Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II
by William H. Benson
February 5, 2020
After George VI, King of England, passed away on Feb. 6, 1952, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, then just 25, became Queen Elizabeth II on that day, although her coronation at Westminster Abbey did not occur for another 16 months, not until June 2, 1953.
As of this week, Elizabeth has completed 68 years as Queen, and she will turn 94 on April 21, 2020.
On Sept. 9, 2015, Elizabeth became the longest reigning monarch ever, when she surpassed Queen Victoria’s total number of days on the throne. On February 6, 2017, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee, completing 65 years as the royal head of state.
On Nov. 20, 1947, when Elizabeth was just 21, she married Prince Philip Mountbatten. The royal couple celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary last November. He is now 98. In 2017, he retired from active royal duties and lives a quiet life at the family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
With Philip, Elizabeth produced four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
The three oldest married, but then later divorced, Charles from Lady Diana, Anne from Mark Phillips, and Andrew from Sarah Ferguson. Edward though still remains married to his wife, Sophie.
Charles then remarried Camilla, Anne remarried Timothy Laurence, but Andrew remains single, although he and Sarah Ferguson share a residence at the family’s Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Prince Charles, heir apparent to the throne, turned 71 last November.
Each of the Queen’s four children produced two children of their own. Charles and Lady Diana had William and Harry. Anne and Mark Phillips had Peter and Zara Phillips. Andrew and Sarah Ferguson had two girls, Beatrice and Eugenie, and Edward and Sophie had Louise and James.
Thus, the Queen has eight grandchildren, four boys and four girls. Of those eight, Charles’ eldest son, William, is second in the line of succession to Great Britain’s throne. Lady Diana gave birth to William on June 21, 1982. He was 15 on Aug. 31, 1997, the day his mother died in a tragic car crash in Paris, France, when fleeing the paparazzi. He is now 37.
William met Catherine Middleton, or Kate, when both attended the University of St. Andrews, in St. Andrews, Scotland, fifty miles north of Edinburgh and the birthplace of golf. They began dating in 2003, and they married on April 29, 2011, also at Westminster Abbey.
Kate gave birth to Prince George, her firstborn son, on July 22, 2013. Now 6 ½, he is third in the line of succession to the throne, and would claim the title King George VII should he take the throne. Kate also gave birth to Princess Charlotte on May 2, 2015, and to Prince Louis on April 23, 2018.
Charles’ second son, Harry, was born on Sept. 15, 1984, and he was 13 when his mother, Lady Diana, was killed. Harry is now 35. He married Meghan Markle, a divorced bi-racial American actress, on May 19, 2018, and she gave birth to a baby boy, Archie Harrison, on May 6, 2019.
Beginning in Nov. of 2019, Harry and Meghan took a six-week break from royal duties, and celebrated Christmas at a luxurious waterfront mansion on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada, rather than with the Queen and her extended family in the UK.
Then, on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, Harry announced that he and Meghan will “step away from ‘senior’ royal roles and will work toward becoming financially independent. They will now divide their time between Britain and North America.”
The couple agreed to surrender their “Her Royal Highness” titles when they would represent the Queen, although they will retain their designations as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. They also agreed that when in the UK, they will reside in their home, Frogmore Cottage, but they want to repay the £2.4 million of public funds spent to refurbish the Cottage on their behalf.
Reporters have now confirmed that the couple want to purchase a home in Los Angeles, California, Meghan’s hometown, and live there this summer. Meghan may want to return to acting soon.
Then, on Nov. 20, 2019, Prince Andrew, the Queen’s second son, withdrew from his public duties because of intense negative reaction following a television interview on the BBC that focused on his connection with the convicted sex offender, the American Jeffrey Epstein.
The scandal forced the Queen to ask Andrew to move his private office out of Buckingham Palace.
Then, on Friday, Jan. 31, the UK withdrew from the European Union. After months of debate, Brexit finally happened. Who knows what will occur in the weeks and months ahead?
A country and a royal family that takes the Mountbatten-Windsor family name. Royalty does not exempt a family from divorces, a tragic death, a dissatisfied daughter-in-law, or a scandal.