Queen Elizabeth’s Life Is Full Of Tragedy Which She Managed To Handle Surprisingly Well
For royals, life is not always a bed of roses, and Queen Elizabeth II is living proof. You might think that, as a monarch, she has lived all her years at ease, but the truth is that Her Majesty has dealt with more hard circumstances than any average person. Let's go over these moments in the life of the longest-reigning ruler in the UK and find out everything she has gone through.
Not an easy road to the throne of Britain
Perhaps, you believe that all kings and queen have their places on the throne reserved since they are born. While this is true in many instances, that was not Elizabeth II's case. In fact, she was never meant to be a queen in the first place, so her way to the throne was pretty complicated.
She was born on April 21, 1926, to George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Some years after her birth, her uncle, the Prince of Wales, ascended to the throne becoming King Edward VIII. As a monarch, everyone expected him to marry a fitting woman who could bear heirs.
However, he was madly in love with American divorcée Wallis Simpson, a woman he could never be with while being a king. With that scenario, Queen Mary realized that Princess Elizabeth II of York might be the most suitable person to sit on the throne.
In 1938, Edward VIII abdicated the throne so he could marry his beloved Wallis. Therefore, Elizabeth II's father, George VI, became king, turning Elizabeth in the first in line to the throne at the age of 10. Years after, George VI's health deteriorated, leading to his death and finally leaving the throne so Elizabeth could be Queen.
Growing up in war
Lilibet's childhood, as her close friends call her, was one riddled with the horror of World War II. She was only 13 years old when her country decided to join the war. The royal family refused to leave the Palace and did not succumb to the pressures of sending the princesses to Canada despite having bombs exploding around the city.
But the Daily Telegraph explained the consequences of that decision stating that the Buckingham Palace was hit by one bomb while Elizabeth and her young sister, Margaret, were housed in there. After the incident, the princesses were sent to Windsor Castle in 1940.
This determination served two purposes: to protect the girls and to encourage the country in times of great outbursts and fear. If the royal family was still keeping the heir to the throne in England, it meant the country was safe enough for the rest of Britons.
But staying in England resulted in a great ordeal for the young royals. Air raid sirens tended to rouse them from bed in the middle of the night. And that was when they were not inside bomb shelters for hours as tons of bombs were dropped in Windsor's grounds.
Despite the horror and distress that those years meant for the future monarch, a 14-year-old Elizabeth resolved to give a speech to England and North America via radio discussing her situation, showing sympathy for those who were separated from their families and encouraging the countries to keep holding on. What a great way to display courage and patriotism!
A heavy burden for a teenager
Do you remember your responsibilities around the house before you turned eighteen? Quite easy, right? Well, not when your father is the Sovereign of England. In 1942, when Elizabeth was only 16, the king appointed her as an honorary colonel in the 500 Grenadier Guards, a regiment of the Royal Army.
Two years later, before turning eighteen, George VI named her a member of the Privy Council and the Council of State, granting her the power to act on his behalf in his absence. And most of us struggle with the driver's license at that age! But those responsibilities were not enough for Elizabeth.
She wanted to do something more for her country as the war came to an end, and that was when she decided to serve in it as a mechanic. Yes! The princess and future Queen served as a trainee ambulance driver, learning how to change a tire, repair engines, and drive trucks.
Not a wealthy beau
Everyone expects princesses to marry men that can live up to them, but Elizabeth set her sights at the age of 13 on a handsome yet impoverished prince: Philip of Greece. As a matter of fact, they are cousins, so seeing each other at weddings and royal engagements was pretty usual for them.
Given a 5-year difference between the lovebirds, love did not flourish until the princess and first in line to the throne was 17 and Philip was 22. Sadly, their romance did not go down well with the public. Why? Philip might have been Prince of Greece, but he was penniless.
Moreover, his mother ended up in a sanitarium while his family was exiled from their homeland. Also, Philip had German roots, which was not good in those times of war. Despite the opposition, the lovebirds tied the knot on November 20, 1947, but things were not easy for Elizabeth, not even for her big day.
It turns out that when she got married, Britain was in great austerity following the end of World War II, and the royal family did not have enough money for the bride's wedding dress. Therefore, Elizabeth had to save ration coupons to purchase the fabric for her gown. Can you believe that?
A coronation followed by quandaries
When George VI's health started to deteriorate, Elizabeth began to stand in for him on official engagements, and while she was on one around Australia and New Zealand with Philip, the word of her father's death arrived. They had stopped in Kenya where she received the sad news.
On June 2, 1953, Elizabeth II ascended to the throne, becoming the sixth female monarch in history. No sooner had she received her new title of Queen than problems started knocking at her door. The first one came from her own sister, Margaret, who was in love with a divorced man from the late king's royal staff.
It was up to Elizabeth to please her little sis or deny consent, and she went for the latter. In the 50s, her monarchy faced another predicament when she was criticized for not wresting control of the Suez Canal from the Egyptians and for appointing Harold MacMillan as prime minister.
Trips, trips, and more trips
According to The Telegraph, traveling has been present in the Queen's life since the very beginning, which is only a sign of her sovereignty not only in the UK but also in the seven independent Commonwealth countries. To get to the numbers, in the 70s, the ruler visited 48 countries in 73 trips.
By 1977, Her Royal Highness had traveled more than 56,000 miles, and now in her 90s, she has increased that number to more than 1,032,513 miles, which is the equivalent to 42 trips around the world. Can you imagine if she accumulated miles with an airline?
1992 was by no means easy for the blue-blood family in the UK concerning love lives. Although Elizabeth and Philip's marriage was as solid as a rock, their children were struggling in that department. First, we have Prince Charles separating from Princess Diana after a 14-year marriage and two children.
Prince Andrew faced a similar fate with his wife, Sarah Ferguson. And to make matters even worse, Princess Anne, the monarch's only daughter, divorced from Captain Mark Phillips. In November, the Queen gave a speech that only confirmed how tough that year had been, stating:
"1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an 'Annus Horribilis.' I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so."
There is no doubt that Elizabeth II's life as Queen has been one touched by misery, war, and disgrace, but maybe that is what adds so much value and honor to it. She has been a great monarch indeed, one that has shown us how human she is. If you enjoyed this article, share it with other fellow followers of the British royal family. Until next time!