Queen Elizabeth II: A life dedicated to service

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Queen Elizabeth II, or Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in full, is known for reigning longer than any other monarch in British history. About to turn 92 years old on April 21 of this year, the much loved and respected queen has been reigning for more than 60 years.

Born in 1926 as the elder daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London; Queen Elizabeth II was not expected to be a monarch, not until her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated from the throne. After the abdication in 1936, Elizabeth II’s father, then the Duke of York, acceded to the throne as King George VI.

It was on Feb. 6, 1952 when Queen Elizabeth II, then a princess, acceded to the throne as queen following the death of King George VI due to a prolonged illness. On June 2, 1953, a coronation ceremony took place in Westminster Abbey, which was attended by 8,251 guests. About 129 nations and territories were officially represented at the ceremony.

The Queen’s official title, by virtue of the Royal Titles Act of 1953 is “Elizabeth The Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

As the Queen, some of her duties include opening each new session of Parliament, granting Royal Assent to legislation, and approving Orders and Proclamations through the Privy Council. Moreover, she also retains the right to appoint and also meeting the Prime Minister on a regular basis.

Aside from the title “Defender of Faith,” the Queen holds the title of “Supreme Governor of the Church of England.”

Queen Elizabeth II officially became Britain’s longest reigning Monarch on Sept. 9, 2015, surpassing her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years, seven months, and two days. For decades, she continues to be known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service.

A year after, in 2016, the Queen was also considered as the world’s longest-reigning living monarch following the death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Also in 2016, the longest reigning monarch celebrated another milestone, which is her 90th birthday, marked by various festivities. Apart from her long years ruling as a queen, she is also known to have traveled more widely than any other monarch. During these trips, she was able to undertake many historic overseas visits.

Along with her enduring reign as queen, Elizabeth II’s marriage was equally long enduring. Prior to her coronation in 1952, she was married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Nov. 20, 1947. The simple event, which was held at a time when Britain was still recovering from the war, were attended by foreign royals including the King of Iraq, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, and The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Princess Elisabeth of Luxembourg.

It was said that the Queen became the first British Monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Wedding anniversary in 2007 for a successful union of 60 years. Queen Elizabeth’s and Prince Philip’s union gave birth to four sons and daughters namely: Prince Charles, the heir apparent and The Prince of Wales; Princess Anne, the Princess Royal; Prince Andrew; and Prince Edward. Now, the couple has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

According to the official Web site of the British Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II sees public and voluntary service as one of the most important elements of her work. As Queen, she continues to carry out various engagements including visits to charities and schools, hosting visiting Heads of State, leading the nation in Remembrance and celebratory events, among others as supported by other members of the Royal Family. 

Moreover, the Web site said that the Queen has links — as Royal Patron or President — with over 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations — ranging from well-established international charities to smaller bodies working in a specialist area or on a local basis.

On the other hand, apart from fulfilling her duties as Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II also manages to take part in various hobbies. She is known to be an animal lover since her childhood, and has the greatest passions for horses and dogs. It is said that the Queen annually attends the Derby at Epsom, which is considered as one of the classic flat races in Britain. Queen Elizabeth also attends the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, which has been a Royal occasion since 1911.

She is known to be an owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, and frequents equestrian events. Queen Elizabeth II is also notable for her fondness for dogs. She is known to take care of corgis.

This year, Queen Elizabeth II together with the Royal Family and the world, will be celebrating her 92nd birthday. Although the Queen is known for spending her actual birthday privately, the occasion is publicly celebrated by observing various traditions and activities.

During this special day, gun salutes in central London at midday were being held: a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

Meanwhile, Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates two birthdays each year, will also be celebrating her official on the second Saturday in June. The practice of having two birthdays dates back from Edward VII, who ruled between 1901 and 1910. It said that an official celebration for a Sovereign’s birthday is being held on another day than the actual birthday when the actual birthday has not been in the summer. This will allow good weather for a birthday parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.

During the Trooping the Colour, where the Queen is joined by other members of the Royal Family, over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians come together for a great display of military precision, horsemanship, and fanfare. — Romsanne R. Ortiguero