Young Queen Elizabeth II: England's Monarch Since 1952, Then And Now

By | February 4, 2021

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Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral in Scotland, photograph taken by Studio Lisa, 1953. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

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.

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Young Queen Elizabeth II. (History)

Queen Elizabeth II ranks as the longest-ruling monarch in Britain’s extensive history, which dates back to 1603. Her coronation was also the first-ever to be broadcast on television. The ground-breaking event captured the eyes of 27 million people in the UK and many more millions across the globe. Queen Elizabeth’s televised crowning epitomized the difficult balance she would face continuing the long-running traditions of old and transitioning the throne into a modern age.

Her father’s surprising death at the age of 56 and her uncle’s abdication of the throne for love meant an incredible responsibility landed on the shoulders of a 25-year-old princess. Though she was 25 when her father died on February 6, 1952, thus was technically queen, she was not crowned until June 2, 1953, when she was 27. Thankfully, Queen Elizabeth II was an exceptionally precocious 27-year-old.