UK Travel Guide

Royal Family


Queen Elizabeth II

Born to the Duke and Duchess of York in London on April 21, 1926 Lady Elizabeth (christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ) was their first child. In 1936 when her father acsended the throne she became heir presumptive. Although educated at home she studied constitutional history and law, art and music. She also developed a strong affection for horses as not only does she still ride today she owns a string of thoroughbred race horses. Lady Elizabeth began to take on many responsibilities at an early age. Her first public engagement was at the age of 16 when she inspected the regiment of the Grenadier Guards having appointed Colonel-in-Chief in 1942. Thereafter, many other responsibilities followed and her duties increased. Shortly after her 18th birthday, her status changed when she took on the title Counsellor of State while her father was away touring Italian battlefields and began carrying out some of the duties of Head of State. In 1947 she undertook her first official overseas tour, with her parents and sister, to South Africa and later that year, at the age of 21, the Princess’s engagement to Lt. Philip Mountbatten was announced.
In 1948 this young royal couple produced their first of four children, Prince Charles, who is heir apparent to the throne. He and Princess Anne, their second child born in 1950, were born before the Queen’s succession of the throne. Prince Andrew was the next born, in 1960, and was the first child born to a reigning British monarch in 103 years. Their last child, Prince Edward, was born in 1964. The coronation of the Queen, which took place on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey, was a majestic and pompous affair, and was broadcast on radio and television. The Queen set out in 1953, after her coronation, on a Commonwealth tour of about a dozen countries which over the last 47 years she has visited time and again. She has also made frequent trips to many countries outside the Commonwealth, her most recent trip being to the Vatican. As Head of State, the Queen has a weekly audience with the British Prime Minister when she is in London; she sees all Cabinet papers and a daily summary of events in Parliament. As the Queen, she is head of the British armed forces, holding various titles among them Colonel-in-Chief of all the Guards Regiments. Each year at Buckingham Palace she invests certain honours on those people who have distinguished themselves in public life. She also carries out each year numerous engagements for some of the many hundreds of associations organisations and charities of which she is President or Patron.