Queen Elizabeth II: A life in pictures
Elizabeth was born April 21, 1926, the first child of the then-Duke and Duchess of York. In 1930, Elizabeth’s parents gave birth to her sister, Princess Margaret Rose.
“Lilibet” ascended to the throne sooner than anyone had expected. Her uncle, childless King Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 over his romance with divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth’s father became King George VI, putting her next in the succession.
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, her third cousin and a member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg, met in 1934 at the wedding of Philip’s cousin, Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. However, it wasn’t until July 1947 until the pair were officially engaged. They married on Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey.
Members of the royal family represent numerous organizations and charities worldwide. More than 3,000 groups list a royal as a patron or president. In recent years, the queen was the patron of over 600 organizations, with the causes including the environment, education and health.
Ceremony and pageantry are a core part of the British royal family. Among the regular duties Elizabeth carried out were making the annual Christmas speech and attending “Trooping the Colour.”
The 96-year-old monarch made an appearance in June on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the first day of her Platinum Jubilee, marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. She waved to tens of thousands of people gathered below and watched an aviation display in her honor, but was not able to attend many of the events that took place over the four days of celebration due to her declining health.