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Queen Elizabeth II: The Monarch Who Ruled 70 Years

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Deepa is a freelance researcher and journalist. She writes and makes documentaries and videos.

A Brief Biography

Born in 1926, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne at the age of 26. As a nation head, she was a contemporary of Winston Churchill, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman. During her reign, 14 prime ministers came and went from office in the UK. In 2015, she surpassed the record of maximum years of the reign set by Queen Victoria. Queen Elizabeth II never gave an interview but did many public speeches. She never went to school as a kid and was taught by her governess, Marion Crawford, and then by many other teachers via homeschooling. Elizabeth became the queen in a curious turn of events, an unexpected shift of power in her family. Her father was the second in line for succession but his elder brother Edward, who was to be the king, abdicated the position to marry a divorced woman. Church of England dictates that a king should never marry a divorced woman. As her father became the king instead of Edward, Elizabeth became the next in line for succession, being his eldest daughter. She is married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten of the Royal Navy, formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. She is also one of the richest women in the world by way of her properties and financial holdings.


Prince Charles, who is her heir apparent, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward are her children. She also had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. The queen has always tried to modernise her reign and even allowed televising of the life of the royal family. Faced with the economic recession of the 1990s, she agreed to pay taxes on her private income. She and the palace faced criticism from the people of the UK when her son Prince Charles and his wife, the much-admired Princess Diana separated, and the notion that the palace rules are antiquated grew surrounding the tragic death of Diana in 1997. Elizabeth had disallowed first to fly the national flag half-staff over Buckingham Palace upon her death. Her approach to the monarchy remained a balancing act between what is traditional and modern. The Diana episode was the only incident when she seemed to slip a little.


The Young Queen

The Queen and the Modern United Kingdom

In 2011, the queen visited Ireland at the invitation of Irish President, Mary McAleese, and thus she became the first reigning monarch of Britain to set foot in the Irish Republic since 1911. In 1911, Elizabeth's grandfather King George V visited Ireland when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. After a popular uprising, the Irish Republic was formed partitioning original Ireland, and the UK retained Northern Ireland alone. As early as 1936, this new republic had removed all references to its association with the British monarchy and in 1949 it had quit the Commonwealth. The queen’s visit normalised the relationship between the two countries and her speech on the occasion was lauded as balanced and important to the future of the two nations.

In 2021, Elizabeth lost her husband Philip to passing by old age. In 2016, when Netflix telecast a new series, The Crown, based on the lives of the royals, it evoked a renewed interest in the Queen and her life worldwide. The queen brings a unique kind of joy to the people of the UK in her public appearances but she is never known for playing up to the gallery.

The Perfect Queen

People close to the queen have reported that she is a very normal person in private. It seems that her strong and sincere belief that she was consecrated to the post of the queen makes everything easy and natural for her to have the demeanour of a perfect queen. She lives her role wholeheartedly. Always standing up for tradition and ceremony, she knew that is the binding thread of a country like Britain. Only a few know that she has been the head of state of the Commonwealth realm, in which the countries, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines belonged. Recently Barbados had disassociated itself from the monarchy in a constitutional amendment. The Caribbean countries, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, and St Kitts and Nevis have also been planning to follow the course. In Britain, a recent survey showed that 62% of the population thinks that the institution of the monarchy should continue. It was only in 2013 that the royal family rules were amended to cancel the sons taking precedence over daughters while succeeding to the British throne. If queen Elizabeth’s father had a son, she would never have become the queen but now the eldest child in the royal family, irrespective of gender, can ascend to the throne.


Queen Elizabeth: Childhood Picture

Queen’s Routine Life

Queen Elizabeth II is a person of routine- she eats almost the same menu every day and follows the same daily activities without much change. She takes a stroll every day and she walks either around the palace grounds or the beach. She loves horses and dogs. Her favourite dog breed is the Corgi. At the age of seven, her father presented her with a Welsh Corgi named Dookie. And when later her corgi dog was bred with a dachshund, she called it ‘dorgi’. Thus she even invented a new dog.


The queen enjoys a cup of Twinning tea in the morning. A bowl of breakfast cereal with assorted fruits is the routine breakfast. Sometimes there is an addition of scrambled eggs or smoked salmon. For lunch, she takes grilled fish or chicken. Dover Sole is her favourite fish. She takes it with wilted spinach or courgettes. Chicken is always grilled and taken with a salad. With her evening tea, she sometimes has chocolate biscuit cake. Dinner would comprise cooked meat and vegetables. Pheasant and Venison top the list of meat. Strawberries, chocolate, and peaches will be the dessert. She concludes her dinner with a glass of champagne.


She takes a glass of Champagne with her evening meal and gin and Dubonnet with lemon and ice before lunch. She stopped having her daily dry martini in 2021. Horse riding was one of her favourite pastimes but she gave up that too in 2021. In 2018, when she was 92, she underwent cataract surgery. Though she was fully vaccinated and had her booster dose too, she contracted Covid but got over it with mild symptoms. The palace has always been secretive about her health.


On the 70th anniversary of her rule, she said, "And so as I look forward to continuing to serve you with all my heart, I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities – after some difficult times for so many of us – in order to enjoy the celebrations and to reflect on the positive developments in our day-to-day lives that have so happily coincided with my reign."


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The Quotes of Queen Elizabeth That Reflect Her Personality

“Good memories are our second chance at happiness.”

“When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

“The world is not the most pleasant place. Eventually, your parents leave you and nobody is going to go out of their way to protect you unconditionally. You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass.”

“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.”

“It has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the hard progress of humankind.”

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

“There are long periods when life seems a small, dull round, a petty business with no point, and then suddenly we are caught up in some great event which gives us a glimpse of the solid and durable foundations of our existence.”

“I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else - I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.”

“In the turbulence of this anxious and active world, many people are leading uneventful, lonely lives. To them, dreariness, not disaster, is the enemy. They seldom realize that on their steadfastness, on their ability to withstand the fatigue of dull repetitive work, and on their courage in meeting constant small adversities depend in great measure the happiness and prosperity of the community as a whole. ... The upward course of a nation's history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women.”

References

Is this Queen Elizabeth II's secret to good health? britishheritage.com

Factbox: The health of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, reuters.com

Factbox: Key facts about Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, reuters.com

Factbox: Notable quotes of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Reuters.com

What does Queen Elizabeth eat every day? britishheritage.com

The One Major Secret to Living to 95, According to Queen Elizabeth, eatthis.com

Who is Queen Elizabeth II? Megan Stine, 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II, The Oral History, Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald Strober, 2021.

Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom, Britannica.com

UK Royal Family: Who Is In It and What Does The Queen Do? bbc.com

Queen Elizabeth II Quotes, azquotes.com

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Deepa

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