The Queen was born at 17 Bruton St, London W1 on 21 April, 1926, was christened on 29 May, 1926 in the Private Chapel at Buckingham Palace and was confirmed on 28 March, 1942 in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle.
In 1940, at the age of 14, the then princess Elizabeth made her first ever radio broadcast during the BBC’s Children’s Hour, when she spoke to children who had been separated from their families and evacuated from UK cities. Thousands of children were sent to ‘safe’ areas around the country to escape the bombing raids on major cities.
In 1945, shortly after she turned 18, Princess Elizabeth was determined to play her part in World War Two and so she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the women’s branch of the British Army). This was a milestone moment. By volunteering, she became the first female member of the Royal Family to join the armed services as a full-time, active member. During her training in the south of England, she learned to drive and look after all types of vehicles including ambulances.
On May 8, 1945, when the war in Europe finally came to an end, Princess Elizabeth, dressed in her ATS uniform, slipped out of Buckingham Palace with her sister Margaret to join the thousands of people celebrating in the streets. She later told how she tried to avoid being spotted: “I remember we were terrified of being recognised so I pulled my uniform cap well down over my eyes.”
The Caribbean has been a favourite destination for Her Majesty ever since she first visited the region in 1953, her Coronation year. On that occasion she toured Bermuda and Jamaica.
The Queen has made more than 150 visits to Commonwealth countries during her reign.
In her long reign the Queen has sent congratulation cards to more than 300,000 people celebrating their 100th birthdays, and more than 900,000 cards to couples marking their Diamond Wedding Anniversaries.
The first Investiture of the Queen’s reign took place at Buckingham Palace on 27th February 1952. The first person to be presented was Private William Speakman, of The King’s Own Scottish Borderers, who received the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Korean War.
Many of The Queen’s official tours were undertaken on the Royal Yacht Britannia. It was launched by Her Majesty in April 1953 and was commissioned for service in January 1954. It was de-commissioned in 1997. Britannia travelled more than a million miles on Royal and official duties.