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Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was crowned in 1953. Her 60 years on the throne was celebrated in June 2012, with the Diamond Jubilee.
Queen Elizabeth II first began public duties during World War II, where she became a symbol of reassurance for the British people. In her 60-year reign, she's preserved the image of the crown throughout a period of great change.
An inside look at the royal wedding between Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
After Princess Diana's death, Queen Elizabeth II broadcast a message to the people of England.
The son of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry is third in line for the British throne. He served on the front lines in Afghanistan and holds the rank of captain.
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At the time of their marriage in 1947, Great Britain was still recovering from the ravages of World War II. Elizabeth is said to have collected clothing coupons to get fabric for her gown. The ceremony was held at London's Westminster Abbey on November 20. The couple wasted no time in producing a heir. Son Charles was born the following year and daughter Anne arrived in 1950.
On February 6, 1952, King George VI died,
and Elizabeth assumed the responsibilities of the ruling monarch. She and Prince Philip had been in Kenya at the time of her father's death. Her official coronation took place in June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. And for the first time, the ceremony was broadcast on television, allowing people from across the globe witness the pomp and spectacle of the event.
In her new role, Queen Elizabeth II had new political duties. She held weekly meetings with the country's prime minister, starting with Winston Churchill and every leader after him. As head of the Commonwealth, Elizabeth II traveled extensively. She also made visits to other countries as a representative of Britain, including a groundbreaking trip to Germany in 1965. Elizabeth became the first monarch to tour there since World War I.
Elizabeth had two more children—sons Andrew and Edward—in the early 1960s. She worked tirelessly to protect the image of the monarchy and to prepare for its future. In 1969, she officially made Prince Charles her successor by granting him the title of Prince of Wales. Approximately 200 million people tuned in to see the ceremony.
To continue the rule of the Windsor family, Elizabeth pressured Prince Charles to marry. He finally decided to tie the knot in 1981. The wedding of Prince Charles to 19-year-old Diana Spencer drew enormous crowds in the streets of London and millions watched the proceedings on television. Public opinion of the monarchy was especially strong at that time.
The following year, Elizabeth worried about her second son Andrew. Prince Andrew served as a helicopter pilot in the British Royal Navy during the Falklands War of 1982. Britain went to war with Argentina over the Falklands Islands, a clash that lasted for several weeks. While more than 250 British soldiers died in the conflict, Prince Andrew returned home safe and well much to his mother's relief.
Elizabeth, as queen, has seen the monarchy come under attack during her lifetime. The once-revered institution has weathered a number of storms, including death threats against the royal family. In 1979, Elizabeth suffered a great personal loss when Lord Mountbatten, her husband's uncle, died in a terrorist bombing. Mountbatten and several members of his family were aboard his boat on August 29, off the west coast of Ireland, when the vessel exploded. He and three others, including one of his grandsons, were killed. The IRA (Irish Republican Army), which opposed British rule in Northern Ireland, took responsibility for the attack.
In June 1981, Elizabeth herself had a dangerous encounter.
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