizabeth was to be the French head of state. A document from 28 September 1956 stated that Mollet "had not thought there need be difficulty over France accepting the headship of Her Majesty." This proposal, however, was never accepted, and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome. [cite web| url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1990795,00.html| title = France and UK considered 1950s 'merger'| publisher = "The Guardian"|date=2007-01-15| accessdaymonth = 15 January| accessyear = 2007]

Duties and milestones

Not long after, the Queen and her husband, from 1953 to 1954, made a six month, around the world tour, making Elizabeth the first monarch to circumnavigate the globe. She also became the first reigning monarch of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji to visit those nations. By 1957, she made a state visit to the United States as Queen of Canada, [ [http://www.royal.gov.uk/files/pdf/1957canada.pdf The Queen's Speeches] ] [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,937945,00.html "Time Magazine": Royal Visit; October 21, 1957] ] [Buckner, Phillip Alfred; "Canada and the End of Empire"; UBC Press; 2004] where the United Nations General Assembly, and, upon returning to Canada, opened the 23rd session of parliament, becoming the first Canadian monarch to do so. Two years later, she was back in the United States, again as sovereign of Canada, to meet with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and, in February 1961, she visited Ankara with Cemal Gursel, and toured India, Iran, Pakistan, and Nepal for the first time.

Throughout her reign Elizabeth has undertaken a large number of state visits to foreign countries, as well as numerous tours of every Commonwealth country, including attending all Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) since the practice was established by Canada in 1973; the Queen had wished to attend the inaugural CHOGM in Singapore in 1971, but was advised not to do so by British Prime Minister Edward Heath. ["Royal" by Robert Lacey, London 2002, Little, Brown publishers, p. 256.] Altogether, Elizabeth II is the most widely-travelled head of state in history. [cite web| author = Challands, Sarah| title = Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 80th birthday|date=2006-04-25| publisher = CTV News| url = http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060418/queen_liz_birthday_060418| accessdaymonth = 13 June| accessyear = 2007] [cite episode| title = The Real Queen| airdate = 2002-01-01]

With the birth of Andrew in 1960, Elizabeth became the first queen regnant to give birth since Victoria bore her daughter, Princess Victoria in 1840. Elizabeth's pregnancies with both Andrew and Edward, in 1959 and 1963, respectively, also marked the only two times Elizabeth did not perform the State Opening of the British parliament during her reign, delegating the task to the Lord Chancellor instead. Elizabeth also sent, in 1969, one of 73 Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages to NASA for the historic first lunar landing, the crew of which the Queen would later meet with during their world tour; the message is etched on a tiny silicon disc that still rests on the moon's surface. [ [http://www.anagrammy.com/misc/queen.html 80 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Queen Elizabeth] ] In 1991, she became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress; in 2005, the first Canadian monarch to address the Legislative Assembly of Alberta; and, in 2007, the first British monarch to address the Virginia General Assembly. On 20 March 2008, The Queen broke with tradition, and, for the first time ever, held a Maundy Service outside of England and Wales; accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Elizabeth attended the Maundy Thursday service in Northern Ireland, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, during a three day visit to coincide with Easter. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7305675.stm Historic first for Maundy Service BBC News 20 March 2008] ]

Jubilees and anniversaries

Having reigned for over five decades as queen, Elizabeth marked a number of significant anniversaries during her time on the throne, the first being the 1977 Silver Jubilee of her accession. [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/7/newsid_2562000/2562633.stm 1977| title = Queen celebrates Silver Jubilee| publisher = BBC News: On This Day] The eventsndash which took place in many countries throughout the Queen's associated Commonwealth tour, and included a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral attended by dignitaries and other heads of statendash were watched on television by millions, and parties were held throughout the Commonwealth realms, culminating in several "Jubilee Days" in the UK, in June. In Britain, commemorative stamps were also issued; the Jubilee Line of the London Underground (though opened in 1979) was named for the anniversary; and several other public locations and spaces were similarly named, including the Jubilee Gardens in London's South Bank, while, in Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal was issued and an equestrian statue of the Queen was unveiled on Parliament Hill. A quarter century later, in 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as queen, [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2002/the_golden_jubilee/| title = In Depth: The Golden Jubilee| publisher = BBC News] again undertaking an extensive tour of her realms. Though public celebrations in the UK were more muted than those that had taken place 25 years earlier, due, in part, to the death of both the Queen's mother and sister earlier that year, street parties and commemorative events were still planned in many locales. Also, as in 1977, monuments were named and gifts offered to honour the occasion, including, in Canada, the Golden Jubilee Journalism New Media Centre at Sheridan College, and the Queen Elizabeth II Wildlands Provincial Park.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in five years following the Golden Jubilee, with a special service at Westminster Abbey and private dinner hosted by Prince Charles at Clarence House on 19 November, and, the following day (their actual anniversary) a dinner party with other members of the Royal Family, former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Margaret Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, sitting Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition David Cameron, and the surviving bridesmaids and pages from the original wedding party. On 21 November, Elizabeth and Philip travelled to Malta, where a Royal Navy ship that was docked in the vicinity arranged its crew members on deck in the form of the number 60.


By 27 August 1985, Elizabeth became the longest serving Canadian monarch (passing Victoria's 33 years) at which point she became the longest reigning in all of the Commonwealth realms beyond the UK. Then, in late February 2003, the Queen's reign surpassed those of her four immediate predecessors combined (Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII, and George VI), after which she gained the distinctions of being the third longest reigning British or English monarch, the second-longest-serving monarch of a sovereign state (after King Bhumibol of Thailand) and, by 21 December 2007, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (who lived to the age of 81 years, seven months, and 28 days) as the oldest reigning monarch in both the UK and the other Commonwealth realms' combined history. All-together, she has had 148 prime ministers from all of her realms, including 13 for New Zealand; eleven each for Australia, Canada, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom; and nine each for Jamaica and the Solomon Islands.
thumb|left|upright|The_Queen_(left)_walks_with_then_American First Lady Pat Nixon upon the Nixons' visit to the United Kingdom, 1970.]

Should she still be living on 29 January 2012, Elizabeth will have overtaken Richard Cromwell as the longest-lived British head of state, including those who did not hold office until their death, and, if Elizabeth is alive on 19 September 2013, and still survived by her son Charles, the Prince of Wales will become the oldest to ever succeed to the throne, surpassing William IV, who was 64. On 10 September 2015, when Elizabeth should be 89, the Queen's reign will be longer than that of Queen Victoria, making Elizabeth the longest reigning monarch in British history, and, if she is still on the throne on 26 May 2024 (at age 98), Elizabeth's reign will surpass that of King Louis XIV of France, seeing her become the longest reigning monarch in European history.

Health and reduced duties

Elizabeth's health was generally stable throughout her reign, though, as she aged, and while she continued to be described as having excellent health and seldom ill,cite web| url = http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13374768,00.html| title = Queen Catches A Cold|date=2005-06-20| accessdaymonth = 20 October| accessyear = 2006| publisher = Sky News] expected complications did begin to arise. In June 2005, the Queen cancelled several engagements after contracting what the Palace described as a bad cold. Then, in October 2006, she suffered a burst blood vessel in her right eye, causing it to appear deep red in colour.cite web| url = http://www.theroyalist.net/content/view/1306/2/| title = The Queen Proves She's A Real Trooper|date=2006-10-11| accessdaymonth = 20 October| accessyear = 2006| author = Leyland, Joanne| publisher = The Royalist] While there was no comment on this matter from Buckingham Palace, medical experts did state that the Queen would have suffered no pain, and would be back to normal health within a week or two, without lasting damage. Notably, however, they also raised the point that burst blood vessels, though common in the elderly, could be a sign of high blood pressure. Later in the same month, the Queen was forced to cancel her appointment to officially open the new Emirates Stadium, because of a strained back muscle that had been causing her trouble since the end of her holiday at Balmoral Castle that summer. [cite news
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6087724.stm| title = Queen cancels visit due to injury| publisher = BBC News|date=2006-10-26
] This marked a point wherein Elizabeth's back began to cause more serious concerns; in November of the same year there were worries that the Queen would not be well enough to open the British parliament, and, though she was able to attend, plans were drawn up to cover her possible absence. Then, in December, Elizabeth faced rumours that she was in declining health when she was seen in public with an adhesive bandage on her right hand, the position of which suggested that she may have been fitted with an intravenous drip, possibly, and especially in light of her back troubles, due to osteoporosis. The Palace again issued no comments, [cite news| url = http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=420950&in_page_id=1770| title = Plaster on Queen's hand: minor cut or IV drip?| author = Greenhill, Sam and Hope, Jenny| publisher = "Daily Mail"|date=2006-12-06] but it was later revealed that the bandage was as a result of one of her corgis biting her hand as she separated two that had been fighting. [cite news| url = http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006570726,00.html| title = Corgi put the queen in plaster| author = Whittaker, Thomas| publisher = "The Sun"|date=2006-12-14]

At the time of her 80th birthday, the Queen made it clear that she harboured no intentions of abdicating; For a number of years preceding the Queen's birthday, both Prince Charles and Princess Anne had been each standing in for their mother at events such as investitures, and acting as Counsellors of State, leading to some speculation in the British press that Prince Charles would start to perform many of the day-to-day duties of the monarch while Elizabeth effectively went into retirement. [http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23375011-details/Key+aides+move+to+Windsor+ahead+of+Queen's+retirement/article.do This is London – Key aides move to Windsor ahead of Queen's retirement] ] However, Buckingham Palace announced, at the time, that Elizabeth would continue with her duties, both public and private, well into the future. [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page3956.asp Royal.gov.uk – Corrections] ] This adherence to duty reflected well with the public, as revealed in polls conducted just before the Queen's 80th birthday, in which it was revealed that the majority of respondents desired that Elizabeth remain on the throne until her death, many feeling that she had become an institution in herself.cite web| url = http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7003227578| title = Poll: Queen Elizabeth "Most Popular Royal"| accessdaymonth = 20 October| accessyear = 2006| author = Bansal, Shaveta| publisher = All Headline News]

Views, perceptions, and characteristics

Little is publicly known of Elizabeth's personal feelings, as she has almost never given press interviews, meaning that most of what the world is aware of about the Queen comes from commentary by associates and friends, as well as from demonstration. It has been said that she has a deep sense of religious duty, civic duty, and takes her coronation oath seriously, ["It's not like a normal job, it's a job for life. [The vows made on Coronation Day were] so deep and so special [to the Queen] ... She wouldn't consider not continuing to fulfil those vows until she dies." The Hon Margaret Rhodes, cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4921120.stm| title = Queen 'will do her job for life'| publisher = BBC News|date=2006-04-19| accessdaymonth = 4 February| accessyear = 2007] most of which was the focus of the 2006 semi-biographical film about Elizabeth titled "The Queen". Elizabeth also became known for her conservative fashions, consisting mostly of solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which altogether allow her to be seen easily in a crowd,cite news| first = Jess| last = Cartner-Morley| url = http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,2076067,00.html| title = Elizabeth II, belated follower of fashion| date = 2007-05-10| accessdate = 2007-05-10| work = The Guardian| pages = p2, G2 section| publisher = Guardian Media Group| id = ISSN|0261-3077] such as at one of the many cultural events she attends as part of her official duties. Out of the public eye, her main leisure interests are known to include horse racing,cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4832.asp| title = 80 Facts About The Queen| accessdate = 2007-01-18| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website] photography,cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4829.asp| title = 80 Facts About The Queen| accessdate = 2007-01-18| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website] and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4831.asp| title = 80 Facts About The Queen| accessdate = 2007-01-18| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website]


The Queen has been witnessed showing a strong constitution in the face of danger; for example, during a trip to Ghana in 1961, she pointedly refused to keep her distance from the then President of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, despite the fact that he was a target for assassins. Harold Macmillan wrote at the time: "the Queen has been absolutely determined all through. She is impatient of the attitude towards her 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." Robert Speaight also wrote in "Vanier, Soldier, Diplomat and Governor General: A Biography" that when Elizabeth was invited to Quebec in 1964, at the height of the separatist movement in the province, there were concerns for her safety, "while the media whipped up a campaign of fear around the risks involved from separatist threats, and there was talk of cancelling the tour." Indeed, it was reported that the terrorist organization "Front de libération du Québec" had made assassination threats against the Queen. [Speaight, Robert; "Vanier, Soldier, Diplomat, Governor General: A Biography"] The Queen's private secretary at that point replied that the Elizabeth would have been horrified to have been prevented from going because of "the activities of extremists."cite web| url = http://www.crht.ca/LibraryShelf/CourageoftheQueen.html| title = Courage of the Queen| publisher = Canadian Royal Heritage Trust| accessdaymonth = 24 July| accessyear = 2007] During the Trooping the Colour in 1981, there was an actual apparent attack on the Queen's life: six rounds of blanks were fired at her from close range as she rode down The Mall, to which she reacted only by ducking slightly and then continuing on. The Canadian House of Commons was so impressed by her display of courage that a motion was passed praising her composure. The following year, the Queen also found herself in another precarious situation when she awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find a strange man, Michael Fagan, in the room with her. Remaining calm throughout, for approximately ten minutes, and through two calls to the palace police switchboard, Elizabeth spoke to Fagan while he sat at the foot of her bed until assistance arrived.Davidson, Spencer. [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,922952,00.html "God Save the Queen, Fast"] , "Time" (26 July 1982), page 33.]


Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years of her time as queen. "Forbes" magazine conservatively estimated the amount at around US$600 million (GB£330 million), [ [http://www.forbes.com/business/2007/08/30/worlds-richest-royals-biz-royals07-cx_lk_0830royalintro.html?boxes=relstories Forbes List of the World's Richest Royals] ] a figure that agrees with official Buckingham Palace statements that called the reports of the Queen's supposed multi-billion dollar wealth "grossly over-exaggerated." The "Forbes" amount, however, conflicts with a total addition of Elizabeth's personal holdings: the Royal Collection is worth an approximate GB£10 billion, though it is held in trust for her successors and the British nation. [ [http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/default.asp?action=article&ID=9 The Royal Collection - What is the Royal Collection?] ] [ [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page601.asp The Royal Collection > About the Royal Collection] ]

Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle are also privately owned by the Queen, having inherited them from her father on his death, along with the Duchy of Lancaster, itself valued at GB£310 million and which transfers a private income to the monarch of £9.811 million in 2006. Press reports at the time of her mother's death in 2002 speculated that Elizabeth inherited an estate worth approximately GB£70 million. [cite web| url = http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=490652002| title = Queen to escape £28m inheritance tax| author = Chamberlain, Gethin|date=2002-05-07| publisher = "The Scotsman"] Elizabeth also technically owns the British Crown Estatendash with holdings of GB£7 billion, but the income of this is transferred to her British treasury in return for the Civil List paymentsndash and the Crown Land of Canada, comprising 89% (or approximately 8,885,000 km²)Cite web|url=http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002049
title=Crown Land|accessdate=2007-02-12|author=V.P. NEIMANIS|work=The Canadian Encyclopedia: Geography|publisher=Historica Foundation of Canada
] of the country's 9,984,670 km² areandash though this is equivalent to a entailed estate, owned by Elizabeth as Queen in Right of Canada, which cannot be sold by her in a private capacity.


As a constitutional monarch, Elizabeth has not expressed her personal political opinions in a public forum, maintaining this discipline throughout her reign. However, some evidence suggested that, in economics, she leans toward a One Nation viewpoint; during Margaret Thatcher's time as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, it was rumoured that Elizabeth was worried about Thatcher's economic policies fostering social divisions, and was reportedly alarmed by the high unemployment in Britain at the time, a series of riots that occurred in 1981, and the violence of a miners' strike.John Campbell, "Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady" (Jonathan Cape, 2003)] Thatcher herself said to Brian Walden, referring to the Social Democratic Party: "The problem is, the Queen is the kind of woman who could vote SDP."

British national unity

During an event in Westminster Hall that marked her Silver Jubilee as Queen, Elizabeth said in her speech: "I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." This reference came at a time when the Labour government was attempting to introduce a controversial devolution policy in regards to Scotland and Wales, and was interpreted as a subtle expression of opposition to the scheme. Similarly, her statement of praise for the Northern Ireland Belfast Agreement raised some complaints among Unionists, who were traditionally strong monarchists. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and founder of the Evangelical Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, famously broke with Unionism's traditional deference to the British Crown by calling the Queen "a parrot" of Tony Blair, suggesting that Elizabeth's support for the agreement would weaken the monarchy's standing among Northern Irish Protestants, a substantial number of whom remained opposed to certain parts of the accord. [cite web| url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/events/northern_ireland/latest_news/100761.stm| title = 'The Queen is a parrot' - Paisley| publisher = BBC News|date=1998-05-26] After referendums held in the 1990s came out in favour of a devolution plan, the Queen sent her best wishes to the newly established Scottish parliament and National Assembly of Wales, the first sessions of which she opened in person.

Canadian national unity

While never speaking directly against Quebec separatism, Elizabeth did publicly praise Canada's unity and expressed her wish to see the continuation of a unified Canada, sometimes courting controversy over the matter. In a speech to the Quebec Legislature in 1964, while the Quiet Revolution was ongoing, she ignored the national controversy (and the riots during her appearance in Quebec City) in favour of praising Canada's two "complimentary cultures," speaking, in both French and English, about the strength of Canada's two founding peoples, stating: "I am pleased to think there exists in our Commonwealth a country where I can express myself officially in French," and, "whenever you sing [the French words of] "O Canada" you are reminded that you come of a proud race."cite web| url = http://www.crht.ca/DiscoverMonarchyFiles/QueenElizabethII.html| publisher = Canadian Royal Heritage Trust| title = Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada| accessdaymonth = 6 March| accessyear = 2007] [cite web| url = http://archives.cbc.ca/500f.asp?id=1-69-70-236| title = 1964 Quebec visit – speech| publisher = CBC] Later, after she proclaimed the Constitution Act in 1982, which was the first time in Canadian history that a major constitutional change had been made without the agreement of the government of Quebec, Elizabeth attempted to demonstrate her position as head of the whole Canadian nation, and her role as conciliator, by privately expressing to journalists at a reception at Rideau Hall regret that Quebec had not been a part of the settlement.

The Queen, in 1995, and during a Quebec separatist referendum campaign, was tricked into revealing her more personal opinions on Quebec secession when Pierre Brassard, a DJ for Radio CKOI-FM Montreal, telephoned Buckingham Palace pretending to be then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, and kept a convinced Queen Elizabeth in a fourteen minute conversation that vascilated between French and English. When told that the separatists were showing a lead in the polls, Elizabeth revealed that she felt the "referendum may go the wrong way," adding, "if I can help in any way, I will be happy to do so." However, she pointedly refused to accept the advice, from the man whom she believed to be Chrétien, that she intervene in the referendum without first seeing a draft speech sent by the Prime Minister's Office. The Queen eventually began to have suspicions about the person to whom she was speaking and ended the conversation, though her tactful handling of the call won plaudits from Brassard. [cite web| url = http://www.monarchist.ca/mc/queenpr.htm| author = Bousfield, Arthur| publisher = Monarchy Canada| title = A Queen Canada Should be Proud Of|month=April | year=1996] Chrétien later, in his memoirs, recounted the Queen's tongue-in-cheek comments to him regarding this affair: "'I didn't think you sounded quite like yourself,' she told me, 'but I thought, given all the duress you were under, you might have been drunk.'" [cite web| url = http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=70a78606-30c2-438e-b541-d6e4ce00087a&k=14039&p=3| title = Chretien's Revenge|date=2007-10-14| author = Thompson, Elizabeth| publisher = "The Gazette"| accessdaymonth = 15 October| accessyear = 2007]


On 18 November 1965, the Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen; this came a week after Ian Smith had made his Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). Gibbs was intensely loyal to Rhodesia, and, although he had refused to accept the UDI, the award was criticised by some as badly timed. Others praised it as indicating support for her Rhodesian representative in the face of an illegal action by her Rhodesian prime minister.


Aside from her official religious roles in the United Kingdom, Elizabeth personally worships with the Anglican church, regularly attending services no matter where she is in the world, though more often at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, at St Mary Magdalene Church when staying at Sandringham House, or at Crathie Kirk when holidaying at Balmoral Castle. Frequently, the Queen will add a personal note about her faith to her annual Royal Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth, such as in the 2000 edition, wherein she spoke about the theological significance of the millennium marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ: "To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ, and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example." [cite web| url = http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page4656.asp| title = Historic speeches: Christmas Broadcast 2000| author = Elizabeth II|date=2000-12-25| publisher = British Monarchy Official Website| accessdaymonth = 9 September| accessyear = 2007] Elizabeth also demonstrated support for inter-faith relations, often meeting with leaders of other religions, and granting her personal patronage to the Council of Christians and Jews. [cite web| url = http://www.ccj.org.uk/Presidents.html| title = Presidents, Vice Presidents and Board| publisher = Council of Christians and Jews| accessdaymonth = 9 September| accessyear = 2007]

Role in government

Appointment of her prime ministers

On three occasions during Elizabeth's reign, she has had to deal with constitutional problems relating the formation of her UK government. In 1957, and again in 1963, the absence of a formal open mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that, following the sudden resignations of Sir Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. As Eden did not proffer any advice on his successor to Elizabeth, she consulted Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury, and David Maxwell Fyfe, Earl of Kilmuir, for the opinion of the Cabinet, as well as Winston Churchill, as the only living former Conservative Prime Minister, thus following on the precedent of her grandfather consulting Salisbury's father and Arthur Balfour upon Andrew Bonar Law's resignation in 1923. Unlike the situation with Eden, Macmillan advised the Queen to appoint Alec Douglas-Home, Earl of Home as Prime Minister. Then, in February 1974, an inconclusive general election result meant that, in theory, the outgoing Prime Minister, Edward Heath, whose party had won the popular vote, could stay in office if he formed a coalition government with the Liberals. Rather than immediately resign as Prime Minister, Heath explored this option, and only resigned when discussions on forming a cooperative government foundered, after which the Queen was able to ask the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, Labour's Harold Wilson, to form a government.

Relations with ministers

Carrying on the tradition of her predecessors, the Queen holds weekly audiences with her British Prime Ministerndash usually on Tuesdays, and with no other advisers ["Royal", by Robert Lacey, 2002.] ndash and with her other prime ministers when they and she are in the same country; be they in the UK, she in the minister's respective realm, or both in another country for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. On tours of her non-UK realms, Elizabeth will also generally meet with the leaders of her loyal opposition, and/or the premiers of the states (in Australia) or provinces (in Canada). Since becoming queen, she spends an average of three hours each day "doing the boxes"ndash reading state papers sent to her from the various departments, embassies, and government offices of her realms; [Information supplied by the Royal Household to a parliamentary inquiry into the workings of the monarchy in the early 1970s.] having done this for more than five decades, Elizabeth has seen more of state affairs from an inside view than any other person presently in any of her governments. This, coupled with her many interactions with numerous successive prime ministers from all her realms, as well as with other world leaders, means that when she does express an opinion, however cautiously, her words are taken with gravity.

United Kingdom

Besides meeting with her British Prime Minister on a regular basis, Elizabeth also meets with her other British ministers, as well as the First Minister of Scotland. These ministers take their meetings with the Queen very seriously; one prime minister said he took them more so than Prime Minister's Questions because the Queen was better informed and more constructive than anything he would face at the dispatch box.Fact|date=August 2007 About her meetings with the Queen, Margaret Thatcher said in her memoirs: "Anyone who imagines that they are a formality or confined to social niceties is quite wrong; they are quietly business-like and Her Majesty brings to bear a formidable grasp of current issues and breadth of experience."

Elizabeth was thought to have had strained relations with Thatcher during the latter's eleven years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; reports throughout the period varied over the extent of this difference and to what degree it was due to concerns over policies of the Thatcher government, or a personality clash between the two women, [cite web| url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A0DE4DA153DF933A15754C0A960948260| title = Newspaper Says Queen Is Upset by Thatcher| publisher = "The New York Times"|date=1986-07-20] some going as far as to report the Queen's feelings towards Thatcher as "cordial dislike." [cite web| url = http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article576422.ece| title = Atticus| publisher = "The Sunday Times"|date=2005-10-09] Some of this speculation may have emerged from public actions by the Queen, such as when, during a disagreement within the Commonwealth over sanctions on South Africa, Elizabeth made a pointed reference to her role as Head of the Commonwealth, which was then interpreted by the media as a personal criticism of Thatcher's policy of opposing sanctions. None-the-less, despite any differences between them, Thatcher later clearly conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen, and expressed her belief that the image of animosity between the two of them had been played up because their both being women. In the BBC documentary "Queen & Country", Thatcher described the Queen as "marvellous" and "a perfect lady" who "always knows just what to say," referring, in particular, to her final meeting as prime minister with Elizabeth. Following Thatcher's departure from politics, Elizabeth conferred on the former prime minister two personal gifts of the sovereign: appointment to the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter, and both the Queen and Prince Philip attended Thatcher's 80th birthday party, indicating at least a basic respect for Thatcher on the part of the Queen.

It was initially thought that Elizabeth had very good relations with Tony Blair, during his first five years as Prime Minister. However, evidence mounted thereafter that their relationship had hardened as the years passed, [cite web| url = http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=13504116| title = Queen Elizabeth feels snubbed by Blair|date=2004-06-23| publisher = Sify] until it was revealed in May 2007 that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by Blair's actions, especially what she saw as a detachment from rural issues, as well as a too-casual approach (he requested that the Queen call him "Tony") and a contempt for British heritage. Elizabeth was also rumoured to have shown concern with the over-taxation of the British Armed Forces through overseas engagements, particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as "surprise" over Blair's shifting of their weekly meetings from Tuesday to Wednesday afternoons. She was supposed to have raised these concerns with Blair repeatedly at these meetings, though she never revealed her opinions on the Iraq War itself. [cite web| url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=VUFMK0FTBH0ZPQFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/05/27/nqueen27.xml| author = Alderson, Andrew| publisher = "The Daily Telegraph"| title = Revealed: Queen's dismay at Blair legacy|date=2007-05-28| accessdaymonth = 31 May| accessyear = 2007] Further, relations between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and Blair and his wife, Cherie, were reported to be distant, as the two couples shared few common interests. Elizabeth did, however, apparently admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland. [cite web| url = http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/27/nqueen127.xml| author = Alderson, Andrew| publisher = "The Daily Telegraph"| title = Tony and Her Majesty: an uneasy relationship|date=2007-05-27| accessdaymonth = 31 May| accessyear = 2007]

In a BBC documentary broadcast in 1992, "Elizabeth R.", the Queen was shown teasing former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath about how he could travel to world trouble spots like Iraq because politicians saw him as "expendable," a comment he found humorous.


Elizabeth's relations with her Canadian prime ministers have varied throughout the years. Pierre Trudeau seemed to have caused the Queen some concern, perhaps due to his documented antics around her, such as sliding down bannisters at Buckingham Palace and his famous pirouette behind her back, captured on film in 1977, as well as the removal of various royal symbols from Canada during his premiership. The Queen was reported, by Paul Martin, Sr., as worrying that the Crown "had little meaning for [Trudeau] ." Still, Trudeau advised Elizabeth to attend the 1973 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held that year in Ottawa; the advice was accepted, and, by several accounts, the meetings were much more productive than the 1971 Singapore conference. It was observed that the Queen performed an important leadership role; the heads of government were much better behaved when she was present. ["Memoirs", by Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Toronto 1993, McClelland & Stewart publishers.]

Martinndash who, along with John Roberts and Mark MacGuigan, was sent to the UK in 1980 to discuss the patriation of the Canadian constitutionndash noted that during this time, the Queen had taken a deep interest in the constitutional debate, especially following the failure of Bill C-60, which affected her role as head of state. The entire party found the Queen "better informed on both the substance and the politics of Canada's constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats." [cite web| url = http://www.monarchist.ca/cmn/2001/opinion.htm| author = Heinricks, Geoff| publisher = Canadian Monarchist News, reprinted from the "National Post"| title = Trudeau and the Monarchy| date = Winter/Spring, 2000-01] However, a result of the constitutional patriation, orchestrated by Trudeau, was the entrenchment of the monarchy within Canada's governing system, after which Trudeau said in his memoirs: "I always said it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our Constitution. The Queen, who was favourable, Margaret Thatcher, who undertook to do everything that our Parliament asked of her, and Jean Wadds, who represented the interests of Canada so well in London... The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation. [Trudeau, Pierre E.; "Memoirs"; McClelland & Stewart/Tundra Books; Plattsburgh, NY; 1996. ISBN 0-7710858-8-5]


In comparison to her relations with other prime minister, Elizabeth's relations with those from Australia have been less direct. During the 1975 constitutional crisis in Australia, at the height of which Gough Whitlam was dismissed from his post as Prime Minister by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, Gordon Scholes, then Speaker of the House of Representatives, appealed on behalf of the house to the Queen for her to reverse Kerr's decision, on the basis that Whitlam's Labor Party still enjoyed the confidence of the house. Elizabeth declined to intervene, however, saying that it was not appropriate for her to intercede in affairs that are reserved for the Governor-General alone by the Australian constitution. [ [http://whitlamdismissal.com/documents/letter-from-queen.shtml The Whitlam Dismissal: Letter from the Queen's Private Secretary] ] It was rumoured, based on unverified statements attributed to Elizabeth's longtime, now retired, Private Secretary Sir Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes, that there were several discussions about the Queen stepping into the crisis, but this path was not chosen due to concerns about the dangers of strengthening republican sentiments in Australia.Fact|date=July 2008

Relations with foreign leaders

Elizabeth II established numerous friendships, described as warm and informal, with foreign leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson, and George W. Bush. Mary McAleese, the President of Ireland, recounted her shock when, at the time she was Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University of Belfast, she was invited to lunch with Elizabeth and Prince Philip as a chance for the Queen to talk to her as a Northern Ireland nationalist and hear her views on Anglo-Irish relations. The two women struck up an instant rapport, after which McAleese, during the 1997 Irish presidential election, and in an "Irish Independent" interview, called Elizabeth "a dote," a Hiberno-English term meaning "really lovely person." Mandela was heard on film in a BBC documentary referring to the Queen as "my friend, Elizabeth."

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Infobox shared monarchs
royal name = Elizabeth II
dipstyle = Her Majesty
offstyle = Your Majesty
altstyle = Ma'am

Titles and styles

*21 April 1926ndash 11 December 1936: "Her Royal Highness" Princess Elizabeth of York
*11 December 1936ndash 20 November 1947: "Her Royal Highness" The Princess Elizabeth
*20 November 1947ndash 6 February 1952: "Her Royal Highness" The Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
*since 6 February 1952: "Her Majesty" The Queen

Following Elizabeth's accession to the throne, a decision was reached by Commonwealth prime ministers at the Commonwealth Conference of 1953, whereby the Queen would be accorded different styles and titles in each of her realms, reflecting that in each state she acted as monarch of that particular country, regardless of her other roles. Traditionally, Elizabeth's titles as queen regnant are listed in the order in which the remaining origin realms first became Dominions of the Crown: the United Kingdom (original dominion), Canada (1867), Australia (1901), and New Zealand (1907), followed by the rest in order in which the former Crown colony became an independent realm: Jamaica (1962), Barbados (1966), the Bahamas (1973), Grenada (1974), Papua New Guinea (1975), the Solomon Islands (1978), Tuvalu (1978), Saint Lucia (1979), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1979), Antigua and Barbuda (1981), Belize (1981), and Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983). Still, in common practive, Elizabeth is referred to most often as simply "The Queen" or "Her Majesty". If a distinction is necessary, this may be modified to be "Her Britannic Majesty", "Her Australian Majesty", "Her Canadian Majesty", etc., as is called for. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially address her as "Your Majesty" and thereafter as "Ma'am".

cottish controversy

Though the situation was the same in every one of the Queen's realms beyond England (save, perhaps for Canada), only in Scotland did the title "Elizabeth II" caused controversy as there had never been an "Elizabeth I" in Scotland. In a rare act of sabotage, new Royal Mail post boxes in Scotland, bearing the cypher "EIIR", were vandalised, after which, to avoid further problems, post boxes and Royal Mail vehicles in Scotland bore only the Crown of Scotland. A legal case, MacCormick v. Lord Advocate (1953 SC 396), was taken to contest the right of the Queen to title herself "Elizabeth II" within Scotland, arguing that to do so would be a breach of the Act of Union. The case, however, was lost on the grounds that the pursuers had not title to sue the Crown, and also that the numbering of monarchs was part of the Royal Prerogative, and thus not governed by the Act of Union. It was decided that future British monarchs would be numbered according to either their English or Scottish predecessors, whichever number is higher; equivalent rules have not, however, been applied in the other Commonwealth realms.

Less publicised controversies included the argument that the monarch was addressed as "Your Grace" in pre-union Scotland, and that the preferred title had been "King/Queen of Scots" rather than "of Scotland". At the opening of the Scottish parliament in 1999, presiding officer David Steel referred to Elizabeth II as "not only the Queen of the United Kingdom but seated as you are among us in the historic and constitutionally correct manner as Queen of Scots."

Honours and military positions

In her position as sovereign of multiple states, Elizabeth automatically holds the position of Commander-in-Chief in some of her realms, such as Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. In the latter, she also serves as Commandant-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force and Lord High Admiral of the Royal Navy. Since before she ascended to the throne, however, Elizabeth has also been installed as Colonel-in-Chief, Captain-General, Air-Commodore-in-Chief, Commissioner, Brigadier, Commandant-in-Chief, and Royal Colonel of at least 96 regiments throughout the Commonwealth.

As a long reigning and widely travelled monarch, Elizabeth has also been the recipient of a great many honours and awards from various countries around the world, whether her own or foreign. Before her accession, Elizabeth was honoured in her own right by appointment to the Royal Family Order of King George V (1926), the Royal Family Order of King George VI (1937), the Order of the Garter (1947), the Imperial Order of the Crown of India (1947), and the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (1951), as well as being awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee Medal (1935), the King George VI Coronation Medal (1937), the Defence Medal (1945), the War Medal 1939–1945 (1945), and the Canadian Forces Decoration (1951). Since her accession, Elizabeth has acted as sovereign of 32 different national and personal orders, as well as Grand Master of the Order of the National Hero in St. Kitts and Nevis. She has also been the recipient of 74 different appointments and decorations by foreign states, and holds five honorary degrees in the United Kingdom.


From 21 April 1944 until her marriage to the Duke of Edinburgh, [ [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/britain/cadency.htm Heraldica – British Royal Cadency] ] Princess Elizabeth's arms consisted of a lozenge bearing the same charges as the shield of the Royal Arms of the British monarch, and a label of three points argent, the centre bearing a Tudor Rose and the first and third a red cross. Following her marriage, these arms were impaled with those of the Duke of Edinburgh; she held these until her accession as queen, [ [http://www.britishflags.net/queen.html britishflags, HM The Queen] ] after which, as the sovereign of each of the Commonwealth realms, she acquired the arms of the monarch of each of those countries, in most cases formally known as the "Arms of Her Majesty in Right of [Country] " or the "Royal Arms of [Country] ". The governments of the realms use these arms as symbols of the authority of the Crown.

Similarly, Elizabeth also bears a number of personal flags for use in some of her realms: two in the United Kingdom (one for Scotland and another for all other areas), and one each for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, and Barbados. These consist of the banners of the associated Royal Arms, all, save for those of the UK, defaced with Elizabeth's personal badge: a crowned letter "E" within a circle of roses on a blue disk. This same badge is also used as the Queen's personal flag for her role as Head of the Commonwealth, or for visiting Commonwealth countries where she is not head of state.



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1= 1. Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
2= 2. George VI of the United Kingdom
3= 3. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
4= 4. George V of the United Kingdom
5= 5. Mary of Teck
6= 6. Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
7= 7. Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck
8= 8. Edward VII of the United Kingdom
9= 9. Alexandra of Denmark
10= 10. Francis, Duke of Teck
11= 11. Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge
12= 12. Claude Bowes-Lyon, 13th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne
13= 13. Frances Dora Smith
14= 14. Charles William Frederick Cavendish-Bentinck
15= 15. Caroline Louisa Burnaby
16= 16. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
17= 17. Victoria of the United Kingdom
18= 18. Christian IX of Denmark
19= 19. Louise of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
20= 20. Duke Alexander of Württemberg
21= 21. Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde
22= 22. Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge
23= 23. Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel)
24= 24. Thomas George Bowes-Lyon, Lord Glamis
25= 25. Charlotte Grimstead
26= 26. Oswald Smith
27= 27. Henrietta Hodgson
28= 28. William Charles Augustus Cavendish-Bentinck
29= 29. Anne Wellesley
30= 30. Edwyn Burnaby
31= 31. Anne Caroline Salisbury

ee also

* List of state leaders
* List of the wealthiest royals
* Other notable events in 1953, the coronation year


* Allison, Ronald; "The Queen: 50 Years - A Celebration"; HarperCollins UK (October 1, 2001) (ISBN 0004140788)
* Barker, Brian; "When the Queen Was Crowned"; Routledge (1986) (ISBN 0710083971)
* Bond, J.; "Elizabeth"; Reader's Digest Association (2002) (ISBN 0-7621-0369-8)
* Bradford, Sarah; "Elizabeth: A Biography of Britain's Queen"; Riverhead Trade (May 1, 1997) (ISBN 1573226009)
* Erickson, Carolly; "Lillibet: An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II"; St. Martin's Press; 1st edition (January 26, 2004) (ISBN 0312287348)
* Field, Leslie; "The Jewels of Queen Elizabeth II: Her Personal Collection"; Harry N Abrams; Rev Sub edition (April 1992) (ISBN 0810924978)
* Flamin, Ronald; "Sovereign: Elizabeth II and the Windsor Dynasty"; Delacorte (1991) (ASIN B001ALWFN8)
* Keay, Douglas; "Elizabeth II: Portrait of a Monarch"; Arrow; New Ed edition (1992) (ISBN 0099101815)
* Kelley, Kitty; "The Royals"; New York; Warner Books (1997) (ISBN 0-446-51712-7)
* Lacey, Robert; "Royal"; (2002); London; Little, Brown publishers
* Lacey, Robert; "Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II"; Free Press (May 6, 2003) (ISBN 0743236696)
* Lord Lichfield; "Elizabeth R: A Photographic Celebration of 40 Years"; Bantam Doubleday Dell Canada (1992) (ASIN B000OLLD1U)
* Noakes, Michael & Noakes, Vivien; "The Daily Life of the Queen: An Artist's Diary"; Trafalgar Square (2001) (ISBN 009186982X)
* Pimlott, Ben; "The Queen: Elizabeth II and the Monarchy"; Harper Collins;revised edition (2007) (ISBN 0-007-11436-2)
* Todd, Judy; "The Country Life Book of Queen Elizabeth II: A Golden Anniversary Tribute"; Country Life Books (1985) (ISBN 0600333221)
* Waller, Maureen; "Sovereign Ladies: Sex, Sacrifice, and Power. The Six Reigning Queens of England"; New York, St. Martin's Press (2006) (ISBN 0-312-33801-5)
* "Jubilee A Celebration of 50 Years of the Reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II"; Cassell & Co (2002) (ASIN B000BMS0UE)


* Frier, Angela & Barnes, Carol; "Queen Elizabeth II: The Power and the Glory"; Independent Television News (1991)
* Spry-Leverton, Peter; "Days of Majesty"; Kultur White Star (October 30, 2007) (ASIN B000V02CR8)
* "The Coronation Story"; Sirocco Productions, Inc. (1993)


External links

* [http://www.royal.gov.uk/ Official website]
* [http://www.time.com/time/europe/html/060417/story.html Elizabeth II: Modern Monarch]
* [http://youtube.com/watch?v=_moIV4wDQsY The Queen's Television address] for Diana, 1997
* [http://www.sim64.co.uk/queens.html The Queen's Christmas messages]
* [http://encarta.msn.com/media_461541878_761556932_-1_1_BB/media.html A short video of Elizabeth's coronation] from Encarta encyclopedia.
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/uk/2002/the_golden_jubilee/ BBC Coverage of The Queens Golden Jubilee (2002) including AUDIO/VIDEO coverage]
* [http://www.tree.familyhistory.uk.com/fproyal.php The Royal Family Tree of Europe]
* [http://archives.cbc.ca/IDD-1-69-70/life_society/new_queen/ CBC Digital Archives - Canada's New Queen]
* [http://archives.cbc.ca/society/monarchy/clips/4369/ CBC Digital Archives - Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II]
* [http://video.milliyet.com.tr/m.swf?id=17294&tarih=2008/05/14 1961-2008 Visits of Queen Elizabeth II in Ankara]
* [http://en.rodovid.org/wk/Person:29818 Genealogical Entry on Rodovid, the Geneology Wiki]

NAME=Elizabeth II
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
DATE OF BIRTH=21 April 1926
PLACE OF BIRTH=London, United Kingdom

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