The Queen of the UK

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The Queen was born in London on 21 April 1926, the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, subsequently King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Five weeks later she was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the chapel at Buckingham Palace. The Princess's early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth; at White Lodge in Richmond Park; and at the country homes of her grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. EDUCATION Princess Elizabeth was educated at home with Princess Margaret, her younger sister. After her father succeeded to the throne in 1936 and she became heir

presumptive, she started to study constitutional history and law. She also studied art and music; learned to ride (she has been a keen horsewoman since early childhood); and enjoyed amateur theatricals and swimming - she won the Children's Challenge Shield at London's Bath Club when she was thirteen. She enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was eleven, and later became a Sea Ranger. EARLY PUBLIC LIFE As the Princess grew older she began to take part in public life. She broadcast for the first time in October 1940, when she was 14; she sent a message during the BBC's children's programme to all the children of Britain and the Commonwealth, particularly to those children who were being evacuated for safety reasons. In early1942 she was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier

Guards, and on her sixteenth birthday she carried out her first public engagement, when she inspected the regiment. In April 1943, Princess Elizabeth carried out her first solo public engagement, when she spent a day with a Grenadier Guards tank battalion in Southern Command. Thereafter her official duties increased, particularly in connection with young people: she was President of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children in Hackney and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. From March 1944 onwards, she also began to accompany the King and Queen on many of their tours within Britain.   Shortly after her eighteenth birthday in 1944, Princess Elizabeth was appointed a Counsellor of State during the King's absence on a tour of the Italian battlefields

and, for the first time, carried out some of the duties of Head of State. In August that year, with Queen Elizabeth, the Princess received an address from the House of Commons, and replied on behalf of the Throne. In September 1944, the Princess carried out her first official tour of Scotland with her parents, including her first opening ceremony in October when she opened the recently reconstructed Aberdeen Sailors' Home. The Princess's first flight by air was in July 1945, when she accompanied the King and Queen on a two-day visit to Northern Ireland. In early 1945 the Princess was made a Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). By the end of the war she had reached the rank of Junior Commander, having completed her course at No. 1 Mechanical training Centre of ATS

and passed out as a fully qualified driver. After the end of the war, Princess Elizabeth's public engagements continued to grow, and she travelled extensively to attend public functions throughout the British Isles. These included the launching of a new aircraft carrier in Belfast and a tour of Ulster in March 1946, and attending the National Eisteddfod of Wales in August 1946. Her first official overseas visit took place in 1947, when she accompanied her parents and sister on a tour of South Africa. During this tour she celebrated her twenty-first birthday, and gave a broadcast address dedicating herself to the service of the Commonwealth - a dedication she repeated five years later on her accession to the throne. On her return from the South Africa tour, Princess Elizabeth