Queen Elizabeth II
Life as Queen, Family, Politics
In the early 1950's, Elizabeth's father became ill with lung cancer. As his condition worsened, Elizabeth was forced to take on some of the duties of the British Monarch. In 1952, she was visiting Kenya while filling in for her father on a state visit when she got the news that her father had passed. On February 6, 1952 Elizabeth acceded to the throne as Queen of the United Kingdom and all the Commonwealth's realms.
Queen Elizabeth II in Royal Dress in 1953
Source: Associated Press
After assuming the role of Monarch, Elizabeth headed home to meet with Winston Churchill, the current British Prime Minister. She chose the regnal name of Elizabeth and would be known as Elizabeth II. After a year of mourning for her father, her coronation occurred on June 2, 1953. Elizabeth's coronation was a massive affair and was televised worldwide in 39 different languages.
Elizabeth was still a young lady of 25 years when she was crowned queen. She had a husband and two young children. She would go on to have two more children while queen. She dearly loved her husband and family life was important to her. As one might expect, it was nearly impossible to have a "normal" family life as Queen of Britain, but Elizabeth did her best.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II, 1950
Source: United Kingdom Government
While the Queen was technically the Head of State of the British government, she seldom got involved in politics. Queen Elizabeth II was been very careful throughout her reign to stay out of politics and little is actually known about her political views. Early in her reign, she appointed the Prime Minister to form a government from the Conservative party. Her first appointment was Harold Macmillan in 1957 and the second was Alec Douglas-Home in 1963. In later years, the political parties adopted their own ways to select the Prime Minister.
Despite not being directly involved in politics from a public standpoint, Queen Elizabeth met with the Prime Minister once a week. During these audiences, the Prime Minister updated the queen on government issues and matters of state. In the early part of her reign, Prime Ministers such as Winston Churchill offered advice to the young queen. Later in her reign, the Queen likely offered advice to the Prime Minister drawing from her years of experience. As Prime Minister David Cameron once said, she has "literally heard it all before."
Queen Elizabeth II visiting the United States
Source: White House website
Traveling the World
Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has traveled the world extensively. She is one of the most widely traveled heads of state in world history and has visited over 130 countries. In the 1970's she was particularly busy when she took 73 trips and visited 48 different countries. The country she has visited the most is Canada.
What kind of queen was Queen Elizabeth II?
Despite her long reign and many years in the public eye, little is known about the personal feelings or politics of the Queen. She rarely gives interviews and is very formal when in public. One thing we do know; she is fully committed to the duties of her position. She has always worked hard to represent her country and the royal family in the best way possible.
President of the United States Ronald Reagan and
Queen Elizabeth II Horseback Riding at Windsor Castle, England.
Author: Michael Evans
Elizabeth's private interests included horses, dogs (particularly Welsh Corgis), and Scottish country dancing. She began riding horses at the age of six and became an accomplished rider by her teens. She took a strong interest in breeding horses and owning racing thoroughbred horses. Her love for corgis started when she was a young girl and continued throughout her reign. Three of her corgis (Monty, Willow, and Holly) appeared with James Bond in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.
Queen Elizabeth II Biography Contents
More women leaders:
- Queen Elizabeth II - Early Life
- Life as Queen, Family, Politics
- Major Events in Reign and Interesting Facts
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