The twists of fate that made Elizabeth II a Queen

Britain's iconic monarch wasn't originally expected to take the throne.


She devoted her long life to her people, reigning with extraordinary success for over 70 years. But Elizabeth II wasn't born to be Queen.

She was the granddaughter of King George V, who had two sons,  Prince Edward and Prince Albert.  Elizabeth's father Albert was the younger. It was his brother Edward, Elizabeth's uncle, who was due to inherit the crown.  

When King George V died in 1936, Edward did indeed become King , but his reign was an extremely short one. Deeply in love with American Wallis Simpson, but unable to marry her because she was divorced, he chose her over the Crown. Just months after becoming King, he abdicated in order to spend his life with her.

As Edward had no children, Elizabeth's father now unexpectedly became monarch (taking the name King George VI). This meant that his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, was next in line to the throne. She was ten years old. 

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Naturally, since her father was himself only 40, everyone believed that Elizabeth’s accession would be many decades away. But King George VI never reached old age, dying at just 56.

Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip were in Kenya on their way to tour Australia and New Zealand when the sad news broke, on 6 February 1952. The Princess was just 25.

Young as she was, and devastated by the loss of her beloved parent, she never flinched from her duty. The woman who never expected to be Queen dedicated the next seven decades of her life to the Crown, becoming the longest-reigning British monarch, adored and admired by people worldwide. 

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