Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, of the House of Windsor-Mountbatten, is more popularly known as England's Queen Elizabeth II. As the second queen regnant of the name, she carries the "II" after her name. Queen regnants have been few and far between in English history, so Queen Elizabeth II is a member of an elite group.
Born 21 April 1926, Queen Elizabeth II, known as "Lilibet," was the daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and the Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. No one in the family dreamed Lilibet would one day rule her country as queen.
Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret, grew up in Picadilly with their parents. They lived quiet lives, since their father was not fond of the spotlight. However, in 1936, King George V died and Albert's older brother ascended the throne as King Edward VIII.
Edward had a small problem, however. He was deeply in love with an American woman named Wallis Warfield Simpson. Mrs. Simpson had two living ex-husbands in an age where divorce was infrequent, and frowned upon, and was not considered at all suitable for the wife of England's king. Rather than end the relationship, Edward abdicated the throne in favor of his younger brother, Albert. Albert was a reluctant king, but was crowned George VI on 12 May 1937. The moment the crown touched his head, his older daughter, Elizabeth, became the heiress presumptive.
Princess Elizabeth grew up in the 1930s and 1940s, and much of her childhood was overshadowed by World War II. But, in 1945, she insisted on joining the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service and was trained as a driver.
After World War II ended, Princess Elizabeth's thoughts turned to romance. She had known the young Royal Navy Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten since age 13, and they fell in love and were married 20 November 1947. Two of their children, Charles, Prince of Wales, and Anne, Princess Royal, were born before she ascended to the throne in 1952, after her father's death. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned 2 June 1953. She had two more children, Andrew, Duke of York and Edward, Earl of Essex.
Queen Elizabeth II has always traveled a great deal within her country's borders and internationally during her reign. She has made the face of the British royal family a public one. Her dedication to her duty has gained her the admiration of even her most heated enemies. No one could possibly accuse Queen Elizabeth II of ever shirking what she felt she had to do.