Since February 6th, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II has served the United Kingdom as their monarch, or better known, as their queen. For the past 70 years, through triumphs, tribulations, heartbreaks, and more, Queen Elizabeth II has stood strong as the head of her family and her country. She has changed history in many ways, including becoming England’s longest-reigning monarch. This year, the world is coming together to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with the celebrations culminating with a four-day weekend in the United Kingdom in June.
As the festivities get on the way, it is the perfect time for royal family fans to brush up on their monarch history. Take a look and see if you are familiar with these facts about Queen Elizabeth II, her family, and her Platinum Jubilee.
- Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926, as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. She is the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1930, she became a big sister to Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.
- Even though she grew up in the royal family, Queen Elizabeth’s first public engagement as Princess Elizabeth wasn’t until April 21, 1942. On her 16th birthday, she inspected the Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle.
- Five years later, on November 20, 1947, Elizabeth married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in Westminister Abbey. Together, they had four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren have also been born throughout the years. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had been married for more than 70 years, until his death in 2021.
- Princess Elizabeth officially became Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953. The event was ground-breaking, as being the first televised coronation. Twenty-seven million people in the United Kingdom watched the event, as well as millions more throughout the world. Yet, the Queen had already succeeded to the Throne on February 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, passed away. She became the first Sovereign in over 200 years to accede to the Throne while abroad, being in Kenya at the time.
- The Queen’s coronation service lasted almost three hours and was divided into six parts: the recognition, the oath, the anointing, the investiture with the crowning, the enthronement, and the homage. She wore two crowns at her coronation. The St. Edward’s Crown was used for the crowning ceremony and the Imperial State Crown was worn for the return procession and balcony appearances at Buckingham Palace. Over 8,000 guests attended the service, including more than 2,000 journalists. Among the foreign journalists was future American first lady Jacqueline Bouvier, who would later be known as Jackie Kennedy.
- Over the course of her reign, she has made more than 21,000 public engagements and visited 150 Commonwealths and more than 100 countries. In fact, Queen Elizabeth has visited Canada 22 times, making it her most visited country.
- Starting with US President Truman, Queen Elizabeth has met 14 presidents during their time in office. With President Truman’s visit, though, the Queen was actually still a princess. However, there is one exception to the presidential visits. Queen Elizabeth never sent an invitation to President Lyndon B. Johnson.
- As for prime ministers of the United Kingdom, the Queen has also served 14, starting with Winston Churchill. In addition, she has met four popes between the years 1961 and 2014.
- With the historical significance of her reign, it is only appropriate for the Queen to have many firsts. Some of these firsts include becoming the first British monarch to address the United States House of Congress in 1991, the first British monarch to visit China in 1986, and the first reigning British monarch to visit Ireland in 2011. The importance behind her Ireland visit was that it was the first time a British monarch visited the country since its separation from the United Kingdom.
- She officially opened the Sydney Opera House in Australia in 1973.
- Queen Elizabeth can travel without a passport or a driver’s license.
- For the majority of her reign, Queen Elizabeth has lived in Buckingham Palace. Today, she resides in Windsor Castle.
There are many more fun facts to know about the monarch. From the important events, the significant moments, and the generations of new royals to take the throne, the reign of Queen Elizabeth II will always be cemented in history. As the United Kingdom’s national anthem contains the words, “God save the Queen,” let us toast her long and historic reign!