The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: 95 years of life

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THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE: 95 YEARS OF LIFE

The war and the army

Queen Elizabeth II was born and named Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, on April 21st 1926. That means that she was 13 years old when WWII started, 14 when her home in Buckingham Palace was bombed in 1940, and by the time the war ended, she had already become a Junior Commander at the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service) and was training to become a mechanic. As a member of the ATS, she was also the first female of the Royal family to be an active-duty member of the British Armed Forces.

And on May 8th, 1945, dressed in that ATS uniform, she snuck out of the palace with her sister Margaret to join the people celebrating the end of the war in the streets of London. In 1985, speaking to the BBC about that night, she said, “I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.”

Today, Queen Elizabeth is the last surviving head of state to have served during the Second World War.

Family

Two years after the end of WWII, and six years before she would become queen, Princess Elizabeth was betrothed and married to her distant cousin – Lieutenant Phillip Mountbatten of the Royal Navy. They were married in 1947. He was formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark and, just before they were to be married, was titled Duke of Edinburgh, earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich by Princess Elizabeth’s father.

In 1952 she became queen with the passing of her father, then in 1953 was crowned Queen Elizabeth II. At this point, she had already given birth to two of her four children – Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Ten years later in 1960 Prince Andrew would be born, and Prince Edward in 1964.

Now, in 2022, those four children have given the Queen eight grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.

The world around her

Queen Elizabeth II has lived through many changes in the world around her. Many argue that this century actually saw the most change for human civilisation. Especially in terms of technology.

She saw the world go from radio and black and white televisions to smartphones and royal social media pages. But, all in all, she has been said to be quite a progressive and embracing monarch as the world changed around her. She was early to email, sending off her first one in 1976, and in 2012 recorded her Christmas message in 3D.

The best way to analyse her approach to change is her own words. “Change is a constant,” said the monarch as she addressed Parliament during her Golden Jubilee in 2002, “managing it has become an expanding discipline. The way we embrace it defines our future.”