The life of Britain’s Queen, Queen Elizabeth II, may seem tranquil and discreet, but it is anything but not interesting. She has lived a full life and is still reigning as a Queen.
Princess Elizabeth, the Queen of Hearts, had no intention of becoming Queen.
Even though she was first in line to the throne, she didn’t expect to remain in charge of the country for a long time. After her father died young, young Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne at the age of 25, vowing to devote her whole life to the kingdom, “whether it be long or short.”
As it turns out, it was the latter, and the now 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, who is set to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, is perhaps more beloved today than she has ever been—to the point where many people on both sides of the pond don’t even want to consider what will happen when she dies.
Even if you’ve watched The Crown, the Netflix series based on her life, you’re likely unaware of the true tale behind this very private monarch. The little-known history of Queen Elizabeth’s royal family tree, the genuine love story of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and all the adorable facts of Queen Elizabeth’s grandkids are all included. Let’s take a deeper look at Queen Elizabeth II’s life and reign.
The life of Britain’s queen, Queen Elizabeth II, may seem quiet and unassuming, but it is far from it.
The Queen of Hearts, Princess Elizabeth, had no intention of becoming Queen. She didn’t expect to be in command of the nation for a long time, despite being first in line to the throne. Queen Elizabeth succeeded to the throne at the age of 25, when her father died early, resolving to dedicate her whole life to the country, “whether it be long or short.”
As it turns out, it was the latter, and Queen Elizabeth II, who will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee in 2022, marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, is perhaps more beloved today than she has ever been—to the point where many people on both sides of the pond don’t even want to think about what will happen when she dies.
Even if you’ve seen The Crown, the Netflix series based on her life, you’re probably ignorant of the underlying story behind the monarch’s extreme secrecy. Queen Elizabeth’s royal family tree’s little-known history, the actual love story of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, and all the beautiful information about Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren are all included. Let’s take a closer look at the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
After a controversy, her father succeeded to the kingdom.
When Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, ascended to the throne, everything changed. “In 1936, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle, Edward VIII, became King, but his reign was short and he was never crowned,” says Tony McMahon, historian, author, and former BBC news producer.
“In December of that year, Edward abdicated due to his divisive choice to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. The line of succession was therefore changed to his brother [Elizabeth’s father], who became George VI.” The fact that Simpson was still legally married to her second husband when the romance started added to the scandal, and the abdication became the most significant constitutional crisis in contemporary royal history.
Elizabeth became the successor to the throne unexpectedly.
The abdication of Elizabeth’s father and the accompanying royal family scandal profoundly altered the direction of her life. “George’s daughter Elizabeth became the next monarch-in-waiting almost immediately,” McMahon adds. “Her every action will now be scrutinized by politicians and the media.” Her background, on the other hand, prepared her to handle this adjustment gracefully. “We don’t frequently speak about ‘duty’ anymore,” says Bryan Kozlowski, author of Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living from Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch.
“But Elizabeth was infused with the virtue from birth—her mother called it le devoir, the obligation you owe yourself and the world around you.” “As a female, this meant Elizabeth was expected to do things that weren’t necessarily pleasurable, comfortable, or personally gratifying, such as visit hospitals or stand for hours during tiresome ceremonies. Nothing could have better prepared her for her eventual duty as queen.”
She was never a student.
Princess Elizabeth never went to a public or private school, and she has no college diploma—in fact, Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince William, was the first royal to not begin his education at the palace. Elizabeth, on the other hand, received an education from her tutors at home.
Philip was not well-liked by her family.
According to Elizabeth’s family, Philip wasn’t the best option for the future queen’s spouse. “The royal family did not entirely approve of Philip because of the poverty of his royal house [he and his family had been exiled from Greece], his siblings’ Nazi affiliation [his sisters were married to them], and the feeling that he seemed ‘too German’—the Queen Mother famously referred to him as ‘the Hun,'” Gullace says.
“However, Philip having fought in the Royal Navy during the war, and despite concerns that he came from a lower aristocratic family, the couple was allowed to marry in July 1947.” The match was made for one simple reason: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were in love. “Once their engagement was approved, he was given permission to become a naturalized British national and use the surname Mountbatten,” Gullace explains.
She used coupons to pay for her wedding gown.
When Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip married in 1947, the UK was still recovering from World War II and rationing was still in effect—not even the future queen was exempt. “Elizabeth wore a gown that had to be bought using rationing coupons during the war,” Gullace explains. “Her popularity was reflected in the fact that young ladies from all across the United Kingdom gave her their own coupons to ensure she had enough money to buy a stunning gown. Rationing coupons could not be exchanged, but the gesture, made at a period of scarcity and few luxury, reveals that Elizabeth was adored by her people even as a young princess.”
Her tiara also broke immediately before the wedding, but it was quickly repaired. England needed a cheerful occasion after six years of war, which the royal wedding gave. “In many respects, Elizabeth’s wedding was merely a bigger version of the nuptials of many young ladies who waited until after the war to marry the troops they had loved, anguished over, and supported,” Gullace adds.
She claims that the pair married in November 1947 in front of 2,500 guests in Westminster Abbey, and that the event was carried live on the radio. “They hosted a banquet at Buckingham Palace and ate a nine-foot wedding cake; they also waved to the audience from the renowned balcony afterwards, starting that marital custom,” Gullace adds. “The princess was beaming with excitement, and Prince Philip was described as a ‘Greek Adonis,’ as attractive as any movie star.” The event’s photographs become some of the most famous royal wedding photographs in history.
She was the mother of four children.
Following her nuptials, Elizabeth had two children in a short period of time. “They began a family right away, like many other couples at the time, with Prince Charles born a year after their marriage in 1948 and Princess Anne born two years later,” Gullace recalls. “They shared their experiences in a manner that regular people could understand.”
Prince Philip was still an officer in the Royal Navy, and Elizabeth took on the role of naval wife, residing with him in Malta while he was stationed in the Mediterranean fleet. Princes Andrew and Edward, Elizabeth’s two younger children, were born later in 1960 and 1964, giving her more time to acclimate to the position she had spent her early adulthood preparing for but didn’t expect to come so soon. The two youngest princes were the first children born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had children in the nineteenth century, although even Elizabeth had to obey royal parenting norms.
At the age of 25, Elizabeth became Queen.
Elizabeth was on a royal tour in Kenya with Philip when her father died on February 6, 1952, at the age of 56, following a long fight with lung cancer and years of ill health. “The princess learnt of her father’s death and her own accession to the rank of sovereign while on a romantic journey to a game reserve with Prince Philip in Africa,” Gullace adds.
“For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day as a Princess and after having what she described as her most thrilling experience, she climbed down from the tree the next day as a Queen,” wrote British game hunter Jim Corbett, who was also staying in one of the reserve’s tree-top cabins. Queen Elizabeth was one of the last to learn she’d become queen, since she was uninformed of the happenings at the time; when she did, she flew back to England.
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She isn’t the wealthiest individual in the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth is not the richest person in the United Kingdom, despite her power, and her true net worth may be lower than you think. Despite the fact that she undoubtedly lives in a world of luxury, she hasn’t been on the UK’s Sunday Times list of the country’s 250 wealthiest individuals in recent years.
According to the New York Times, she is worth roughly $480 million in personal assets; Forbes puts her value at $500 million, but that’s still a lot less than the 2,674 billionaires on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest individuals for 2021. Private revenue from the queen’s lands accounts for a large portion of her wealth. Taxpayers do pay for costs for her official activities, but Forbes thinks the figure is significantly less than the tourist and business boost the royal family brings to the kingdom.