About Elizabeth II Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland
- Queen of the Commonwealth realms Reign since 6. February 1952 Coronation 2. June 1953
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926)
Elizabeth is the constitutional monarch of 16 of the 54 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations, and Head of the Commonwealth. In order of foundation, the 16 independent Commonwealth realms are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. As the British monarch, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Elizabeth was born in London and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of her uncle Edward VIII. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. When her father died in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), became republics.
In 1947 she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. In 1992, which Elizabeth termed her annus horribilis ("horrible year"), Charles and Andrew separated from their wives, Anne divorced, and a severe fire damaged part of Windsor Castle. Revelations continued on the state of Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and they divorced in 1996. The following year, Diana died in a Paris car crash, and the media criticised the royal family for remaining in seclusion in the days before her funeral. Elizabeth's personal popularity rebounded after she appeared in public and has subsequently remained high.
Her reign of 60 years is the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Her Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in 1977 and 2002; her Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated during 2012.