Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elizabeth II
Queen of the United Kingdom and
the other Commonwealth Realms
Photograph by Ricardo Stuckert
Photograph by Ricardo Stuckert
Reign 6 February 1952 to present
Coronation 2 June 1953
Predecessor George VI
Heir Apparent Charles, Prince of Wales
Consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Charles, Prince of Wales
Anne, Princess Royal
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Full name
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
HM The Queen
HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh
HRH The Princess Elizabeth
HRH Princess Elizabeth of York
Royal house House of Windsor
Royal anthem God Save the Queen
Father George VI
Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Born 21 April 1926 (age 80)
Mayfair, London
Baptised 29 May 1926[1]
Buckingham Palace, London[1]
British Royalty
Royal Family
HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

This box: view  talk  edit

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, born 21 April 1926) is Queen of sixteen sovereign states, holding each crown and title equally. However, she is more directly involved with the United Kingdom, where the Royal Family resides, and the Monarchy is historically indigenous.

Apart from the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is also Queen of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, where she is represented by Governors-General. The sixteen countries of which she is Queen are known as Commonwealth Realms, and their combined population is 128 million.

Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ceylon[2] upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952. As other colonies of the British Empire (now the Commonwealth of Nations) attained independence from the UK during her reign, she acceded to the newly created thrones as Queen of each respective realm so that throughout her 55 years on the throne she has been Monarch of 32 nations, half of which either moved to different royal houses, or became republics. (See also Former Commonwealth Realms.)

She is presently the world's only monarch who is simultaneously Head of State of more than one independent nation. In legal theory she is the most powerful head of state in the world, although in practice she personally exercises very little political executive power.

Elizabeth also holds the positions of Head of the Commonwealth, Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England (styled Defender of the Faith), Lord of Mann, and Paramount Chief of Fiji. Following tradition, she is also styled Duke of Lancaster and Duke of Normandy. She is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of many of her Realms.

Her ancestry includes a wide range of European and even Middle Eastern and other Asian Royal Houses, some of them tracing back to Antiquity.[3][4]


Early life

"P'incess Lilybet" made the cover of Time in 1929, at age three
"P'incess Lilybet" made the cover of Time in 1929, at age three

Elizabeth was born at 17 Bruton Street, in Mayfair, London, on 21 April 1926.[1] Her father was Prince Albert, Duke of York (the future George VI) and her mother was the Duchess of York (née Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, later Queen Elizabeth, and, after her daughter's accession to the throne, the Queen Mother).

She was baptised in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace by Cosmo Lang, the Archbishop of York. Her godparents were King George and Queen Mary, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Connaught, the Earl of Strathmore and Lady Elphinstone.

Elizabeth was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and grandmother, Queen Mary, respectively. As a child her close family knew her as "Lillibet".[5] Her grandmother Queen Mary doted on her[citation needed] and George V found her very entertaining.[6] At 10 years old, the young Princess was introduced to a preacher at Glamis Castle. As he left, he promised to send her a book. Elizabeth replied, "Not about God. I already know all about Him."[citation needed]

As a granddaughter of the British sovereign in the male line, she held the title of a British princess with the style Her Royal Highness. Her full style was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. At the time of her birth, she was third in the line of succession to the crown, behind her uncle the Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, there was no reason at the time to believe that she would ever become queen, as it was widely assumed that the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), would marry and have children in due course.

However, Edward was destined not to have any legitimate heirs. Any brother of Elizabeth's, even a younger one, would have had precedence over her in the succession. However, as Elizabeth's parents had no sons, she would eventually have become queen whether Edward had abdicated or not, assuming she outlived her father.


The young Princess Elizabeth was educated at home, as was her younger sister, Princess Margaret, under the supervision of their mother. Her governess was Marion Crawford, better known as "Crawfie."[7] She studied history with C. H. K. Marten, Provost of Eton, and also learned modern languages; she speaks French fluently.[8] She was instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury and has remained a devout member of the Church of England, of which, as Queen, she is Supreme Governor.

Heiress presumptive

When her father became King in 1936 upon the abdication of her uncle, King Edward VIII, she became Heiress Presumptive and was thenceforth known as Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth. There was some demand in Wales for her to be created The Princess of Wales, but the King was advised that this was the title of the wife of the Prince of Wales, not a title in its own right. Some feel the King missed the opportunity to make an innovation in Royal practice by re-adopting King Henry VIII's idea, who proclaimed his eldest daughter, Lady Mary, Princess of Wales in her own right.[citation needed] However, the possibility, however remote, remained that her father could have a son, who would have been heir apparent, supplanting Elizabeth in the line of succession to the throne.

Elizabeth was thirteen years old when World War II broke out, and she and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, were evacuated to Windsor Castle, Berkshire. There was some suggestion that the princesses be sent to Canada, but their mother refused to consider this, famously saying, "The children could not possibly go without me, I will never leave the King, and the King will never leave his country." While at Windsor, Princess Elizabeth and her sister staged pantomimes at Christmas with the children of members of staff of the Royal Household. In 1940, Princess Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated. When she was 13 years old, she first met her future husband Prince Philip. She fell in love with him and began writing to him when he was in the British Royal Navy.

Military career

In 1945, Princess Elizabeth convinced her father that she should be allowed to contribute directly to the war effort. She joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she was known as No 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, and was trained as a driver. This training was the first time she had been taught together with other students. It is said that she greatly enjoyed this and that this experience led her to send her own children to school rather than have them educated at home. She was the first, and so far only, female member of the royal family to actually serve in the armed forces, though Queen Victoria was Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian militia, and other royal women have been given honorary ranks. During the VE Day celebrations in London, she and her sister dressed in ordinary clothing[citation needed] and slipped into the crowd secretly to celebrate with everyone.

Princess Elizabeth changing a vehicle wheel during WWII.
Princess Elizabeth changing a vehicle wheel during WWII.

Royal duties

Elizabeth made her first official overseas visit in 1947, when she accompanied her parents to South Africa. During her visit to Cape Town, she and her father were accompanied by Prime Minister Jan Smuts when they went to the top of Table Mountain by cable car. On her 21st birthday, she made a broadcast to the British Commonwealth and Empire, pledging: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."


Elizabeth married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark) on 20 November 1947. The couple are second cousins once removed: they are both descended from Christian IX of Denmark - Elizabeth II is a great-great-granddaughter through her paternal great-grandmother Alexandra of Denmark, and the Duke is a great-grandson through his paternal grandfather George I of Greece. As well as second cousins once removed, the couple are also third cousins: they share Queen Victoria as a great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth's great-grandfather was Edward VII, while Edward's sister Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse and by Rhine was the Duke's great-grandmother. Prince Philip had renounced his claim to the Greek throne and was simply referred to as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten before being created Duke of Edinburgh prior to their marriage. As a Greek royal, Philip is a member of the house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the Danish royal house and a line of the House of Oldenburg. Mountbatten was an Anglicisation of his mother's name, Battenberg. The marriage was controversial. Philip was Greek Orthodox, with no financial resources behind him, and had sisters who had married Nazi supporters. Elizabeth's mother was reported in later biographies to have strongly opposed the marriage, even referring to Philip as "the Hun."[9]

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh on their wedding day.
The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh on their wedding day.

After their wedding, Philip and Elizabeth took up residence at Clarence House, London. At various times between 1946 and 1953, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in Malta as a serving Royal Navy officer. Lord Mountbatten of Burma had purchased the Villa Gwardamangia (also referred to as the Villa G'Mangia), in the hamlet of Gwardamangia in Malta, in about 1929. Princess Elizabeth stayed there when visiting Philip in Malta. Philip and Elizabeth lived in Malta for a period between 1949 and 1951 (Malta being the only other country in which the Queen has lived, although at that time Malta was a British Protectorate).

On 14 November 1948, Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Charles. Several weeks earlier, letters patent had been issued so that her children would enjoy a royal and princely status they would not otherwise have been entitled to[citation needed]. Otherwise they would have been styled merely as children of a duke. The couple had four children (see below) in all. Though the Royal House is named Windsor, it was decreed, via a 1960 Order-in-Council, that those descendants of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip who were not Princes or Princesses of the United Kingdom should have the personal surname Mountbatten-Windsor.[10]In practice all of their children, in honour of their father, have used Mountbatten-Windsor as their surname (or in Anne's case, her maiden surname). Both Charles and Anne used Mountbatten-Windsor as their surname in the published banns for their first marriages.[11] The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh have four children;


The coronation of the Queen, 2 June 1953- Prince Philip swears his allegiance to his wife and Queen
The coronation of the Queen, 2 June 1953- Prince Philip swears his allegiance to his wife and Queen

Her father's health declined during 1951, and Elizabeth was soon frequently standing in for him at public events. She visited Greece, Italy and Malta (where Philip was then stationed) during that year. In October, she toured Canada and visited President Harry S. Truman in Washington, D.C. In January 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand. They had reached Kenya when word arrived of the death of her father, on 6 February 1952, from lung cancer.

Elizabeth was staying at the Treetops Hotel in Thika, (today just two hours away from Nairobi) when she was told of her father's death and of her own succession to the throne — a unique circumstance for any such event. She was the first British monarch since the accession of George I to be outside the country at the moment of succession, and also the first in modern times not to know the exact time of her accession (because her father had died in his sleep at an unknown time). On the night her father died, the Chief Justice of Kenya Sir Horace Hearne, who would later accompany the Royal Party back to the UK, escorted the Princess Elizabeth, as she then was, to a dinner at the Treetops Hotel, which is now a very popular tourist retreat in Kenya. It was there that she "went up a princess and came down a Queen".

It was Prince Philip who broke the news of her father's death to Elizabeth. After that, Martin Charteris, then Assistant Private Secretary to the new Queen, asked her what she intended to be called. "Elizabeth, of course," she replied. The royal party returned immediately to England.

Elizabeth II's Proclamation of Accession was read at St James's Palace, on Thursday, 7 February, 1952. In Canada, a separate proclamation was issued by the Queen's Privy Council for Canada on the same day.

The following year, the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary, died of lung cancer on 24 March 1953. Reportedly, the Dowager Queen's dying wish was that the coronation not be postponed. Elizabeth's coronation took place in Westminster Abbey, on 2 June 1953.

Life as Queen

Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown and fur cape and holding the Sceptre with the Cross and the Orb at her Coronation (2 June 1953)
Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown and fur cape and holding the Sceptre with the Cross and the Orb at her Coronation (2 June 1953)


After the Coronation, Elizabeth and Philip moved to Buckingham Palace, in central London. It is reported, however, that, as with many of her predecessors, she dislikes the Palace as a residence and considers Windsor Castle, west of London, to be her home.[12] She also spends time at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Balmoral Castle, in Aberdeenshire, and at Sandringham House, in Norfolk.


Queen Elizabeth is the most widely-travelled head of state in history. In 1953 – 1954 she and Philip made a six-month, around-the-world tour, becoming the first monarch to circumnavigate the globe. She also became the first reigning monarch of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to visit those nations (which she visited again numerous times following). In October, 1957, she made a state visit to the United States and toured Canada, opening the first session of that nation's 23rd parliament, and addressing the United Nations General Assembly. In 1959, she made another tour of Canada, as well as undertaking a state visit to the United States as Queen of Canada, hosting the return dinner for President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Canadian embassy in Washington. In February, 1961, she visited Ankara, as the guest of Turkish President Cemal Gürsel, and later toured India and Pakistan for the first time. She has made state visits to most European countries and to many outside Europe. She toured the United States for the 1976 Bicentennial, attending festivities with President Ford, and again in 1991 at the invitation of President George H.W. Bush, during which she became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress. She regularly attends Commonwealth Heads of Government meetings since the practice was established in Canada in 1973.

Visiting Ankara, Turkey, with Cemal Gürsel
Visiting Ankara, Turkey, with Cemal Gürsel

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

The British Empire began its metamorphosis following the Balfour Declaration at the Imperial Conference of 1926, followed by the formalization of the declaration in the Statute of Westminster, 1931.

By the time of Elizabeth's accession in 1952, there was much talk of a "new Elizabethan age." Since then, one of Elizabeth's roles has been to preside over the United Kingdom as it has shared world economic and military power with a growing host of independent nations and principalities. As nations have developed economically and culturally, the Queen has witnessed, over the past 50 years, a gradual transformation of the British Empire into its modern successor, the Commonwealth of Nations. She has worked hard to maintain links with former British possessions, and in some cases, such as South Africa, she has played an important role in retaining or restoring good relations.

Further information: Commonwealth Realm: Historical development, Commonwealth Realm: Former Commonwealth Realms, and George VI: Empire to Commonwealth

In 2007, it was discovered in declassified papers that in 1956 French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden discussed the possibility of France joining in a union with the United Kingdom; amongst the ideas put forward was having Elizabeth II as the French head of state. A paper from September 28, 1956, stated that Mollet "had not thought there need be difficulty over France accepting the headship of Her Majesty." This proposal was never accepted, and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome.[13]

Views and perceptions

Elizabeth is a conservative in matters of religion, moral standards and family matters.[citation needed] She has a strong sense of religious duty and takes her Coronation Oath seriously.[14] This is one reason (as well as the example set by her uncle who abdicated) why it is considered highly unlikely that she will ever abdicate.[15] For years, she refused to acknowledge Prince Charles's relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles,[citation needed] but since their marriage, an appearance of acceptance has been established.

Elizabeth has shown a strong constitution in the face of turmoil; for example, during a trip to Ghana in 1961 she pointedly refused to keep her distance from the then President, Kwame Nkrumah, despite his being a target for assassins. Harold Macmillan wrote at the time: "the Queen has been absolutely determined all through. She is impatient of the attitude towards her to treat her as… a film star... She has indeed 'the heart and stomach of a man'... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen." A similar situation arose three years later when Elizabeth was to tour Quebec. According to Robert Speaight in his book Vanier, Soldier, Diplomat and Governor General: A Biography, there were fears for the Queen's safety, while the media stirred up a campaign of fear around the risks that could arise from separatist threats, and there was talk of cancelling the tour. The Queen's Private Secretary replied that the Queen would have been horrified to have been prevented from going because of the activities of extremists. Further, during the Trooping the Colour in 1981 there was an apparent attempt on the Queen's life: six rounds of blanks were fired at her from close range as she rode down The Mall. Her only reaction was to duck slightly and then continue on. The Canadian House of Commons was so impressed by her display of courage that a motion was passed praising her composure.[16]


As a constitutional monarch, Elizabeth should not express her personal political opinions publicly. She has maintained this discipline throughout her reign, doing little in public to reveal what they might be, and thus her political views are not clearly known. However, there is some evidence to suggest that, in economic terms, she leans towards a One Nation point of view. During Margaret Thatcher's years as British Prime Minister, it was rumoured that the Queen worried that Mrs. Thatcher's economic policies were fostering social divisions, and she was reportedly alarmed by high unemployment, a series of riots in 1981, and the violence of the miners' strike.[17] Mrs. Thatcher once said to Brian Walden, referring to the Social Democratic Party: "The problem is, the Queen is the kind of woman who could vote SDP."[17]

Canadian national unity

While not speaking directly against Quebec sovereignty in Canada, she has publicly praised Canada's unity and expressed her wish to see the continuation of a unified Canada, sometimes courting controversy over the matter. Like her mother, Elizabeth has shown an affection for Canada, stating in 1983, when departing California, "I am going home to Canada tomorrow," and at a dinner in Saskatchewan in 2005: "this country and Canadians everywhere have been a constant presence in my life and work."[18] She has also stated that Canada feels like "a home away from home."[19]

Elizabeth presents a tablet of Balmoral granite with the ciphers of both herself and her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, at the First Nations University of Canada, May 17, 2005
Elizabeth presents a tablet of Balmoral granite with the ciphers of both herself and her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, at the First Nations University of Canada, May 17, 2005

In a speech to the Quebec Legislature, at the height of the Quiet Revolution of 1964, she ignored the national controversy (including riots during her appearance in Quebec City — see History of Monarchy in Canada) in favour of praising Canada's two "complementary cultures", speaking, in both French and English, about the strength of Canada's two founding peoples, stating, "I am pleased to think that there exists in our Commonwealth a country where I can express myself officially in French," and, "whenever you sing [the French words of] 'O Canada' you are reminded that you come of a proud race."[4][20]

After she proclaimed the Constitution Act in 1982, which was the first time in Canadian history that a major constitutional change had been made without the agreement of the government of Quebec, Elizabeth attempted to demonstrate her position as head of the whole Canadian nation, and her role as conciliator, by privately expressing to journalists her regret that Quebec was not part of the settlement.[4]

In 1995, during a Quebec separatist referendum campaign, Elizabeth was tricked into speaking, in both French and English, for fourteen minutes with 29-year-old Pierre Brassard, a DJ for Radio CKOI-FM Montreal, pretending to be then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. When told that the separatists were showing a lead, the Queen did reveal that she felt the "referendum may go the wrong way", adding, "if I can help in any way, I will be very happy to do so". However, she pointedly refused to accept "Chrétien"s advice that she intervene on the issue without first seeing a draft speech sent by him. (Her tactful handling of the call won plaudits from the DJ who made it.) At the time of the actual referendum Elizabeth was on her way to New Zealand, when she asked the pilot of the plane not to take off from Los Angeles, where they had stopped for refueling, until she heard the result of the vote.[21]


On 18 November 1965, the Governor of Rhodesia, Sir Humphrey Vicary Gibbs, was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen, a week after Ian Smith had made his Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Gibbs was intensely loyal to Rhodesia, and, although he had refused to accept the UDI, the award was criticised by some as badly timed. Others praised it as indicating support for her Rhodesian representative in the face of an illegal action by her Rhodesian prime minister.


During the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975, when the Governor-General of Australia Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam from the office of Prime Minister, the Queen received petitions and letters from Whitlam, the Speaker and private citizens asking the Queen to reverse the action of the Governor-General. The Queen's Private Secretary answered these petitions and letters by saying the matter was under the Australian Constitution for the Governor-General of Australia to decide.[22] Whitlam and others many years later declared their support for Australia becoming a republic. Evidence suggests that the Queen did not approve of Governor-General Kerr's removal of the elected government.[citation needed]

The United Kingdom

During an event in Westminster Hall marking her Silver Jubilee, in 1977, Elizabeth stated, "I cannot forget that I was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland." This reference came at a time when the Labour government was attempting to introduce a controversial devolution scheme to Scotland and Wales, and was interpreted as opposition to devolution. She has spoken in favour of the continued union of England and Scotland,[citation needed] angering some Scottish nationalists[citation needed]. Her statement of praise for the Northern Ireland Belfast Agreement raised some complaints among some Unionists (who were traditionally strong monarchists). Ian Paisley, leader of the rightwing Democratic Unionist Party and founder of the evangelical Free Presbyterian church, famously broke with Unionism's traditional deference for the British Crown by calling the Queen "a parrot" of Tony Blair and suggested that her support for the Belfast Agreement would weaken the monarchy's standing amongst Northern Irish Protestants, a substantial number of whom remained opposed to certain parts of the Agreement. However, Paisley's criticism of the Queen on this matter was rejected by more traditional and moderate unionists.[23]

However, in the late 1990s, after referendums approved a devolution scheme, Elizabeth sent her best wishes to the new Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly of Wales, the first sessions of which she opened in person. Several MSPs stayed away from the ceremony attending a republican rally instead. A number of AMs boycotted her opening of the first session of the National Assembly for Wales. Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood AM also boycotted the opening of National Assembly's new building (the Senedd) in 2006 and was thrown out of chamber for calling the Queen 'Mrs Windsor' during an Assembly debate.[24] Her reference in the Silver Jubilee speech is also believed, by some, to refer to the disturbances in Northern Ireland at that time.

With Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor-General of Canada, during her tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2005
With Adrienne Clarkson, then Governor-General of Canada, during her tour of Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2005


Elizabeth, as the Monarch of the United Kingdom, is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and sworn protector of the Church of Scotland. Elizabeth holds no religious role as Sovereign of the other Realms.

Further information: Religious role of the Monarchy in the Commonwealth Realms

The Queen takes a keen personal interest in the Church of England, but, in practice, delegates authority in the Church of England to the Archbishop of Canterbury. She regularly worships at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, or at St. Mary Magdalene Church when staying at Sandringham House, Norfolk.

The Royal Family also regularly attends services at Crathie Kirk when holidaying at Balmoral Castle, and when in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, the family attends services at the Canongate Kirk. The Queen has attended the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on several occasions, most recently in 1977 and 2002, although, in most years, she appoints a Lord High Commissioner to represent her.

The Queen made particular reference to her Christian convictions in her Christmas Day television broadcast in 2000, in which she spoke about the theological significance of the Millennium as the marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ: "To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ, and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example."

Elizabeth often meets with leaders from other religions as well. She is Patron of the Council of Christians & Jews (CCJ) in the UK.

Family relations

The Jubilee year coincided with the deaths, within a few months, of Elizabeth's mother and sister. Elizabeth's relations with her children have become much warmer since these deaths.[citation needed] She is particularly close to her daughter-in-law, Sophie, The Countess of Wessex. She is known to have disapproved of Prince Charles's long-standing relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, but with their recent marriage, it is believed she had become approving of the union.[citation needed] On the other hand, she is very close to her grandchildren, noticeably Prince William, Princess Beatrice and Zara Phillips.


The Queen's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. Sometimes estimated at US$10 billion, recently Forbes magazine conservatively estimated her fortune at around US$500 million (£280 million).[25] This figure seems to agree with official Palace statements that called reports of the Queen's supposed multibillion-dollar wealth "grossly over-exaggerated;" however, it conflicts with a total addition of the Queen's personal holdings. Her personal art collection is worth at least £10 billion, but is held in trust for the nation, and cannot be sold.[citation needed]

The Queen also owns large amounts of property privately that have never been valued, including Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle — reputedly worth £160 million — and the Castle of Mey. Press reports upon the death of the Queen Mother, the previous owner of the Castle of Mey, speculated that by the Queen's inheritance, £28 million of death duties were avoided on an estate worth £70 million.[26] Furthermore there is control and ownership of the Duchy of Lancaster, which is valued at £310 million and transferred a private income to the Monarch of £9.811 million in 2006.

The Queen also technically owns the Crown Estate with holdings of £6 billion; however, the income of this is transferred to the Treasury in return for the civil list payments, and the legal effects of the Monarch reclaiming it and giving up civil list payments in exchange are unknown.

Golden Jubilee

In 2002, Elizabeth celebrated her Golden Jubilee, marking the 50th anniversary of her accession to the Throne. The year saw an extensive tour of the Commonwealth Realms, including the first ever pop concert in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral.

Health and longevity

In late February 2003, the Queen's reign, then just over 51 years, surpassed the reigns of all four of her immediate predecessors combined — (Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI). She is currently the second-longest-serving head of state in the world, after King Bhumibol of Thailand (fourth if one includes the rulers of the subnational entity Ras Al Khaimah and of the Government of Tibet in Exile), and the fourth-longest serving British or English monarch. Her reign of over half a century has seen ten different Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and numerous Prime Ministers in the Commonwealth Realms.

In June 2005, she was forced to cancel several engagements after contracting what the Palace described as a bad cold. Nonetheless, the Queen has been described as being in excellent health, and is seldom ill.[27]

In October 2006, she suffered a burst blood vessel in her right eye, causing her entire eye to appear deep red in colour.[28] While the palace would not comment on the Queen's condition, medical experts stated that the Queen would be in no pain and that her eye would heal within a week or two with no lasting damage. They also stated that blood vessel bursts are common for seniors, but can also be a sign of high blood pressure. Later that month, on 26 October, she was due officially to open the new Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal F.C., but she was forced to cancel the engagement due to a strained back muscle that had troubled her since the end of her Balmoral holiday.[29] Her back troubles appear to be ongoing. There was serious concern in November, 2006, that she wouldn't be well enough to open Parliament, and plans were drawn up to cover her possible absence. However, she was able to attend. The following month, The Queen faced more rumours that she was in declining health when she was seen in public with a plaster on her right hand. The positioning of the plaster seemed to suggest that the Queen may have been fitted with an intravenous drip. Medical experts suggest that given her back troubles and age she may be suffering from osteoporosis. Buckingham Palace refused comment.[30] However, it was later revealed that the plaster was as a result of one of her Corgis biting her hand as she separated two fighting pets.[31]

Reduced duties

On Friday, April 21, 2006, the Queen turned 80, making her the third oldest reigning monarch in British and Commonwealth history. She has begun to hand over some public duties to her children, as well as to other members of the Royal Family, and in early 2006, reports began to surface that the Queen planned to reduce her official duties significantly, though she has made it clear that she has no intention of abdicating.[12] It is believed by both the press and Palace insiders that Prince Charles will start to perform many of the day-to-day duties of the Monarch, while the Queen will effectively go into "retirement"[citation needed]. It was later confirmed by the Palace that Prince Charles will begin to hold the regular audiences with the Prime Minister and other Commonwealth leaders, but also that, while the Queen would be increasing the length of her weekends by two days, she would continue with public duties well into the future.[citation needed] Buckingham Palace is also reported to be considering giving the Prince more access to government papers, and is to allow him to preside over more investitures, meet more foreign dignitaries and take the place of the Queen in welcoming ambassadors at the Court of St. James's.

It has been rumoured that her recent trip to Canada and Australia will be amongst her last visits to her overseas realms, though both the Canadian and Australian governments, and the Palace have denied it.

In November, 2006, the Queen announced that she and Prince Philip would be making a state visit to the United States in May of 2007, in honour of the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.

Despite her good health and intention to stay on the throne, some saw the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Camilla as a message from the Queen that, by allowing Charles to marry, she is attempting to ensure that Charles' succession to the throne will be smooth. In 2004, a copy of the Queen's newly-revised funeral plans was stolen.[32] And for the first time, in September 2005, a mock version of the Queen's funeral march was held in the middle of the night (this was also done once a year after the late Queen Mother turned 80).

If the Queen lives until December 21, 2007, she will become the oldest reigning monarch in both British and the Commonwealth Realms' history, surpassing King George III and Queen Victoria, both of whom died before the age of 82.

Should she still be reigning on September 9, 2015, at the age of 89, her reign will surpass that of Queen Victoria and she will become the longest reigning monarch in British history. If she lives that long, and the Prince of Wales does also, he would be the oldest to succeed to the throne, surpassing William IV, who was 64.

Shortly before her 80th birthday, polls were conducted that showed the majority of the British public wish for the Queen to remain on the throne until her death — many feel that the Queen has become an institution in herself.[33]

Role in government

The Queen (wearing the insignia of the Sovereign of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Military Merit) pictured with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen (wearing the insignia of the Sovereign of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Military Merit) pictured with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Constitutionally, the Queen is an essential part of the legislative process of her Realms. In practice, much of the Queen's role in the legislative process is ceremonial, as her reserve powers are rarely exercised.

Further information: Monarchy in the United Kingdom, Monarchy in Canada, Monarchy in Australia, Monarchy in New Zealand, Monarchy in the Cook Islands

She does decide the basis on which a person is asked to form a government; that is, whether a government should be formed capable of surviving in the House of Commons — the standard requirement — or capable of commanding majority support in the House of Commons (i.e. forming a coalition if no one party has a majority). This requirement was last set in 1940, when King George VI asked Winston Churchill to form a government capable of commanding a majority in parliament,[citation needed] which necessitated the wartime coalition. The requirement is normally only made in emergencies or in wartime, and, to date, Elizabeth has never set it.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand, wearing the sash and the star of the New Zealand Order of Merit, as well as the badges on her shoulder of the Order of New Zealand and the Queen's Service Order.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of New Zealand, wearing the sash and the star of the New Zealand Order of Merit, as well as the badges on her shoulder of the Order of New Zealand and the Queen's Service Order.

On three occasions during her reign, Elizabeth has had to deal with constitutional problems over the formation of UK governments. In 1957 and again in 1963, the absence of a formal open mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that following the sudden resignations of Sir Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan it fell on the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. In 1957, Eden did not proffer advice, and so the Queen consulted Lords Salisbury and Kilmuir for the opinion of the Cabinet, and Winston Churchill, as the only living former Conservative Prime Minister (following the precedent of George V consulting Salisbury's father and Arthur Balfour upon Andrew Bonar Law's resignation in 1923). In October 1963, the outgoing Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, advised the Queen to appoint the late Alec Douglas-Home, the Earl of Home.

On the third occasion, in February 1974, an inconclusive general election result meant that in theory the outgoing Prime Minister Edward Heath, who had won the popular vote, could stay in power if he formed a coalition government with the Liberals. Rather than immediately resign as prime minister he explored the option and only resigned when the discussions foundered. (Had he chosen to, he could have stayed on until defeated in the debate on the Queen's Speech.) Only when he resigned was the Queen able to ask the Leader of the Opposition, the Labour Party's Harold Wilson, to form a government. His minority government lasted for eight months before a new general election was held.

In all three cases, she appears to have acted in accordance with constitutional tradition, following the advice of her senior ministers and Privy Councillors. Indeed, since constitutional practice in the UK is based on tradition and precedent rather than a written set of rules, it is generally accepted that the Sovereign cannot be acting unconstitutionally when acting on the advice of her or his ministers.

Relations with ministers

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Ernest Harmon Air Force Base visit, 1959
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip, Ernest Harmon Air Force Base visit, 1959

Since becoming Queen, Elizabeth spends an average of three hours every day "doing the boxes" — reading state papers sent to her from her various departments, embassies, and government offices.[34] Having done so since 1952, she has seen more of public affairs from the inside than any other person, and is thus able to offer advice to her ministers based on her experiences with her multiple previous prime ministers in various countries. She takes her responsibilities in this regard seriously, once mentioning an "interesting telegram" from the Foreign Office to then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill, only to find that her prime minister had not bothered to read it when it came in his box.[citation needed]

British Prime Ministers take their weekly meetings with the Queen very seriously. One Prime Minister said he took them more seriously than Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, because she would be better briefed and more constructive than anything he would face at the dispatch box. Elizabeth also has regular meetings with her individual British ministers, and occasional meetings with ministers from her other Realms, either when she is in the particular country, or the minister is in London.

Elizabeth's relations with her Canadian Prime Ministers have varied throughout the years. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau seemed to have caused her some concern, perhaps due to his documented antics around the Monarch, such as his sliding down Buckingham Palace banisters, and his famous pirouette behind the Queen, captured on film in 1977, as well as the removal of various royal symbols from Canada during his premiership. Elizabeth was reported, by Paul Martin, Sr., as worrying that the Crown "had little meaning for [Trudeau]". However, as part of the patriation of Canada's Constitution in 1982, orchestrated by Trudeau, the Monarchy was entrenched within Canada's governing system. Following this, Trudeau stated in his memoirs: "I always said it was thanks to three women that we were eventually able to reform our Constitution.­ The Queen, who was favorable, Margaret Thatcher, who undertook to do everything that our Parliament asked of her, and Jean Wadds, who represented the interests of Canada so well in London... The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."[35]

Elizabeth II during a state banquet at Buckingham palace wearing the Grand Collar and star(Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/PR, 2006)
Elizabeth II during a state banquet at Buckingham palace wearing the Grand Collar and star
(Photo: Ricardo Stuckert/PR, 2006)

Paul Martin, Sr. as well as John Roberts and Mark MacGuigan, who were both sent to the UK in 1980 to discuss the patriation project, noted that during this time the Queen had taken a great and deep interest in the constitutional debate, especially following the failure of Bill C-60, which affected her role as Head of State. They found the Queen "better informed on both the substance and politics of Canada's constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats."[36]

The Queen also meets the First Minister of Scotland. The royal palace in Edinburgh, the Holyrood Palace, once home to Scottish kings and queens such as Mary, Queen of Scots, is now regularly used again, with at least one member of the Royal Family (often the Prince of Wales or Princess Royal) in residence. She also receives reports from the new National Assembly for Wales, and is continually kept abreast of goings on with her other governments. The Government of Wales Act of 2006 means that from 2007 the Queen will have a role in relation to Wales separate to her role as Queen of the UK. She will appoint Welsh Ministers and enact Welsh Orders in Council.

Queen Elizabeth II with Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur.
Queen Elizabeth II with Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur.

Though bound by convention not to intervene directly in politics, her length of service, and the fact that she has seen a great many prime ministers come and go in all of her realms, combined with her knowledge of world leaders, means that when she does express an opinion, however cautiously, her words are taken seriously. In her memoirs, Margaret Thatcher offered the following description of her weekly meetings with Elizabeth: "Anyone who imagines that they are a mere formality or confined to social niceties is quite wrong; they are quietly businesslike and Her Majesty brings to bear a formidable grasp of current issues and breadth of experience."

During an argument within the Commonwealth over sanctions on South Africa, Elizabeth made a pointed reference to her role as Head of the Commonwealth, which was interpreted at the time as a disagreement with Thatcher's policy of opposing sanctions. However, whatever the differences between them, Thatcher has clearly conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen and believes that the image of animosity between the two of them has been played up because they are both women. In the aforementioned BBC documentary Queen & Country, Thatcher describes Elizabeth as "marvelous" and "a perfect lady" who "always knows just what to say," referring in particular to her final meeting with the sovereign as prime minister. Since leaving office, Thatcher has been awarded a life peerage, the Order of Merit, and the Order of the Garter, which would seem to indicate a basic respect for Thatcher on the part of Elizabeth (membership of the two Orders are entirely the personal gift of the Sovereign). In October 2005, the Queen and Prince Philip attended Thatcher's 80th birthday party in London.

On a BBC documentary broadcast in 1992, Elizabeth R., she was shown teasing former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath about how he could travel to world trouble spots like Iraq because politicians saw him as "expendable". He laughed at the comment.

On occasion, her contacts have proved highly beneficial for her realms. For example, John Major, as British Prime Minister, once had difficulty working with Australian Prime Minister John Howard. The Queen suggested to Major that he and Howard shared a mutual sporting interest — that Howard was, like Major, a cricket fan. Major then broke the ice to establish a personal relationship which ultimately benefited both countries.[citation needed]

It is believed that her favourite British Prime Ministers have been Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan and Harold Wilson.[citation needed] She was thought to have very good relations with her current British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, during the first years of his term in office. However, there has been mounting evidence in recent years that her relationship with Blair has hardened.[37]

See also: Prime Ministers of Queen Elizabeth II

Relations with foreign leaders

Elizabeth's personal relationships with world leaders are warm and informal, and she has developed friendships with many foreign leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson, and George H. W. Bush, whose son, George W. Bush, was the first American president in more than 80 years to stay at Buckingham Palace.

Mary McAleese, now President of Ireland, recounted how, as Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast, she was, to her shock, invited to a lunch with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, on the basis that the Queen wished to talk to her, as a leading Northern Ireland nationalist, and hear her views on Anglo-Irish relations. The two women struck up an instant rapport[citation needed], with McAleese, during the 1997 Irish presidential election, calling the Queen "a dote" (a Hiberno-English term meaning a "really lovely person") in an Irish Independent interview. Nelson Mandela, in the BBC documentary, repeatedly referred to her as "my friend, Elizabeth". She has a very friendly relationship with Jacques Chirac of France, who is the only Head of State allowed to drink his favoured Corona-brand beer at official dinners at Buckingham Palace instead of the fine French wines of the Palace's cellar.[citation needed]

Personality and image

The 4 portraits of Elizabeth on UK coinage (clockwise from top left: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd)
The 4 portraits of Elizabeth on UK coinage (clockwise from top left: 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd)

Elizabeth has rarely given press interviews, and her views on political issues are largely unknown except to those few heads of government who share her confidence. She is also regarded privately as an excellent mimic. Conservative in dress, she is well known for her solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd. She attends many cultural events as part of her public role. Her main leisure interests include horse racing,[38] photography,[39] and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.[40]

Always a popular figure in England, not to mention other countries, opinion polls have almost always shown that she has an excellent approval rating, currently over 80%;[41] and often significantly higher than that of her elected Prime Ministers. Since she has little political power in the day-to-day running of the country outside of her traditional ceremonial and advisory duties, she is unlikely to be held responsible for unpopular policies followed by elected politicians. In 2002, the Queen was ranked 24th in the 100 Greatest Britons poll. However, in 1997, she and other members of the Royal Family were perceived in the British tabloid press as cold and unfeeling when they did not participate in the public outpouring of grief at the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Some people[citation needed] deny that Elizabeth held negative feelings towards Diana and thought that she had damaged the institution of the monarchy and cite as evidence of this the Queen bowing to Diana's coffin as it passed Buckingham Palace, something unprecedented and unexpected. She also gave a live television broadcast [2] paying tribute to Diana. These actions redressed tabloid opinion. Elizabeth's behaviour during the funeral is believed to have resulted from strong advice from the Queen Mother and Tony Blair.

Image:CAD20 Front.png
Front of Canadian $20 note (see also: Canadian royal symbols)

In matters of diplomacy, Elizabeth is formal, and royal protocol is generally very strict. Though some of the traditional rules for dealing with the Monarch have been relaxed during her reign (bowing is no longer required, for example), other forms of close personal interaction, such as touching, are discouraged by officials. At least four people are known to have broken this rule, the first being Alice Frazier in 1991 during the Queen's 13-day United States visit, when Elizabeth, accompanied by Barbara Bush and Jack Kemp, visited a government housing project in Washington.[42] The second was Paul Keating, of the Labor Party, Prime Minister of Australia, when he was photographed with his arm around the Queen in 1992 (and was afterwards dubbed the "Lizard of Oz" by the British tabloid press). The third was the cyclist Louis Garneau, who did the same ten years later at the Queen's Canadian residence, Rideau Hall, when he put his arm around her shoulders for a photograph.[43] However the Queen appeared to take no offence at their actions, and Keating stayed as the Queen's guest in her private Balmoral home. The fourth was John Howard, of the Liberal Party, Prime Minister of Australia, who succeeded Keating.

Elizabeth's public image has softened noticeably in recent years, particularly since the death of the Queen Mother[citation needed]. Although she remains reserved in public, she has been seen laughing and smiling much more than in years past, and, to the shock of many[citation needed], she shed tears during emotional occasions such as at Remembrance Day services, the memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral for those killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, and in Normandy, for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, where she addressed the Canadian troops.


Elizabeth's first appearance on live television was in Prescott, Ontario in 1959 when, as Queen of Canada, she opened the Saint Lawrence Seaway.[44] She has given an annual Christmas Message to the Commonwealth every year apart from 1969 since she became Queen; in 2001 the Christmas Message was webcast on the Royal website for the first time, and in 2006 it was made available as a podcast.

The journalist and BBC Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys has long stated that his career ambition is to get the first full interview with the Queen. In 2006, the Queen came close to an orthodox interview when she agreed to be portrait-painted by the popular Australian artist and personality Rolf Harris, who engaged in small talk with her, on film, and with Palace permission. It was shown on the BBC, CBC and ABC. However, their conversation ventured little beyond previous portraits of the Queen and Royal art history in general, and the Queen's responses to Harris's conversational overtures were notably crisp and monosyllabic. The 1992 BBC documentary on the Queen, Elizabeth R, directed by Edward Mirzoeff on the fortieth anniversary of her accession, attracted record audiences for a factual programme.

The Queen is the subject of Her Majesty, written by Paul McCartney and featured on the Beatles' final album Abbey Road (1969); McCartney played the song at the Party at the Palace concert during the Golden Jubilee in 2002. In 1977, The Sex Pistols issued God Save the Queen, which became a controversial hit single, inspiring the punk rock movement with its lyrics suggesting there was "no future" and comparing England to a "fascist regime". The Smiths released the song and album The Queen Is Dead in 1986. The Pet Shop Boys have a track called Dreaming of the Queen. The Queen also plays detective in the Her Majesty Investigates series of mystery novels by C.C. Benison, which includes Death at Buckingham Palace and Death at Windsor Castle.

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen
Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen

A 2006 film called The Queen starring Helen Mirren takes an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse at the interaction between Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Tony Blair during their struggle following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, to reach a compromise between treating her death as a private tragedy for the Royal Family and appeasing the public's demand for an overt display of mourning.

In a 2006 book, Who Owns the World: The Hidden Facts Behind Landownership, Kevin Cahill claimed that Queen Elizabeth II holds ownership of one sixth of the land on the earth's surface, more than any other individual or nation. This amounts to a total of 6.6 billion acres in 32 countries.[45] However, this is based on the legal technicality that the Crown as an institution owns all the territory over which it rules, like any government of a non-allodial state. This land does not belong to the Queen personally, but to the governments of the respective realms over which she reigns.

Fictional Portrayals

Elizabeth II as portrayed on The Simpsons
Elizabeth II as portrayed on The Simpsons

Elizabeth II has been portrayed in films and television in both serious and comedic ways

Patronage of Charities

The Queen is Patron of more than 620 charities and organisations[46] including:

Further information: List organisations in the United Kingdom with a royal charter,  List of Canadian organizations with royal patronage, and List of New Zealand organisations with royal patronage

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Monarchical Styles of
Queen Elizabeth II
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am


Further information: List of titles and honours of Queen Elizabeth II

Following Elizabeth's accession, a decision was reached by Commonwealth Prime Ministers at the Commonwealth Conference of 1953, whereby the Queen would be accorded different styles and titles in each of her Realms, reflecting that in each state she acts as the Monarch of that state, regardless of her other roles. Traditionally, Elizabeth II's titles as Queen Regnant are listed by the order in which the remaining original Realms first became Dominions of the Crown: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (original dominion), Canada (1867), Australia (1901), and New Zealand (1907); followed by the order in which the former Crown colony became an independent Realm: Jamaica (1962), Barbados (1966), the Bahamas (1973), Grenada (1974), Papua New Guinea (1975), the Solomon Islands (1978), Tuvalu (1978), Saint Lucia (1979), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (1979), Antigua and Barbuda (1981), Belize (1981), and Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983).

Scottish controversy

However, in Scotland, the title Elizabeth II caused some controversy, as there has never been an Elizabeth I in Scotland. In a rare act of sabotage, new Royal Mail post boxes in bearing the initials "E II R" in Scotland were vandalised. (Prior to Queen Elizabeth, Scottish boxes had borne the monarch's initials, but no crown.) To avoid further problems, post boxes and Royal Mail vehicles in Scotland now bear only the Crown of Scotland and no Royal cypher.

A legal case, MacCormick v. Lord Advocate (1953 SC 396), was taken to contest the right of the Queen to style herself Elizabeth II within Scotland, arguing that to do so would be a breach of the Act of Union. The case was lost on the grounds that the pursuers had no title to sue the Crown, and also that the numbering of monarchs was part of the royal prerogative, and not governed by the Act of Union.

There are also two other matters of controversy, publicised much less. First, the argument that the monarch was addressed as Your Grace, rather than Majesty, in pre-Union Scotland, and, second, that the preferred title had been King/Queen of Scots rather than of Scotland (although the latter was by no means unknown).

At the royal opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, the presiding officer David Steel referred to her as, "not only the Queen of the United Kingdom but seated as you are among us in the historic and constitutionally correct manner as Queen of Scots".

Future British monarchs will be numbered according to either English or Scottish predecessors, whichever number is higher. Applying this policy retroactively to monarchs since the Act of Union yields the same numbering. However, equivalent rules have not been established in the Commonwealth Realms.

Further information: List of regnal numerals of future British monarchs


The Queen has many titles within her various Realms and territories. In common practice, however, Queen Elizabeth II is referred to simply as "The Queen" or "Her Majesty". When in conversation with The Queen, one initially uses "Your Majesty", and thereafter "Ma'am" (pronounced like "ham," not "farm").

In common practice, styled as Her Majesty The Queen (and, when the distinction is necessary, Her Britannic Majesty, Her Australian Majesty, or Her Canadian Majesty, etc.)



The Queen's Coat of Arms in Barbados
The Queen's Coat of Arms in Barbados

The Queen has coats of arms in each of her Realms; these arms are also sometimes used by government agencies or ministries to symbolise the Crown. In the UK, they are known as the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom. Every British monarch has used these arms since the reign of Queen Victoria. A separate Royal Arms exists, for use in Scotland, which gives priority to Scottish elements and features the insignia of the Order of the Thistle. The Royal Coat of Arms of Canada has been used by each monarch of Canada since George V; it is based on the British Royal Arms but contains unique Canadian elements. The Queen also has Arms for use as sovereign of Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Each of these is different from the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom.

The Royal Standard is the Queen's flag, and is a banner of the Royal Arms. In some of the Commonwealth Realms, the Queen has an official standard for use when acting as Queen of that Realm. Australia, Barbados, Canada, Jamaica, and New Zealand each have their own Royal Standard, each one a defaced banner of the relevant coat of arms, including the Queen's personal badge: a crowned letter E inside a circle of roses on a blue disc. This badge was also used in the Queen's personal flags in former realms, and also forms the flag used by the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.

From 1936 until her succession, Princess Elizabeth's arms were the Royal Arms, differenced by a label of three points argent (white), the centre bearing a Tudor Rose and the first and third points bearing a red cross.

Military positions

Military Force Unit Position Year
British Army
Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service Second Subaltern 1945
Canadian Forces
Commander-in-Chief of Canadian Forces 1952-present
Royal Navy
Lord High Admiral 1964-present


See also


  1. ^ a b c 80 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Queen Elizabeth. Time Europe. Retrieved on 2006-09-26.
  2. ^ now Sri Lanka
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ a b c The Canadian Royal Heritage Trust: Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
  5. ^ Quest, Richard (2002-06-03). Royals, Part 1: Rise to power. CNN. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  6. ^ Rose, Kenneth.; King George V; Weidenfeld and Nicolson; London, Great Britain; 1983, p389. ISBN 0-297-78245-2
  7. ^ The Real Crawfie. Channel 4. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  8. ^ 80 Facts About The Queen. British Monarchy Official Website. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  9. ^ Davies, Caroline (2006-04-20). Philip, the one constant through her life. Telegraph. Retrieved on 23 January 2007.
  10. ^ The London Gazette
  11. ^ Prince of Wales's press office.
  12. ^ a b English, Rebecca (2006-04-20). 'The Queen will NEVER consider abdicating'. Daily Mail.
  13. ^ The Guardian: France and UK considered 1950s 'merger'; January 15, 2007
  14. ^ "It's not like a normal job, it's a job for life. [The vows made on Coronation Day were] so deep and so special [to the Queen]... She wouldn't consider not continuing to fulfil those vows until she dies." The Hon Margaret Rhodes, BBC News
  15. ^ When asked by BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell if she was categorically saying the Queen would neither retire nor abdicate, but would remain in the role until her death she said: "Yes, I'm perfectly sure that's what will happen." The Hon Margaret Rhodes, BBC News
  16. ^ Canadian Royal Heritage Trust: Courage of the Queen
  17. ^ a b John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady (Jonathan Cape, 2003)
  18. ^ Struck, Doug; The Washington Post: A royal visit by Canada's head of state; May 17, 2005
  19. ^ CTV News: Queen says it's good to be back in Canada; May 19, 2005
  20. ^ CBC: 1964 Quebec visit speech
  21. ^ A Queen Canada Should be Proud Of
  22. ^ Letter from the Queen's Private Secretary to the Speaker whitlamdismissal.com, accessed 20 November 2006
  23. ^ Paisley's stance is not as unusual as it might appear, since unlike the more conventionally conservative Ulster Unionists, his views are heavily influenced by the Scottish Covenanting tradition with its emphasis on conditional loyalty; for example, he marked the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 by preaching a sermon recalling and justifying the execution of Charles I and deposition of James II, implying that while the Queen was then worthy of celebration she would deserve the same fate as those two monarchs if she failed to live up to her office as defender of the Protestant Constitution.'The Queen is a parrot' - Paisley
  24. ^ 'AM expelled for Mrs Windsor jibe' - Leanne Wood
  25. ^ A Birthday Fit for a Queen
  26. ^ http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=490652002
  27. ^ Queen Catches A Cold. Sky News. Retrieved on 20 October 2006.
  28. ^ Leyland, Joanne. The Queen Proves She's A Real Trooper. The Royalist. Retrieved on 20 October 2006.
  29. ^ "Queen cancels visit due to injury", BBC, 26 October 2006.
  30. ^ "Plaster on Queen's hand: minor cut or IV drip?", The Daily Mail, 6 December 2006.
  31. ^ "Corgi put the queen in plaster", The Sun, 14 December 2006.
  32. ^ Queen's funeral plans 'stolen from car'
  33. ^ Bansal, Shaveta. Poll: Queen Elizabeth "Most Popular Royal". All Headline News. Retrieved on 20 October 2006.
  34. ^ Information supplied by the Royal Household to a parliamentary inquiry into the workings of the monarchy in the early 1970s.
  35. ^ Trudeau, Pierre E.; Memoirs; McClelland & Stewart/Tundra Books; Plattsburgh, NY; 1996. ISBN 0-7710858-8-5
  36. ^ Heinricks, Geoff; Canadian Monarchist News: Trudeau and the Monarchy; Winter/Spring, 2000-01; reprinted from the National Post
  37. ^ Queen Elizabeth feels snubbed by Blair. Sify (2004-06-23).
  38. ^ 80 Facts About The Queen. British Monarchy Official Website. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  39. ^ 80 Facts About The Queen. British Monarchy Official Website. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  40. ^ 80 Facts About The Queen. British Monarchy Official Website. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.
  41. ^ Monarchy Trends, Ipsos MORI. Accessed 31 July 2006.
  42. ^ TOPICS OF THE TIMES; Things a Queen Can't Do. New York Times (1992-05-17). Retrieved on 2006-08-06.
  43. ^ Family snap breaks royal protocol. BBC News (2002-10-16).
  44. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage: Test your royal skills
  45. ^ Who Owns The World official website
  46. ^ 80 Facts About The Queen. British Monarchy Official Website. Retrieved on 18 January 2007.

Further reading

  • Bond, J. (2002). Elizabeth. Reader's Digest Association. ISBN 0-7621-0369-8
  • Erickson, C. (2003). Lilibet : An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II. St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-28734-8

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Wikisource has original works written by or about:

House of Windsor
Cadet Branch of the House of Wettin
Born: 21 April 1926
Preceded by
George VI
Queen of the United Kingdom
6 February 1952 -
Heir Apparent:
HRH The Prince of Wales
Preceded by
George VI
as King of the British
Dominions beyond the Seas
Queen of Canada
6 February 1952 -
Queen of Australia
6 February 1952 -
Queen of New Zealand
6 February 1952 -
Preceded by
as Queen of the United Kingdom
Queen of Jamaica
6 August 1962 -
Queen of Barbados
30 November 1966 -
Queen of the Bahamas
10 July 1973 -
Queen of Grenada
7 February 1974 -
Queen of the Solomon Islands
7 July 1978 -
Queen of Tuvalu
1 October 1978 -
Queen of Saint Lucia
22 February 1979 -
Queen of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
27 October 1979 -
Queen of Belize
21 September 1981 -
Queen of Antigua and Barbuda
1 November 1981 -
Queen of Saint Christopher and Nevis
19 September 1983 -
Preceded by
as Queen of Australia
Queen of Papua New Guinea
16 September 1975 -
Preceded by
George VI
as King of the British
Dominions beyond the Seas
Queen of Ceylon
6 February 1952 - 22 May 1972
End of Title
Queen of Pakistan
6 February 1952 - 23 March 1956
Queen of South Africa
6 February 1952 - 31 May 1961
Preceded by
as Queen of the United Kingdom
Queen of Ghana
6 March 1957 - 1 July 1960
Queen of Nigeria
1 October 1960 - 1 October 1963
Queen of Sierra Leone
27 April 1961 - 19 April 1971
Queen of Tanganyika
9 December 1961 - 9 December 1962
Queen of Trinidad and Tobago
31 August 1962 - 1 August 1976
Queen of Uganda
9 October 1962 - 9 October 1963
Queen of Kenya
12 December 1963 - 12 December 1964
Queen of Malawi
6 July 1964 - 6 July 1966
Queen of Malta
21 September 1964 - 31 December 1974
Queen of The Gambia
18 February 1965 - 24 April 1970
Queen of Guyana
26 May 1966 - 23 February 1970
Queen of Mauritius
12 March 1968 - 1 March 1992
Queen of Fiji
10 October 1970 - 15 October 1987
Order of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
United Kingdom order of precedence
Succeeded by
The Duchess of Cornwall
Direct Ancestry
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom George VI
King of the United Kingdom
George V
House of Wettin
Mary of Teck
Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Claude of Strathmore
1. Van de Pas, Leo, Genealogics.org (2007).
NAME Windsor, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
DATE OF BIRTH 21 April 1926
PLACE OF BIRTH London, United Kingdom