When the then Duchess of York, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, wife of the then Duke of York and later King George VI gave birth to her first child Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (Queen Elizabeth II) by Cesarean section on the 21st of April 1926, nobody really expected her to become a reigning Queen.
At birth, she was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York.
It would require a twist of fate of immense proportions – and it did. In an unprecedented turn of events, at the death of her grandfather, King George V. Her Uncle Edward, Prince of Wales abdicated the throne paving way for her father to become King.
Queen Elizabeth II was educated at home under the supervision of her mother and the classes she took concentrated on history, language, literature, and music.
As Queen, she has witnessed tremendous changes around the world. During her reign, she has presided over the decolonization of Africa, the end of the cold war and most recently Britain’s exit from the European Union. She has celebrated her Silver (1977), Golden (2002) Diamond (2012) and most recently her Sapphire Jubilee in 2017.
She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch in history. Queen Elizabeth II also holds the record as the oldest and longest-reigning current monarch and the oldest and longest-serving current head of state.
She is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who was born Prince of Greece and Denmark. Prior to the official announcement of his engagement to Elizabeth in July 1947, he dropped his Greek and Danish royal titles and became a naturalized British citizen, He married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947.
After his wife was sworn in as Queen in 1952, Philip resigned from active military service with the rank of commander. He is the oldest ever male member of the British royal family.
Queen Elizabeth II Children
The Queen has four children;
Charles, Prince of Wales, born on the 4 November 1948
Anne, Princess Royal born on the 15 August 1950
Prince Andrew Duke of York born 23 July 1986
Prince Edward Earl of Wessex born on the 10 March 1964.
Her first son Prince Charles is the father of Prince William Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales.
Father and Mother
Her father was King George VI (Albert Frederick Arthur George) King of the United Kingdom from 11 December 1936 until his death on 6 February 1952. King George was the second son of King George V and hence was not expected to ascend to the throne. He became King after his older Edward abdicated the throne.
The mother of Queen Elizabeth was Elizabeth Angela Marguerite wife of King George VI. She was Queen of the United Kingdom, a title accorded to her to distinguish her from her daughter who reigned as Queen for a great portion of her lifetime.
She died on the 30 March 2002, in her sleep at 101 years and 238 days. Elizabeth Angela Marguerite holds the record as the longest-lived member of the royal family in British history.
Queen Elizabeth II only sibling was Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. Until her death, Margaret was viewed as a controversial member of the Royal family because of her romantic affairs with several men (some extra-marital). Her personality came across as an opposite of her more cultured and controlled sister the Queen.
Margaret fell in love with Captain Peter Townsend a divorcee, the union was opposed by the Royal family, British Government and the Church of England who refused to support marriage to a divorced man. Margaret eventually married Antony Armstrong-Jones with whom she had two children – David Armstrong-Jones, Lady Sarah Chatto. The couple divorced in 1978.
A heavy drinker and smoker, Margaret died at the age of 71 at King Edward VII’s Hospital on 9 February 2002.
An attempt to extricate the wealth of the head of the Royal family from her personal fortune is no mean task, for obvious reasons that much of her wealth is tied to assets which she holds in trust for the Crown or the British Government.
The Queen’s sources of income include Sovereigns grants, a huge real estate collection including the Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, The Crown Estate which is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom worth £12 billion. The properties in Urban areas are valued at £9.1 billion
Queen Elizabeth owns stud farms, an extensive fruit farm, and marine lands throughout the United Kingdom. The Queen owns a massive art and fine jewelry collection and also inherited one of the world’s largest stamp collections from her grandfather. The Queen also receives an annual government stipend of $12.9 million. Her personal net worth is put at $550 million, which is considered a conservative estimate.