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British kings and queens

Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II in 2006Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 Elizabeth II (1952–) was born on 21st April 1926, and acceded to the throne on the death of her father in 1952. She also became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (and later to a number of countries that became independent since her accession) as well as Head of the Commonwealth. In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. Elizabeth celebrated her Silver, Golden and Diamond jubilees in 1977, 2002 and 2012 respectively. In 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch—and the longest-reigning queen in world history. She has occasionally faced criticism of the royal family, most notably after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, but support for the monarchy, along with her personal popularity, has remained strong throughout her reign.


A painting of Elizabeth at the age of 7A painting of Elizabeth at the age of 7

Early life

Elizabeth was born on 21st April 1926, the daughter of George V’s second son, Albert, Duke of York, and his wife Elizabeth. Albert did not expect to be king since his elder brother David was first in line. David, who acceded to the throne as Edward VIII after his father’s death in 1936, abdicated only a few months into his reign. As a result, his younger brother became king, taking the name George VI. Elizabeth was now heir to the throne.

Elizabeth II’s record-breaking reign means there are now three generations of future monarchs alive today. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, is the longest-serving heir to the throne in British history, having been so since the age of three. His son William is second in line to the throne, while William's son George is third in line.

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