30 Photos That Show The Extraordinary Life Of Queen Elizabeth II
By | September 8, 2022
Imagine being Queen Elizabeth II -- the young royal, aged 25 in 1952, assuming the throne of the most far-flung empire of the era. Regents are old, right? Prince Charles (her son) will be king -- in his 70s. Yet in 1952, with piles of rubble still lingering on London streets from World War II, Elizabeth stepped in as Queen of England at an age when high-achieving young people are, maybe, in grad school.
Elizabeth's status as an incredibly long-serving monarch overshadows her origins as an incredibly young monarch. We think of regal status as inevitable -- well, Elizabeth was not meant to be queen, and only got there because her uncle opted out. And while a royal monarch might be an anachronism, Elizabeth navigated her role as a figurehead impeccably through the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, 90s, and into the 21st century.
Did the world need a queen, in the 20th century, as even the most traditional countries all over the world continued to move toward representative government? No, obviously not. But if the people wanted a queen, those people were fortunate to have such a deft one as Queen Elizabeth II.
Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the eldest daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. At the time she was expected to lead a normal life (well, for a member of the royal family), but when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcée things changed in a big way.
Suddenly she was heir apparent to the throne and began taking on extra studies to make sure she understood the specific demands of royal life. In her spare time she trained to be a Girl Guide (think Girl Scouts but make it English) and spent time riding horses.