The Life & Times of Queen Elizabeth II
For those of you who don’t know much about Queen Elizabeth II, it’s important to know that she was the monarch of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms when she died in 2011. In addition to her role as the monarch of the United Kingdom, she also reigned as queen regnant of 15 other sovereign states.
King Charles III
Charles and Camilla are the first British monarchs to have attended university, and Charles was the first to do so. While at university, Charles studied history at Trinity College, Cambridge. He then spent seven years in the armed forces as a pilot for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy. He eventually became a commander of the minesweeper HMS Bronington. The Prince was already in a relationship with Camilla before he went to sea, but they later divorced:
- As the heir apparent to Queen Elizabeth, Charles will face a number of challenges.
- He must learn to win the people’s love and respect.
- This question has loomed over Charles’ life. He began as a shy boy with a dominating father, but has matured into an understated man with strong opinions.
- He has written articles and delivered speeches on issues close to his heart.
Charles’ gray hair and narrow mouth have brought criticism for being out of touch. He was once ridiculed for brushing his teeth with toothpaste. After his divorce from Diana, the public began to doubt his fitness for the throne. As he aged, he became overshadowed by his handsome young sons. His gray suits and Saville Row suits were ridiculed. However, Charles and Camilla have made peace with the public, and they support the victims of domestic abuse.
Mother of Queen Elizabeth
The mother of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was born in 1900. She was the ninth of ten children born to Claude and Cecilia Bowes-Lyon, who later became the 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the Peerage of Scotland. She grew up at St Paul’s Waldenbury in Hertfordshire and was crowned Princess Elizabeth on 21 May 1937.
Strikingly Beautiful Woman
When Elizabeth was a child, she was known as the “two Benjamins.” She was a strikingly beautiful woman, and she fell in love with her second son, Albert. However, Albert suffered from a persistent stammer, and this added to his nervousness. Despite these issues, Elizabeth and Albert married on April 26, 1923. The couple would go on to have two children, a son and daughter.
As a young woman, Elizabeth became very involved in the war effort, assisting her parents at the front with care for injured soldiers. She also helped with the welfare work in her home. Her brother, Fergus, was killed during the Battle of Loos, and Elizabeth laid a bouquet on his Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.
State of the United Kingdom
As the head of state of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth visited numerous countries and territories in her lifetime. From the Caribbean to Africa, her visits to various countries spanned centuries. In 1947, she accompanied her parents on a trip to South Africa. The couple travelled to the African country by cable car and later visited the town of Table Mountain. On her 21st birthday, Elizabeth made a broadcast to the British Empire, pledging to dedicate her life to serving the people of the Empire and Commonwealth.
During her reign, Elizabeth visited over 117 countries, including nearly all the member countries of the Common wealth. This made her the most widely-travelled world leader in history. Her trips were often challenging, but she was widely known for her high-level international tours. During her reign, she hosted 112 state visits and numerous high-level diplomatic visits. These trips had real-world effects, including extending the term of other leaders and increasing trade flows between nations.
Queen Elizabeth has cultivated warm personal relationships with many heads of state and other leaders. This was evident in the BBC documentary, Queen & Country, in 2002. The queen’s comments made Sir Edward Heath laugh. The Queen also invited Mary McAleese to lunch with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, expressing her interest in her role as a student at the University of Belfast. She wanted to hear about her views on Anglo-Irish relations.
The health of Queen Elizabeth has been under close scrutiny in recent years, with a number of recent health issues being the cause of speculation. The queen was recently hospitalised for COVID-19 and has been dealing with “episodic mobility problems”. She cancelled her trip to Northern Ireland in October 2021 due to her condition, and was told to take it easy for a couple of weeks. The queen has been advise to reduce her official engagement and delegate more responsibility to Prince Charles.