Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the second monarch of that name to reign, after her predecessor, Elizabeth Tudor (Elizabeth I), another great monarch who ruled for many years and surveyed over what is now called “The Golden Age” of English history.
Queen Elizabeth is the second longest reigning monarch (after her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria) and ascended the throne in 1952 at the age of 25 due to the untimely death of her father to lung cancer. She had never expected to become queen. Her uncle was first in line to the throne as a child and when her grandfather died, he ascended as Edward VIII. However, her father went from Heir Presumptive to King of England practically overnight when Edward the VIiI abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson. Princess Elizabeth then became Heiress Presumptive and subsequently queen.
Elizabeth II’s official seal “E II R” stands for Elizabeth Regina (Latin for queen) and the Roman numerals for being the second monarch of that name.
Did you know that the British Monarchy has a website and has had some for quite some time? I discovered this by accident while doing research and found that it is a veritable wealth of information for all things British. And Royal.
Some interesting things you’ll learn from the website:
The British State Opening of Parliament, amongst all kinds of pomp and ceremony with centuries of history behind it. This year, it will occur on May 8, 2013 and will likely be televised in many countries (almost certainly if you live in a Commonwealth country). If you get a chance, I suggest you check it out. It’s a fascinating lesson in history, tradition and the continuity of one of the most important monarchies of Great Britain.
Royal Events and Ceremonies, including State Funerals, Coronations, Investitures and the Changing of the Guard.
History of the Monarchy provides a timeline of all the British Monarchs and biographies of each using a wonderful visual graphic to illustrate the passage of time over the milenia.
The Royal Household is explained with a wonderful overview video and also delineates the specific divisions within the household.
The BBC did a very in-depth set of documentaries about five years ago entitled “A Year With The Queen.” The DVDs are still available and I highly recommend them. Here’s a trailer of the documentary.
To go along with it, is this visually stunning and detailed hardback book (and part of my personal research library):
Her Majesty has a sense of humor, despite her austere façade. The world had a chance to witness it at the London Olympic Games last year. Because it’s such a fun clip, I’m including it here!
On April 17, 2009 (almost 4 years ago, now!) I woke up a Canadian citizen. As such, I am now a subject of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Believe me, when you are trying to catch up with a lifetime of culture and history, resources like these are very useful!