Elizabeth II

(b. 1926)

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1926– )

Queen of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth (1952– ).

Eldest daughter of the future George VI, Elizabeth was privately educated and in World War II served briefly in the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service). In 1947, when in South Africa with her parents, she broadcast a pledge to serve the Commonwealth, which has remained one of her greatest concerns. Later in 1947 she married Philip Mountbatten (subsequently Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), and the couple have four children: the heir apparent Prince Charles, Anne, the Princess Royal, Andrew, Duke of York (1960– ), and Prince Edward (1964– ).

The Queen's duties involve holding meetings of the Privy Council and investitures to award medals and decorations, attending state occasions, such as the state opening of parliament, and making state visits to countries abroad as well as receiving visits from foreign monarchs and political leaders. She also receives copies of all important government papers. She has to some extent modernized the image of the monarchy, while retaining the formality it requires for its survival. This process of reform has been accelerated following the overwhelming public reaction to the death of Diana, Princes of Wales. The Queen's main personal interest is horse racing.

Subjects: British History.

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