Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Queen Elizabeth II

1926-
From: United Kingdom
Fields: Government and Politics
 
Elizabeth II, full name Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (1926- ), queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952- ), daughter of King George VI, born in London. In 1944 she served as a councillor of state while her father was on the war front in Italy. She married Prince Philip, duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, and a year later gave birth to a son, Charles. In 1950 she gave birth to a daughter, Anne. Elizabeth succeeded to the throne on the death of her father in February 1952. A second son, Andrew, was born to Elizabeth in 1960 and a third, Edward, in 1964. Elizabeth's reign has been marked by vast changes in the lives of her people and in the power and prestige of her nation. By the early 1980s, some 40 former British colonies, protectorates, and mandate territories had been granted their independence. Beginning in the mid-1950s, there was constant turmoil in Northern Ireland. On the home front, the nation suffered economic difficulties after World War II. Many industries were nationalized, and in 1973 Great Britain became a member of the European Economic Community. Throughout this period Elizabeth's primary role was as a symbol of unity and continuity within the Commonwealth of Nations; Elizabeth and her husband frequently visited the Commonwealth nations. The royal family has also undergone changes during Elizabeth's reign. Since the 1980s the public has become much more informed about the lives of the royal family due to in-depth press coverage. Two of Queen Elizabeth's sons, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, separated from their wives in 1992; both separations occurred amid a flurry of international press coverage. These separations were surrounded by accusations of infidelity and damaged the reputation of the royal family. Also in 1992 the Queen and Prince Charles agreed to pay income taxes on their personal income, the first time the monarchy has done so. The same year, part of Windsor Castle was seriously damaged by fire. In 1993 Buckingham Palace was opened to tourists to help pay for the repairs at Windsor Castle.

"Elizabeth II" Microsoft® Encarta.
Copyright© 1995 Microsoft Corporation.



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