Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
June 2, 1953
Currently Known For:
Queen of the United Kingdom
Member of the British royal family
“Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and family disagreements.” The longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch and female head of state, Queen Elizabeth II continues to rule the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Ceylon and several other independent Commonwealth countries after first ascending the throne in February 1952 after the death of her father, the late King George VI. So, how did she inherit the throne to become one of the most powerful and influential women in the world?
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926 as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, later known as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Described as a responsible child with an air of authority and responsibility as well as a love of horses and dogs, Elizabeth was never expected to become queen since she was third in line behind her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York. However, after her grandfather’s death, Edward abdicated the throne to marry divorced socialite Wallis Simpson, which made Elizabeth’s father the king. Thrust into the spotlight as heir to the throne, Elizabeth received a private education alongside her sister, Princess Margaret, and was groomed under her father’s watchful eye as she made her first radio broadcast at 14 years old during the BBC Children’s Hour. Three years later, she made her first solo public appearance and assumed an even larger role in the Royal Family as she toured overseas where, on her 21st birthday, she pledged, “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
Determined to keep that promise, Elizabeth matured and, after exchanging letters since their first meeting in 1934, fell in love with Philip of Greece and Denmark. Meeting once again when she was 13 years old at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, Elizabeth kept a close lid on their courtship and only announced their engagement on July 9, 1947, which sparked widespread controversy since Philip had no royal standing and his sisters had affiliations with German nobleman with Nazi ties. Although many thought Philip was not good enough for Elizabeth, the two remained steadfast in their decision to marry as King George named him the Duke of Edinburgh and granted him the style of His Royal Highness days before their royal wedding.
Elizabeth and Philip were married on November 20, 1947 at Westminster Abbey; however, Britain was still recovering from the war and the ceremony was not as lavish as many expected a royal wedding to be. Using ration coupons to buy the material for her dress, Elizabeth did her own makeup for the wedding at Buckingham Palace before making her way to the Abbey with her father in the Irish State Coach. The ceremony was recorded and broadcast by BBC radio to over 200 million people around the world and was followed by a royal breakfast where Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip received over 2,500 presents and over 10,000 telegrams of congratulations from people around the world.
Following their wedding and honeymoon, Elizabeth and Philip took up residence at Clarence House in London and started a family with the birth of their first child, Charles, Prince of Wales, in November 1948. Anne, Princess Royal, was born two years later in August 1950, but Elizabeth’s family was put on hold shortly after as her father’s health declined and she was required to stand in for him at more and more public events. On February 6, 1952, King George died while Elizabeth and Philip were away on an official tour of Australia and New Zealand. Immediately returning to England upon hearing the news, Elizabeth and Philip moved into Buckingham Palace with Charles and Anne in tow. On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom in the first televised coronation in history.
Eight years into her reign as Queen, Elizabeth welcomed a third child, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, into the world in February 1960 followed by the birth of her youngest child five years later, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, in March 1965. In the decades since, she’s watched as her children have married, divorced, remarried and welcomed children and grandchildren of their own while also assuming even greater roles and responsibilities in the Royal Family. She’s also led the family through numerous tragedies, including Charles’ divorce from Diana, Prince of Wales, as well as Diana’s tragic death in 1997 at which time Queen Elizabeth released a statement sharing her feelings after the devastating loss. “First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself,” she said. “She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her—for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.”
Although she’s often depicted in the media for her steadfast commitment to her religious and civic duty as a constitutional monarch, Elizabeth also takes great pride in her family and has expressed as much over the years despite many arguing that she is distant, impersonal, and lacks a sense of humor. “If I’m asked what I think about family life after 25 years of marriage,” she said during a speech at Guildhall in November 1972, “I can answer with equal simplicity and conviction, I am for it.”
Queen Elizabeth has also been quick to praise Prince Philip for his strength and support over the years despite a few hurdles and controversies early in their marriage. “All too often, I fear, Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking,” she said at their 50th anniversary celebration in 1997. “Frequently, we have discussed my intended speech beforehand and, as you will imagine, his views have been expressed in a forthright manner. He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.” Prince Philip couldn’t help but follow suit with a similar, yet more comedic reply saying, “I think the main lesson we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient in any happy marriage… You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
Celebrating their 70th anniversary in 2017 and becoming the first British monarch to do so, Queen Elizabeth also became the first British monarch to commemorate a Sapphire Jubilee in February 2017 but, unlike her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, she refrained from widespread public celebration. Instead, she took the day to honor her father and his legacy as she quietly worked at Sandringham House and later attended service at the St. Peter and St. Paul Church in Norfolk. As for the public commemoration, the Sapphire Jubilee included the ringing of the bells in Westminster Abbey, a 41-gun salute and a 62-gun salute, as well as blue stamps from the Royal Mail and commemorative coins from the Royal Mint that featured a reissue of the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth first revealed in 2014. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom also honored and congratulated the Queen on reaching “another remarkable milestone for our remarkable Queen.”
As for what the future holds, Queen Elizabeth seems to be slowing down after celebrating her 92nd birthday on April 21, 2018. Letting Prince Charles take on more responsibilities, the Queen confirmed on the day before her birthday that she has no plans to abdicate the throne. Instead, she announced that Prince Charles will succeed her as head of the Commonwealth wealth, an act that is her greatest wish and a sincere honor for her oldest son to carry on the family legacy and the illustrious and honorable House of Windsor.