|Stories and Notes
||Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on 21 April 1926; she was educated privately, and assumed official duties at 16. During World War II she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, and by an amendment to the Regency Act she became a state counsellor on her 18th birthday. On the death of George VI in 1952 she succeeded to the throne while in Kenya with her husband and was crowned on 2 June 1953.|
The reign of Queen Elizabeth II since 1952 has spanned a period of rapid and occasionally turbulent change. Britain’s position in the world, her economy, and the very shape and structures of society have all been transformed and many traditional institutions have suffered in the process. Through all this, the path of the Crown has been marked out by The Queen herself, in a prolonged display of unwavering devotion to Duty and quiet pragmatism which has met a nationally-felt need, and has won her the respect and affection of her peoples. As hereditary head of State for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Head of the Commonwealth, she has symbolic and formal functions and duties but no direct powers. She is an embodiment of national identity and continuity and, with her family, performs countless formalities to mark events in the lives of individuals and communities and provides valuable patronage for innumerable charities.
Supported by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to whom she was married on 20 November 1947, The Queen is head of a large family. The first child of the royal marriage and the current heir to the throne is Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, who was born on 14 November 1948 and was invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle on 1 July 1969. He married Lady Diana Spencer ( Princess Diana ) on 29 July 1981; two sons were born to the marriage, Prince William, born 21 June 1982 and Prince Henry (Harry), born 15 September 1984. However, the marriage broke down amid widely-publicised bitterness, and a divorce followed. These troubles, together with the divorces of Princess Anne and the Duke of York, were seen by some to diminish the monarchy in public esteem. The death of Diana, Princess of Wales on 31 August 1997 in a car crash in Paris unleashed a wave of hysteria stirred up by the media, and the family had to suffer relentless intrusion by the world's press into their lives.
In 2012 she opened the London Olympics and celebrated her Diamond Jubilee of 60 years on the throne. The Prince of Wales, after suffering a period of unpopularity, has shown resilience and willingness to meet the public half-way in its new mood. His long-established concern for the disadvantaged sections of society, and support of a ‘green’ environmental issues, has enabled him to meet on common ground many who might be put off by grandeur and pomp, while his evident devotion to his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry and grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte has won him a real measure of respect. Initially unpopular his wife Camilla has shown herself to be capable in her support. Debate about the future of the monarchy continues, but the Royal Family has shown itself willing to accept evolutionary change including the Queen’s decision to pay tax, changes being made to the Civil List, and the opening of Buckingham Palace to the public to help fund the restoration of Windsor Castle. On 10th September 2015 Queen Elizabeth II became the longest ever reigning British monarch surpassing the 63 years 7 months reigned by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.