Our longest-reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 94th birthday on Tuesday, 21 April 2020.

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Australia in 2006. Photo: Facebook/The Royal Family

Queen Elizabeth has become a much loved and respected figure across the globe as she has undertaken many historic overseas visits including Australia.

She is known for her sense of duty and devotion to a life of service through the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social changes.

The Queen has no plans to abdicate but continues to carry out official engagements, including visits to charities and schools, leading the nation in Remembrance and celebratory events with support from other members of the Royal Family.

Queen Elizabeth has also hosted many visiting Heads of State, including royal relatives like King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde from Belgium, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands.

At the moment, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh are staying at Windsor Castle, with most official duties cancelled, and conducting her weekly appointments with Prime Minister Boris Johnson by telephone.

However, this year, due to the coronavirus, the Queen has requested no gun salutes to mark this occasion.

Early Life

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born at 2.40 am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the Duke and Duchess of York’s (later George VI and Queen Elizabeth) eldest daughter.

At the time of her birth, Princess Elizabeth was third in the line of succession to the British throne, following her uncle, Edward, The Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) and her father.

Her sister Margaret Rose was born four years later.

World War II

However, her life changed forever when her uncle Edward abdicated in 1936 to marry the woman he loved, a twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

Her father became King so Princess Elizabeth was now the heir-presumptive to the throne and was now of more public interest.

Both princesses were educated at home, learning music, art and learning to ride. Princess Elizabeth having extra lessons learning about constitutional history and law in preparation for her future role as Queen.

During World War II, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret were moved to Windsor Castle for safety.

Princess Elizabeth saw active service as an honorary second subaltern in the Auxilliary Territorial Service, training as a driver and mechanic.

Marriage

Princess Elizabeth married her cousin Prince Philip on 20 November 1947 in Westminister Abbey and spent their honeymoon at Lord Mountbatten’s home, Broadlands in Hampshire, and Birkhall, Balmoral.

They produced four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, have eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, including Archie Mountbatten-Windsor born in 2019.

An Australian postage stamp issued to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their Platinum Wedding Anniversary on 20 November 2017 – the longest-married royal couple in British history.

Queen of Australia

Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh have made 16 visits to Australia since her accession on 6 February 1952.

She was the first reigning monarch to step foot in Australia during her first official visit in 1954 travelling by car, royal trains, planes through the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia during a gruelling schedule.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on the royal train at Central Railway Station, Sydney (NSW), in 1954. Source: State Records NSW

The Queen and Prince Philip participated in the Captain Cook Bicentenary celebrations in 1970, including a reenactment at Kurnell.

They returned in 1973 as Queen Elizabeth declared the Sydney Opera House open and returned in 1988 to open the new Parliament House in Canberra.

During the 1999 Referendum, Australians voted to remain a constitutional monarchy and rejected the notion of becoming a Republic.

Queen Elizabeth has sent messages of support to Australians during the recent droughts, bushfires and the coronavirus.

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