On September 8, 2022, the world said goodbye to Britian’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Her consummate grace, commitment to the service of her country and notable achievements, both political and social, made her one of the most beloved royals in history. She will be missed by millions, but her noble life and legacy will continue to inspire people for a long, long time to come.
A Short Biography
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London, England on April 21, 1926, in the affluent area of Mayfair. At the time, her paternal grandfather, King George V was on the throne. Her mother was Elizabeth, Duchess of York (who would later become the Queen Mother) and her father was Prince Albert, Duke of York (who would later become King George VI). This regal beginning set Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on the course that would lead to her destiny: becoming the most treasured monarch of all time. Here are a few key dates from her history that proceed her accession to the throne.
1936 – Elizabeth’s mother and father become the King and Queen of Great Britain.
1937 – Elizabeth becomes a Girl Guide (the UK equivalent of the Girl Scouts), joining a revered organization recognized for its charitable work and empowering young women to be their best selves.
1940 – In the midst of World War II, a very young Elizabeth makes her first radio broadcast, encouraging the children of the Commonwealth to have hope during this trying time for the nation and the world.
1947 – Elizabeth makes her first journey overseas, visiting South Africa with the Royal Family. Soon after arriving back in England, Buckingham Palace announces Elizabeth’s engagement to Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark. The couple marry later that year.
1948 – Prince Charles (now the reigning King of England) is born to Elizabeth and Phillip.
1952 – Her father, King George VI, passes away and Elizabeth (recognized as Elizabeth II to avoid confusion to the Queen Mother) succeeds to the throne.
Fascinating Facts from Her Majesty’s Reign
On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II began her royal reign of England, punctuated with a historic coronation ceremony. The world watched as this young, but seasoned, 25-year-old woman officially became “Her Majesty” and dedicated herself to the Commonwealth. This would be the first of many significant events in her nearly 71-year reign. Here are a few fascinating facts the world discovered about her during her time on the throne.
1. She was the very first British royal to serve the military in active duty, part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II.
2. Besides the more than 30 Corgis Her Majesty owned in her lifetime (and even bred), Elizabeth II was quite the animal lover in general, stabling horses and sponsoring wild animals of all kinds from the London Zoo. She also owned all of the swans and dolphins that live in the UK waters because of a standing statute on the books since 1324.
3. Although she learned to drive during her time in the army, Elizabeth II never obtained a driver’s license. She was recognized as the only person in the UK not required by law to carry one. Though very well-travelled, she never needed a passport either since all British passports were issued in her name.
4. During her reign, Elizabeth II made 5 official visits to the United States – in 1957, 1976, 1983, 1991 and 2007.
5. The Queen had two birthdays every year. Although her birth date was on April 21, she was given a second date as her “official birthday,” ensuring that celebrations could be had when the weather was better.
6. She was responsible for organizing and hosting Buckingham Palace’s very first women-only event in 2004 – the Women of Achievement luncheon.
7. Elizabeth II was always seen with her purse, but it wasn’t just a fashion statement. Based on how she was holding (or not holding) her bag, staff would know exactly what was expected of them at any given moment. It was essentially her signaling device.
8. After World War II had ended, to show her allegiance with the country’s time of economic restraint, she used rationing coupons from the British government to help fund the creation of her own wedding dress.
Queen Elizabeth II and The Bradford Exchange
Like those around the world, Queen Elizabeth II still holds a special place in the heart of those at The Bradford Exchange. Through the years, she and other members of the Royal Family have been recognized with unique tributes and collectibles. It’s a special way that everyone can join in to celebrate the indelible mark Her Majesty left on history and our lives.
In fact, when she passed in September, a 1957 Roll Royce was rolled out on The Bradford Exchange grounds to pay homage to the Queen. It was a unique kind of tribute because of the vehicle’s significant ties to Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Family and British history. You can click here to read more about the event and the £50,000 donated to the Royal Foundation in honor of the Queen’s memory.The Life and Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II by The Bradford Exchange