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The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms. The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was horn in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25, and has reigned through more than five decades of enormous social change and development. The Queen is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and has four children and eight grandchildren.


The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on 20 November 2011.

Shortly after the Royal Family returned from South Africa in 1947, the Princess’s engagement to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was announced.

The couple, who had known each other for many years, were married in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947. The event was fairly simple, as Britain was still recovering from the war, and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress, like any other young bride. They spent their honeymoon at Broadlands, Hampshire, the home of Lord Mountbatten, and at Birkhall, Balmoral.

Lieutenant Mountbatten, now His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-great- grandson of Queen Victoria. The Queen has paid public tribute to her husband on several occasions, recalling his loyal support and service to the country.

They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, now The Princess Royal, two years later.

After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, their third child, Prince Andrew, arrived in 1960 and the fourth, Prince Edward, in 1964. Prince Andrew and

Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.

Their grandchildren are Peter and Zara Phillips (b. 1977 and 1981); Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales (b. 1982 and 1984); Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York (b. 1988 and 1990); and The Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn (b.2003 and 2007), children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Their first great-grandchild, Miss Savannah Phillips, the daughter of Peter and Autumn Phillips, was born in 2010.

Family life has been an essential support to The Queen throughout her reign. The family usually spends Christmas together at Sandringham in Norfolk, attending church on Christmas Day.

And in the summer of2006, The Queen celebrated her 80th birthday by taking a cruise with all her family through the Western Isles of Scotland.

The queen’s working day

The Queen has many different duties to perform every day.

Some are public duties, such as ceremonies, receptions and visits within the United Kingdom or abroad.

Other duties are carried out away from the cameras, but they are no less important. These include reading letters from the public, official papers and briefing notes; audiences with political ministers or ambassadors; and meetings with her Private Secretaries to discuss daily business and her future diary plans.

Even when she is away from London, in residence at Balmoral or Sandringham, she receives official papers nearly every day of every year and remains fully briefed on matters affecting her realms.

In front of the camera or away from it, The Queen’s duties go on, and no two days in her life are ever the same.

An important part of the work of The Queen is to support and encourage public and voluntary service.

One of the ways in which Her Majesty does this is through involvement with charities and other organisations.

The Queen has over 600 patronages.

These cover every area of the charity and voluntary sector, from opportunities for young people, preservation of wildlife and the environment.

Involvement with these organisations helps to recognise their achievements, and helps to recognise the contributions of many different sectors of public life.