Monday, February 6, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, June 1953
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the constitutional monarch of 16 out of the 54 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations, and Head of the Commonwealth. In order of foundation, the 16 independent Commonwealth realms are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. As the British monarch, she is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. When her father died in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), became republics.
In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. In 1992, which Elizabeth termed her annus horribilis ("horrible year"), Charles and Andrew separated from their wives, Anne divorced, and a severe fire destroyed part of Windsor Castle. Revelations continued on the state of Charles's marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, and they divorced in 1996. The following year, Diana died in a Paris car crash, and the media criticized the royal family for remaining in seclusion in the days before her funeral. Elizabeth's personal popularity rebounded after she appeared in public and has subsequently remained high.
Her reign of 60 years is the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Her Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in 1977 and 2002; her Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated during 2012.

“Worked all day on the barn.  Got the siding on as far as the south side of the doors and got one door hung.  Has been a very fine day.”
Leesah

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