- NAME: Queen Mother Elizabeth
- OCCUPATION: Political Leader, Queen
- BIRTH DATE: August 04, 1900
- DEATH DATE: March 30, 2002
- PLACE OF BIRTH: London, England
- PLACE OF DEATH: London, England
- AKA: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
- AKA: Queen Consort of the United Kingdom
- AKA: Queen Mother Elizabeth
- Nickname: "Smiling Duchess"
- Originally: Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon
- AKA: Queen Elizabeth Queen Consort
- AKA: The Queen Mother
- Nickname: "Queen Mum"
- AKA: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
Best Known For
Queen Elizabeth was the Queen consort of King George VI until his death in 1952. She is best known for her moral support to the British people during WWII and her longevity.
George VI - Lady Elizabeth (1:20)
George VI - Becoming King (1:32)
George VI - Visiting FDR (0:42)
Born Elizabeth Angela Martuerite Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother Elizabeth was one of the most popular debutantes of her time. And as such caught the eye of King George VI, then the Duke of York.
King George VI faced many personal challenges as King of England, including his now famous stutter. But his wife, the Duchess of York was a key figure in his life that helped him overcome the challenges.
King George VI was the first ruling British Monarch to ever visit the United States. On his trip they had one agenda, to win the hearts of the American people.
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At the outbreak of World War II, some officials suggested that Elizabeth and her children evacuate to North America or Canada. To this, the queen replied, "The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the King will not leave the country in any circumstances whatsoever." Thus, the entire royal family shared the dangers and difficulties of war with the rest of the nation. When France fell to the Nazis in June, 1940,
the queen sent a broadcast message to the women of France in their language, expressing her sorrow. Later in September, she was caught in a German bombing raid on Buckingham Palace, though she was unharmed. Throughout the war, she and the king toured hospitals and factories and visited with the troops, sometimes near the fighting. Queen Elizabeth also suffered personal sorrow when her nephew and the king's youngest brother were killed during the war.
In 1948, the royal couple celebrated their silver wedding anniversary. In a moving speech, King George VI spoke passionately of his marriage to Elizabeth, expressing how much she inspired him. Their strong bond would be needed as the post-war years brought on dramatic changes for both Britain and the royal couple. After the war, Britain's economy was all but bankrupt. Many of its former colonies were striking out for independence. Great Britain went through several years of harsh austerity, rebuilding its economy and shedding is colonies to form the British Commonwealth.
The royal couple also faced personal challenges: In 1949, a blood clot was removed from the king's right leg. From then on, Queen Elizabeth and her daughters fulfilled many of the king's public engagements.
In September 1951, Georg VI was diagnosed with lung cancer. He and the queen were scheduled for a trip to Australia and New Zealand in January 1952, but Elizabeth chose to stay home with her husband instead; Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, went in their place. On February 6, 1952, King George VI died. Princess Elizabeth and her husband returned to Britain immediately after hearing the news, and the nation went into mourning.
Queen Elizabeth deeply loved her late husband, and for a time after his death, it looked as though she would become a recluse. But remembering her duty, she accepted the tragic loss with stoic courage and soon resumed her public duties. She would go on to become a wise and respected leader. After her daughter’s coronation as Queen Elizabeth II, she took on the name "Queen Mother" so as not to be confused with the new queen. Following her service as queen, the Queen Mother said, "My only wish is that I may be allowed to continue the work that [George VI and I] sought to do together."
Over the next three decades, the Queen Mother became the royal family’s matriarch, but was always careful not to overshadow her daughter's reign as queen. She continued to travel and make public appearances in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth, and she didn’t allow personal illness to slow her down: She dealt with an appendectomy, colon cancer and an operation to remove a fishbone caught in her throat, all while serving as matriarch.
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They rule the Royal House of Windsor, and they can trace their bloodlines back through thousands of years of monarchy and leadership. The British Royal Family, with Queen Elizabeth II at the head of the throne, lead Britain's constitutional monarchy. As the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and is honored for 60 years on the throne, the Royal Family has never been more popular. They go by the terms "His and Her Royal Highness," yet they are admired for their style, down-to-earth personalities, media savvy, and their devotion to humanitarian causes. All eyes are on Princes William and Harry as they carry on their family legacy into the 21st century.
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