Queen Elizabeth II: Rare photos of the monarch before her coronation

Queen Elizabeth II died on 8 September 2022 at the age of 96 after more than 70 years of reign. But what was the young Queen like before her coronation?

The Queen of England before her coronation
© Bettmann / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES
The Queen of England before her coronation

After ruling the United Kingdom for several decades, 70 years to be exact, the Queen passed away at the age of 96. After so many years in power, few people remember or even knew the Queen in her youth. The late Queen kept much of her life hidden from the public but here are a few rare archives of the Queen of England.

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The childhood of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926. Her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary and she was the eldest daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1936. On 21 August 1930, Princess Elizabeth became a big sister with the birth of the couple's second daughter, Margaret.

The princesses were educated at home, mainly in national and world history, public speaking, literature and music. Elizabeth's cousin, Margaret Rhodes, described her as 'a jovial but extremely sensible and well-behaved little girl'.

The childhood of Queen Elizabeth II Universal History Archive / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES

Her father, Prince Albert, is not the eldest of her siblings, so her uncle, Edward of Wales, is the first heir to the reigning King, George V. Princess Elizabeth was therefore not destined to become Queen. But fate decided otherwise, as a few months after being crowned on the death of George V, King Edward VIII abdicated and his brother, the father of the young Elizabeth, acceded to the throne as George VI. The King's eldest daughter became heir apparent at the age of 10.

Elizabeth II, a sportswoman at heart

During her childhood, Princess Elizabeth took part in various sports, including swimming and horse riding. In 1939, Elizabeth won a swimming competition. Then in 1941, she won the Junior Respiration Award, a life-saving qualification, at the age of 14.

Elizabeth II loved horse riding Bettmann / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES

If there is one sport that has marked the life of the Queen of England, it's horse riding. Elizabeth II had been riding since she was a child, until shortly before her death. It was a passion that followed her throughout her life. The Queen was very emotional during the horse show 'A Gallop Through History' on the occasion of her platinum Jubilee, which celebrated her 70 years of reign.

Elizabeth II, a member of the Scouts

During her teenage years, Princess Elizabeth was a Girl Guide, the female equivalent of a Scout. The young princess, who was home-schooled, lacked social interaction with other girls. So, in order for her to meet girls her own age and make friends, the first Buckingham Palace Guiding Company was formed.

Elizabeth II, a member of the Scouts Apic / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES

The young Elizabeth II during the Second World War

Princess Elizabeth experienced the Second World War from 1939 to 1945 and the bombing of British territory, where she and her sister remained at the request of their mother, the Queen. The whole country was mobilized. In 1940, at the age of 14, the Princess organized a Christmas pantomime in support of the Queen's Wool Fund, to buy wool to make military clothing for the soldiers.

Elizabeth was awarded various military ranks Bettmann / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES

During the Second World War, Elizabeth was awarded various military ranks. In 1942, at the age of 15, she was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards. In February 1945, she became a second lieutenant (honorary guard) in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After training in driving and mechanics, she was made an honorary captain in the same year.

Elizabeth II's early romance with Philip Mountbatten

Elizabeth and Philip, her eighth cousin, met first in 1934 and again in 1937. But it was in 1939, when they met again at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, that the Princess fell in love with the Duke of Edinburgh. She was then only 13 and he was 18.

They began a letter-writing relationship before officially announcing their engagement on 9 July 1947. Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey, aged 21 and 26 respectively.

Elizabeth II's romance with Philip Mountbatten API / Contributeur GETTY_IMAGES

At the age of 25, in 1952, Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Consort Philip.

This article was translated from Oh!MyMag FR.

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