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The Royal Family. When the Queen was born on 21 April 1926, her grandfather, King George Y, was on the throne and her uncle was his heir
When the Queen was born on 21 April 1926, her grandfather, King George Y, was on the throne and her uncle was his heir. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, and was christened in the chapel of Buckingham Palace, being given the names Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. The death of her grandfather and the abdication of her uncle (King Edward VIII) brought her father to the throne as King George YI and she became heiress presumptive. As a child her studies were extended to include lessons on constitutional history and law, while she also studied art and music. In addition she learned to ride and acquired her enthusiasm for horses. As she grew older she began to take part in public life, making her first broadcast at the age of 14. Early in 1945 she became a subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and by the end of the war had reached the rank of Junior Commander.
The announcement of the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria (now Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh) whom she had known for many years, was made in 1947. Their wedding took place in Westminster in November 1947. She came to the throne on 6 February 1952 and was crowned on 2 June 1953. Since then, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, she has undertaken innumerable tours throughout the Commonwealth at the invitation of the host governments, besides paying frequent visits to overseas countries outside the Commonwealth at the invitation of foreign heads of State. She has also made many visits throughout the United Kingdom, to fulfil engagements in connection with agriculture, industry, education, the arts, medicine and sport and as a means of keeping in touch with new developments in these fields. In 1977 her Silver Jubilee was celebrated in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth. Accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen travelled some 56,000 miles to share the anniversary with her people. Enormous crowds greeted them wherever they went, with millions more sharing in the celebrations through radio and television.
The Queen is the owner and breeder of thoroughbred horses, and often goes to race meetings to watch her horses run. She is also a frequent visitor at equestrian events.
The Duke of Edinburgh was born in 1921 and educated at Gordonstoun and the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. He served at sea throughout the war, which he ended as a First Lieutenant. He ceased holding active naval appointments in 1951. The Duke has played an outstanding part in the nation’s life and holds many important Service appointments and acts as patron or president of a large number of national organizations. In particular he interests himself in scientific and technological research and development, in the encouragement of sport, the welfare of young people and in the conservation and state of the environment. During the past 25 years the Duke has been closely involved in the development and growth of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and devotes much time to meeting its participants and helpers. It is a programme of challenging leisure-time activities for young people from all over the Commonwealth, and encourages community service, adventure and personal achievement. Since 1965 millions of young people have taken part. A keen Sportsman, he formerly played polo regularly and has been President of the International Equestrian Federation since 1964.
The Queen’s heir is Charles, Prince of Wales, who was born in 1948 and educated at Gordonstoun, at Geelong Grammar School in Australia, at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Aberystwyth in the University of Wales. He has served in the Royal Navy (besides obtaining his Wings at the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell) and since 1977 has been pursuing of familiarization with various aspects of public life in Britain, in particular industry and government, in addition to his normal round of royal duties. He married Lady Diana Spencer, the wedding took place in St Paul’s Cathedral, London, on 29 July 1981. She bore two sons to him.
Besides Charles, the Queen has three more children, Princess Anne,
born in 1950 and two younger sons, Prince Andrew (born in 1960) and Prince Edward (born in 1964). Both educated at Gordonstoun: Prince Andrew served in the Royal Air Force, while Prince Edward in the Royal Navy.
The Queen’s only sister, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, has a son and a daughter by her former husband, the Earl of Snowdon. She is patron or president of a great number of public bodies, many of them concerned with youth activities, children’s welfare, care of the sick and nursing organizations.