God save the Queen!

O tempo foi escasso, por isso não consegui postar nada durante o dia. Entretanto, nos últimos minutos deste dia 6 de fevereiro, gostaria de prestar minha homenagem a Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, ou Elizabeth II, soberana do Reino Unido e outros 15 Estados, pelo seu glorioso Jubileu de Diamante! 60 anos de reinado austero realmente é para pouquíssimos! Este é um dia de júbilo para os monarquistas de todo o mundo.

Deus Salve a Rainha! 

Para a página oficial do jubileu de diamante de Sua Majestade, clique aqui. Recomendo.

Segue biografia dessa nobre filha da Casa de Windsor (ou Hannover, para os mais tradicionalistas…).

Elizabeth II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Elizabeth II (disambiguation).
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Elizabeth II
Elderly Elizabeth with a smile
Elizabeth II in 2007
Reign 6 February 1952 – present
Coronation 2 June 1953
Predecessor George VI
Heir apparent Charles, Prince of Wales
Prime Ministers See list
Spouse Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (m. 1947)


Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Princess Anne, Princess Royal
Prince Andrew, Duke of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
Full name
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary
House House of Windsor
Father George VI
Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
Born 21 April 1926 (age 85)
Mayfair, United Kingdom
Religion Church of England
Church of Scotland

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926[note 1]) is the constitutional monarchof 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 KingdomCanadaAustraliaNew ZealandJamaicaBarbadosthe BahamasGrenadaPapua New Guinea, the Solomon IslandsTuvaluSaint LuciaSaint Vincent and the Grenadines,BelizeAntigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. As the British monarch, she is theSupreme 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 his brother 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 AfricaPakistan, and Ceylon. She was crowned as Elizabeth II in 1953, hercoronation service being the first 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,AnneAndrew, and Edward. In 1992, which Elizabeth termed her annus horribilis (“horrible year”), Charles and Andrew separated from their wives, Anne divorced, and a severe firedestroyed part of Windsor Castle. Revelations continued on the state of Charles’s marriage toDiana, 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 beforeher 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. Queen Elizabeth will eclipse Victoria and become the longest-reigning British monarch on 10 September 2015.



Early life

Elizabeth as a thoughtful-looking toddler with curly, fair hair

Princess Elizabeth aged 3, 1929

Elizabeth was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), and his wife, Elizabeth. Her father was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She was born by Caesarean section at 2.40 am (GMT) on 21 April 1926 at her maternal grandfather’s London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair.[1] The Anglican Archbishop of YorkCosmo Langbaptised her in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May.[2][note 2] She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra afterGeorge V’s mother, who had died six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother.[3] Her close family called her “Lilibet”.[4] George V cherished his granddaughter, and during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery.[5]

Elizabeth’s only sibling was Princess Margaret, born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governessMarion Crawford, who was casually known as “Crawfie”.[6] Lessons concentrated on history, language, literature and music.[7] To the dismay of the royal family,[8] in 1950 Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret’s childhood years entitled The Little Princesses. The book describes Elizabeth’s love of horses and dogs, her orderliness, and her attitude of responsibility.[9] Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as “a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant.”[10] Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as “a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved”.[11]

Heiress presumptive

Elizabeth as a rosy-cheeked young girl with blue eyes and fair hair

Princess Elizabeth aged 7, 1933
Painting by Philip de László

As a granddaughter of the monarch in the male line, Elizabeth’s full style at birth was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. She was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen, as the Prince of Wales was still young, and many assumed he would marry and have children of his own.[12] In 1936, when her grandfather, George V, died and her uncle Edward succeeded, she became second in line to the throne after her father. Later that year, Edward abdicated after his proposed marriage to divorced socialiteWallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis.[13] Elizabeth’s father became king, and she became heiress presumptive, with the style Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth.[14] If her parents had had a son, he would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession.[15]

Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry MartenVice-Provost of Eton College,[16] and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses.[17] A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed specifically so she could socialise with girls her own age.[18] Later she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger.[17]

In 1939 Elizabeth’s parents toured Canada and visited the United States. As in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain as her father thought her too young to undertake public tours.[19] Elizabeth “looked tearful” as her parents departed.[20]They corresponded regularly,[20] and on 18 May, she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call.[19]

Second World War

From September 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, Elizabeth and Margaret stayed at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they moved to Sandringham HouseNorfolk.[21] From February to May 1940, they lived at Royal Lodge, Windsor, until moving to Windsor Castle, where they stayed for most of the next five years.[22] The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth’s mother; she declared, “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave.”[23] At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomimes at Christmas in aid of the Queen’s Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military garments.[24] In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during theBBC‘s Children’s Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities.[25] She stated:

We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.[25]

In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed Colonel-in-Chief the previous year.[26] As she approached her 18th birthday, the law was changed so that she could act as one of five Counsellors of State in the event of her father’s incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944.[27] In February 1945, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an honorary Second Subaltern with the service number of 230873.[28] She trained as a driver and mechanic,[29] and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months later.[30]

The Royal Family of the
United Kingdom
 and the
other Commonwealth realms
Badge of the House of Windsor.svg
HM The Queen
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

During the war, plans were drawn up to quell Welsh nationalism by affiliating Elizabeth more closely with Wales.[31] Welsh politicians proposed that Elizabeth be made Princess of Wales on her 18th birthday. The idea was supported by Home Secretary Herbert Morrison, but rejected by the King because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.[32] In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.[33]

At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Elizabeth and her sister mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. She later said in a rare interview, “we asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recognised … I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.”[34] Two years later, the princess made her first overseas tour, when she accompanied her parents through southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, she pledged: “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.”[35]


Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937.[36] After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters.[37] They married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They are second cousins once removed through KingChristian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. Before the marriage, Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname of his mother’s British family.[38] Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style of His Royal Highness.[39]

The marriage was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born (though a British subject), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links.[40] Marion Crawford wrote, “Some of the King’s advisors did not think him good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom. Some of the papers played long and loud tunes on the string of Philip’s foreign origin.”[41] Elizabeth’s mother was reported, in later biographies, to have opposed the union initially, even dubbing Philip “The Hun“.[42] In later life, however, she told biographer Tim Heald that Philip was “an English gentleman”.[43]

Elizabeth and Philip received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world,[44] but Britain had not yet completely rebounded from the devastation of the war. Elizabeth still required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, designed by Norman Hartnell.[45] In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh’s German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip’s three surviving sisters.[46] Edward, the former king, was not invited either.[47]

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948, less than one month after letters patent were issued by her father allowing her children to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess. They otherwise would not have been entitled to such a status as their father was no longer a royal prince.[48] A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.[49]

Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor near Windsor Castle, until 4 July 1949,[44] when they took up residence atClarence House in London. At various times between 1949 and 1951, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in the British Protectorate ofMalta as a serving Royal Navy officer. He and Elizabeth lived intermittently, for several months at a time, in the Maltese hamlet ofGwardamanġia, at the Villa Gwardamanġia, the rented home of Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten. The children remained in Britain.[50]


Accession and coronation

George VI‘s health declined during 1951, and Elizabeth was soon frequently standing in for him at public events. In October of that year, she toured Canada, and visited President Truman in Washington, D.C.; on the trip, her private secretary, Martin Charteris, carried a draft accession declaration for use if the King died while she was on tour.[51] In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6 February 1952, they had just returned to their Kenyan home, Sagana Lodge, after a night spent atTreetops Hotel, when word arrived of the death of Elizabeth’s father. Philip broke the news to the new queen.[52] Martin Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name; she chose to remain Elizabeth, “of course”.[53] She was proclaimed queen throughout her realms, and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom.[54] She and the Duke of Edinburgh moved into Buckingham Palace.[55]

Elizabeth in crown and robes next to her husband in military uniform

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953

With Elizabeth’s accession it seemed likely that the royal house would bear her husband’s name. Lord Mountbatten thought it would be the House of Mountbatten, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip’s last name on marriage; however Elizabeth’s grandmother Queen Mary and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill favoured the retention of the House of Windsor, and so Windsor it remained. The Duke complained, “I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.”[56] After the death of Queen Mary on 24 March 1953 and the resignation of Churchill in 1955, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor was adopted in 1960 for Philip and Elizabeth’s male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.[57]

Amid preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret informed her sister that she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorced commoner 16 years older than Margaret with two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them to wait for a year; in the words of Martin Charteris, “the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought – she hoped – given time, the affair would peter out.”[58] Senior politicians were against the match, and theChurch of England did not permit re-marriage after divorce. If Margaret contracted a civil marriage, she would have to renounce her right of succession.[59] Eventually, she decided to abandon her plans with Townsend.[60] In 1960, she married Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon the following year. They were divorced in 1978. She did not remarry.[61]

Despite the death of Queen Mary ten weeks before, the coronation went ahead on 2 June 1953. Before she died, Mary had asked that the coronation not be delayed.[62] The ceremony inWestminster Abbey, except the anointing and communion, was televised for the first time,[63] and the coverage was instrumental in boosting the medium’s popularity; the number of television licences in the United Kingdom doubled to 3 million,[64] and many of the more than 20 million British viewers watched television for the first time in the homes of their friends or neighbours.[65] In North America, just under 100 million viewers watched recorded broadcasts.[66] Elizabeth’s coronation gown was commissioned from Norman Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries:[67] EnglishTudor rose, Scots thistle, Welsh leek, Irish shamrock, Australian wattle, Canadian maple leaf, New Zealand silver fern, South African protea,lotus flowers for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan’s wheatcotton, and jute.[68]

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

Elizabeth and Robert Menzies at a formal evening event

Queen Elizabeth with Prime Minister of Australia Robert Menzies during her first visit to Australia in 1954

Elizabeth witnessed, over her life, the ongoing transformation of the British Empire into theCommonwealth of Nations. By the time of Elizabeth’s accession in 1952, her role as nominal head of multiple independent states was already established.[69] Spanning 1953–54, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-world tour. She became the first reigning monarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations.[70] During the tour, crowds were immense; three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen the Queen.[71]Throughout her reign, Elizabeth has undertaken state visits to foreign countries, and tours of Commonwealth ones. She is the most widely travelled head of state in history.[72]

In 1956, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden discussed the possibility of France joining the Commonwealth. The proposal was never accepted, and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Union.[73] In November 1956, Britain and France invaded Egypt in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to capture the Suez CanalLord Mountbattenclaimed the Queen was opposed to the invasion, though Eden denied it. Eden resigned two months later.[74]

The absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that, following Eden’s resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. Eden recommended that she consult Lord Salisbury (the Lord President of the Council). Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir (the Lord Chancellor) consulted the CabinetWinston Churchill, and the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, as a result of which the Queen appointed their recommended candidate:Harold Macmillan.[75]

The Suez crisis and the choice of Eden’s successor led in 1957 to the first major personal criticism of the Queen. In a magazine, which he owned and edited,[76] Lord Altrincham accused her of being “out of touch”.[77] Altrincham was denounced by public figures and physically attacked by a member of the public appalled at his comments.[78] Six years later in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised the Queen to appoint the Earl of Home as prime minister, advice that she followed.[79] The Queen again came under criticism for appointing the Prime Minister on the advice of a small number of ministers, or a single minister.[79] In 1965, the Conservatives adopted a formal mechanism for choosing a leader, thus relieving her of involvement.[80]

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In 1957, she made a state visit on behalf of the Commonwealth to the United States, where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly. On the same tour, she opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament, becoming the first monarch of Canada to open a parliamentary session. Two years later, she revisited the United States as a representative of Canada. In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran.[81] On a visit to Ghana the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, even though her host President Kwame Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of state, was a target for assassins.[82] Harold Macmillan wrote: “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.”[82]

Elizabeth and Pat Nixon walk out of a red-brick building in step

Elizabeth (left) with US First Lady Pat Nixon, 1970; President Nixon is hidden from view, next to British Prime Minister Edward Heath, behind Elizabeth

Elizabeth’s pregnancies with Princes Andrew and Edward in 1959 and 1963, respectively, mark the only times she has not performed the State Opening of the British parliament during her reign.[83] In addition to performing traditional ceremonies, she also instituted new practices. Her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members of the public, took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.[84]

The 1960s and 1970s saw an acceleration in the decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean. Over 20 countries gained independence from Britain as part of a planned transition to self-government. In 1965, however, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith declared unilateral independence in opposition to moves toward majority black rule. Although the Queen dismissed Smith in a formal declaration and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, Smith’s regime survived for over a decade.[85]

In February 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath called a general election in the middle of the Queen’s tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim and she had to fly back to Britain, interrupting the tour.[86] The inconclusive result of the election meant that Heath, whose Conservative party had the largest share of the popular vote but no overall majority, could stay in office if he formed a coalition with the Liberals. Heath only resigned when discussions on forming a cooperative government foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of the OppositionLabour’s Harold Wilson, to form a government.[87]

A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisisAustralian Prime MinisterGough Whitlam was dismissed from his post by Governor-General Sir John Kerr after the Opposition-controlled Senate rejected Whitlam’s budget proposals.[88] As Whitlam had a majority in the House of RepresentativesSpeaker Gordon Scholes appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr’s decision. Elizabeth declined, stating that she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the constitution of Australia for the governor-general.[89] The crisis fuelled Australian republicanism.[88]

Silver Jubilee

In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with the Queen’s associated national and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen’s popularity, despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret’s separation from her husband.[90] In 1978, Elizabeth endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania‘s communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, and his wife Elena,[91] though privately she thought they had “blood on their hands”.[92] The following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt, former Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, as a communist spy; the other was the assassination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.[93]

According to Paul Martin, Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried the Crown “had little meaning for” Canadian Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau.[94] Tony Benn said that the Queen found Trudeau “rather disappointing”.[94] Trudeau’s supposed republicanism seemed to be confirmed by his antics, such as sliding down banisters at Buckingham Palace and pirouetting behind the Queen’s back in 1977, and the removal of various Canadian royal symbols during his term of office.[94] In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patriationof the Canadian constitution found the Queen “better informed on … Canada’s constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats”.[94] She was interested in the constitutional debate after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state.[94] Patriation removed the role of the British parliament in the Canadian constitution, but the monarchy was retained. Trudeau said in his memoirs: “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.”[95]


Elizabeth in red uniform on a black horse

Elizabeth riding Burmese at a Trooping the Colour ceremony

During the 1981 Trooping the Colour ceremony, and only six weeks before the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, six shots were fired at the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall on her horse, Burmese. Police later discovered that the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcus Sarjeant, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three.[96] The Queen’s composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised.[97] The following year, the Queen awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find an intruder, Michael Fagan, in the room with her. Remaining calm, and through two calls to the palace police switchboard, the Queen spoke to Fagan while he sat at the foot of her bed until assistance arrived seven minutes later.[98] From April to September that year, the Queen remained anxious[99] but proud[100] of her son, Prince Andrew, who was serving with British forces during theFalklands War. Though she hosted President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982, and visited his Californian ranch in 1983, she was angered when his administration ordered the invasion of Grenada, one of her Caribbean realms, without her foreknowledge.[101]

Intense media interest in the opinions and private lives of the royal family during the 1980s led to a series of sensational stories in the press, not all of which were entirely true.[102] As Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun, told his staff: “Give me a Sunday for Monday splash on the Royals. Don’t worry if it’s not true – so long as there’s not too much of a fuss about it afterwards.”[103] Newspaper editor Donald Trelford wrote in The Observer of 21 September 1986: “The royal soap opera has now reached such a pitch of public interest that the boundary between fact and fiction has been lost sight of … it is not just that some papers don’t check their facts or accept denials: they don’t care if the stories are true or not.” It was reported, most notably in The Sunday Times of 20 July 1986, that Elizabeth was worried that British Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher‘s economic policies fostered social divisions, and was alarmed by high unemployment, a series of riots, the violence of aminers’ strike, and Thatcher’s refusal to apply sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The sources of the rumours included royal aide Michael Shea and Commonwealth Secretary-General Shridath Ramphal, but Shea claimed his remarks were taken out of context and embellished by speculation.[104] Thatcher reputedly said the Queen would vote for the Social Democratic Party—Thatcher’s political opponents.[105] Thatcher’s biographer John Campbell claimed “… the report was a piece of journalistic mischief-making”.[106] Belying reports of acrimony between them, Thatcher later conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen,[107] and after Thatcher’s replacement by John Major, Elizabeth gave two honours in her personal gift to Thatcher: appointment to the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter.[108]

In 1987, the elected Fijian government was deposed in a military coup. Elizabeth, as head of state, supported the attempts of the Governor-General, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, to assert executive power and negotiate a settlement. Coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka deposed Ganilau, abolished the monarchy, and declared Fiji a republic.[109] By the start of 1991, republican feeling in Britain had risen because of press estimates of the Queen’s private wealth, which were contradicted by the palace, and reports of affairs and strained marriages among her extended family.[110] The involvement of the younger royals in the charity game show It’s a Royal Knockout was ridiculed,[111] and the Queen was the target of satire.[112]


In 1991, in the wake of victory in the Gulf War, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress.[113] The following year, she attempted to save the failing marriage of her eldest son, Charles, by counselling him and his wife,Diana, Princess of Wales, to reconcile.[114]

Behind her husband, Elizabeth holds a pair of spectacles to her mouth in a thoughtful pose

Prince Philip and Elizabeth II, October 1992

In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession, the Queen called 1992 her annus horribilis, meaning horrible year.[115] In March, her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his wife Sarah, Duchess of York, separated. In April, her daughterAnne, Princess Royal, divorced her husband Captain Mark Phillips.[116] During a state visit to Germany in October, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her,[117] and in November Windsor Castle suffered severe fire damage. The monarchy received increased criticism and public scrutiny.[118] In an unusually personal speech, Elizabeth said that any institution must expect criticism, but suggested it be done with “a touch of humour, gentleness and understanding”.[119]Two days later, Prime Minister John Major announced reforms of the royal finances that had been planned since the previous year, including the Queen paying income tax for the first time, starting in 1993, and a reduction in the civil list.[120] In December, Charles and Diana formally separated.[121] The year ended with a lawsuit as the Queen sued The Sun newspaper for breach of copyright when it published the text of her annual Christmas message two days before its broadcast. The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees, and donated £200,000 to charity.[122]

In the ensuing years, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana’s marriage continued.[123] Even though support for a British republic seemed higher than at any time in living memory, republicanism remained a minority viewpoint and Elizabeth herself had high approval ratings.[124] Criticism was focused on the institution of monarchy itself and the Queen’s wider family rather than the Queen’s own behaviour and actions.[125] In consultation with Prime Minister Major, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, her private secretary Robert Fellowes, and her husband, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, saying that a divorce was desirable.[126] A year after the divorce, which took place in 1996, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. The Queen was on holiday at Balmoral with her son and grandchildren. Diana’s two sons wanted to attend church, and so their grandparents took them that morning.[127] After that single public appearance, for five days the Queen and the Duke shielded their grandsons from the intense press interest by keeping them at Balmoral where they could grieve in private.[128]The royal family’s seclusion caused public dismay.[129] Pressured by the hostile public reaction, the Queen returned to London and agreed to a live broadcast to the world on 5 September, the day before Diana’s funeral.[130] In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana, and her feelings “as a grandmother” for Princes William and Harry.[131] As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.[131]

Golden Jubilee and beyond

In evening wear, Elizabeth and President Bush hold wine glasses of water and smile

Elizabeth II and George W. Bush share a toast during a state dinner at the White House, 7 May 2007

Street scene of Elizabeth and spectators

Elizabeth II (centre, in pink) during a walkabout in Queen’s Park, Toronto, 6 July 2010

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as queen. Her sister and mother died in February and March, respectively, and the media speculated as to whether the Jubilee would be a success or a failure.[132] She again undertook an extensive tour of her realms, which began in Jamaica in February, where she called the farewell banquet “memorable” after a power cut plunged the King’s House, the official residence of the Governor-General, into darkness.[133] As in 1977, there were street parties and commemorative events, and monuments were named to honour the occasion. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration in London,[134] and the enthusiasm shown by the public for Elizabeth was greater than many journalists had predicted.[135]

Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on both knees, and in June 2005 she cancelled several engagements after contracting a bad cold. In October 2006, she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer.[136] Two months later, she was seen in public with abandage on her right hand, which led to press speculation of ill health.[137] She had been bitten by one of her corgis while she was separating two that were fighting.[138]

In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources that the Queen was “exasperated and frustrated” by the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forces were overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly.[139] She was, however, said to admire Blair’s efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.[140] On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen attended the firstMaundy service held outside of England and Wales.[141] At the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese, in May 2011 the Queen made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch.[142]

Elizabeth addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as queen of all her realms and Head of the Commonwealth.[143] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moonintroduced her as “an anchor for our age”.[144] During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officially opened a memorial garden for the British victims of the 11 September attacks.[144]

The Queen’s visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th visit since 1954, was called her “farewell tour” in the press because of her age.[145] Elizabeth plans to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, marking 60 years as Queen. She is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and the second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand). She does not intend to abdicate,[146] though the proportion of public duties performed by Prince Charles may increase as Elizabeth reduces her commitments.[147]

Public perception and character

Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a constitutional monarch, she has not expressed her own political opinions in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty, and takes her coronation oath seriously.[148]Aside from her official religious role as Supreme Governor of the established Church of England, she personally worships with that church and with the national Church of Scotland.[149] She has demonstrated support for inter-faith relations, and has met with leaders of other religions, and granted her personal patronage to the Council of Christians and Jews.[150] A personal note about her faith often features in her annualRoyal Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth, such as in 2000, when she spoke about the theological significance of themillennium 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.[151]
Elizabeth and Ronald Reagan on black horses. He bare-headed; she in a headscarf; both in tweeds, jodhpurs and riding boots.

Elizabeth II and Ronald Reagan riding at Windsor, 1982

Elizabeth is the patron of over 600 charities and other organisations.[152] Her main leisure interests include equestrianism and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.[153] Her clothes consist mostly of solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd.[154]

In the 1950s, as a young woman at the start of her reign, Elizabeth was depicted as a glamorous “fairytale Queen”.[155] After the trauma of the war, it was a time of hope, a period of progress and achievement heralding a “new Elizabethan age”.[156] Lord Altrincham‘s accusation in 1957 that her speeches sounded like those of a “priggish schoolgirl” was an extremely rare criticism.[157] In the late 1960s, attempts to portray a more modern image of monarchy were made in the television documentary Royal Family, and by televising Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales.[158]

At her Silver Jubilee in 1977, the crowds and celebrations were genuinely enthusiastic,[159] but in the 1980s public criticism of the royal family increased, as the personal and working lives of Elizabeth’s children came under media scrutiny.[160] Elizabeth’s popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s. Under pressure from public opinion, she began to pay income tax for the first time, and Buckingham Palace was opened to the public.[161] Discontent with the monarchy reached its peak on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, though the Queen’s popularity rebounded after her live broadcast to the world five days after Diana’s death.[162]

In November 1999, a referendum in Australia on the future of the monarchy favoured its retention in preference to an indirectly elected head of state.[163] Polls in Britain in 2006 and 2007 revealed strong support for Elizabeth,[164] and referendums in Tuvalu in 2008 and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009 both rejected proposals to abolish the monarchy.[165]


View of Sandingham House from the south bank of the Upper Lake

Sandringham House, Elizabeth’s private residence in Sandringham, Norfolk

Elizabeth’s personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at around US$450 million in 2010,[166] but official Buckingham Palace statements in 1993 called estimates of £100 million “grossly overstated”.[167] Jock Colville, who was her former private secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts, estimated her wealth in 1971 at £2 million (the equivalent of about £21 million today[168]).[169][170] The Royal Collection, which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels, is not owned by the Queen personally and is held in trust,[171] as are the occupied palaces in the United Kingdom such as Buckingham Palace andWindsor Castle,[172] and the Duchy of Lancaster, a property portfolio valued at £383 million in 2011.[173] Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle are privately owned by the Queen.[172] The British Crown Estate—with holdings of £7.3 billion in 2011[174]—is held in trust for the nation, and cannot be sold or owned by Elizabeth in a private capacity.[175]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Titles and styles

Elizabeth has held titles throughout her life, as a granddaughter of the monarch, as a daughter of the monarch, through her husband’s titles, and eventually as Sovereign. In common parlance, she is The Queen or Her Majesty. Officially, she has a distinct title in each of her realms: Queen of Canada in Canada, Queen of Australia in Australia, etc. In the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, which are Crown dependencies rather than separate realms, she is known as Duke of Normandyand Lord of Mann respectively. Additional styles include Defender of the Faith and Duke of Lancaster. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially address her as Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma’am.[176]

She has received honours and awards from around the world, and has held honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, both before and after her accession.


From 21 April 1944, Elizabeth’s arms consisted of a lozenge bearing the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, differenced with a label of three points argent, the centre point bearing a Tudor rose and the first and third a cross of St. George.[177] After her accession as Sovereign, she adopted the royal coat of arms undifferenced. The design of the shield is also used on the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Elizabeth has personal flags for use in CanadaAustraliaNew ZealandJamaicaBarbados, and elsewhere.[178]


Name Birth Marriage Children Grandchildren
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales 14 November 1948 29 July 1981
Divorced 28 August 1996
Lady Diana Spencer Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Harry of Wales
9 April 2005 Camilla Shand
Princess Anne, Princess Royal 15 August 1950 14 November 1973
Divorced 28 April 1992
Captain Mark Phillips Peter Phillips Savannah Phillips
Zara Phillips
12 December 1992 Sir Timothy Laurence
Prince Andrew, Duke of York 19 February 1960 23 July 1986
Divorced 30 May 1996
Sarah Ferguson Princess Beatrice of York
Princess Eugenie of York
Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex 10 March 1964 19 June 1999 Sophie Rhys-Jones Lady Louise Windsor
James, Viscount Severn


[show]Ancestors of Elizabeth II

See also



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  2. ^ Hoey, p. 40
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  90. ^ Pimlott, p. 449
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  92. ^ Elizabeth to her staff, quoted in Shawcross, p. 178
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  100. ^ Shawcross, p. 127
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  105. ^ Thatcher to Brian Walden quoted in Neil, p. 207; Andrew Neilquoted in Woodrow Wyatt‘s diary of 26 October 1990
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  107. ^ Thatcher, p. 309
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  110. ^ Pimlott, pp. 519–534
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