Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II was born, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, on April 21, 1926, in London, to Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. For the first few years of her life, Elizabeth and everyone did not know she was going to become heir apparent to the crown.
In 1936, when Elizabeth’s grandfather. George V died. Elizabeth’s uncle, Edward, who was the eldest son of George V, was then crowned king of England and became King Edward VIII. But Edward was in love with a woman named Wallis Simpson, who had previously been divorced from a marriage which was forbidden for royals to marry. So, Edward was forced to make a decision. To either keep the crown and stay king, or marry Simpson and give up the crown. Edward chose love and married Simpson, thus moving the crown onto Elizabeth’s father’s head. Her father became King George VI in 1937 and Elizabeth, being his oldest child, was made the heir to the crown.
During those times of Elizabeth being the heir apparent, World War II was still raging on, and in 1945, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in the British army to support troops on the frontlines. She was trained to be a truck mechanic and was an excellent driver. She worked alongside other British women as well.
On Nov. 20, 1947, Elizabeth married her distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, whom she met at only 13 years old. A year later, in 1948, Elizabeth and Philip were already able to produce an heir, Prince Charles. Followed by their daughter, Prince Anne in 1950, and their two other sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, in 1960 and 1964.
After Elizabeth’s father, King George VI died on Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth was crowned queen on June 2, 1953. She was 25 years old. In 1969, Prince Charles was officially made Elizabeth’s successor after he was granted the title Prince of Wales.
Later, in 1981, Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, better known as Princess Diana. In 1982, Diana gave birth to Prince William, the immediate heir to the throne after his father, and in 1984, Diana gave birth to their second son, Prince Harry. On July 22, 2022, Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, had their son, George Alexander Louis, the next successor to the throne after William.
On Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth passed away in her sleep at age ninety-six. Her son, Charles automatically ascended to the throne, though his coronation might be held weeks or even months down the line. The queen’s official funeral was held on Sept. 19, 2022.