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A Focus on the life of Queen Elizabeth II

Princess Elizabeth was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Princess was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary at Buckingham Palace on 29 May that year.

At the time of her birth, Princess Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V, was on the throne, and she was third in the line of succession, after her uncle, Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York. In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret.

Princess Elizabeth spent her early years in London. In 1932, when she was six years old the family moved to Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. 

In 1936 Princess Elizabeth’s life changed dramatically. Her grandfather, King George V, died and her uncle came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, he had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson. Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and Princess Elizabeth became first in line to the throne. In 1937 the two Princesses attended their parents’ Coronation in Westminster Abbey. 

The Second World War began in 1939, and a year later, at the height of the Blitz, the Princesses were moved for their safety to Windsor Castle, where they spent most of the war years. Princess Elizabeth was educated at home. She studied constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role as monarch, was instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury and learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses. 

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip first met in 1934. When the Princess was 21, their engagement was announced on 9 July 1947 and the couple were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November the same year. 

On 6 February 1952, King George VI died following a prolonged illness. Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II. The Coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, attended by 8,251 guests, including the Prime Ministers and leading citizens of the other Commonwealth countries and representatives of foreign states. Crowds of people viewed the procession all along the route despite heavy rain. The ceremony was broadcast to 11 million listeners on the radio, and, for the first time, the ceremony was televised around the world – 27 million people in the UK alone tuned in to watch.



Downloadable PDF teacher resources

A focus on the life of Queen Elizabeth II: Presentation

A focus on the life of Queen Elizabeth II: Presentation teacher notes

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