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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Ellie Abraham and Laura Hampson

Queen Elizabeth II: A timeline and history of Her Majesty’s life

Oli Scarff/Getty

Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace has announced.

She died at Balmoral Castle on Thursday 8 September 2022 after reigning for 70 years.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace confirmed: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.’’

As the monarch of the United Kingdom, and 15 Commonwealth realms, Queen Elizabeth lived a life of service after succeeding to the throne in 1952 at the age of 25, following the death of her father, King George VI.

Below, The Independent looks back on the life of the Queen, from being born into the royal family to becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history.

21 April 1926

Queen Elizabeth II is born via caesarean section at the Mayfair home of her mother’s parents. She is named Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary and is the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

29 May 1926

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary is christened in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace. She is named after her mother, with her two middle names representing her paternal great-grandmothers.

Elizabeth and younger sister Margaret in 1933 (AFP/Getty)

21 August 1930

The Princess’s younger sister, Princess Margaret Rose, is born.


When Elizabeth was seven years old, her father brought home her first corgi, Dookie.

Summer 1934

Elizabeth meets her future husband, Philip Mountbatten, for the first time at the wedding of one of his cousins.


Elizabeth’s younger years are spent between her family’s townhouse in Piccadilly and their home in Richmond Park. In 1936, the family took the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their country home.

20 January 1936

Her grandfather, King George V, dies and her father’s older brother Edward VIII ascends to the throne.

11 December 1936

After ruling for less than a year, King Edward VIII is the first British monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. Elizabeth’s father, the Duke of York, becomes King George VI.

The coronation of King George VI in 1937; Elizabeth, aged 10, became the heir apparent to the throne (Getty)

July 1939

Elizabeth meets Philip again at a royal family visit at Dartmouth. Lord Mountbatten asks Philip to play her escort and they form a romance.

21 April 1942

On her 16th birthday, the princess carries out her first official public royal engagement, inspecting soldiers of the Grenadier Guards.


When Princess Elizabeth turns 18, she insists on joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army, where she trains as a mechanic.

The official announcement of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten's engagement in 1947 (Getty)

July 1946

The Princess and Philip become secretly engaged to be married, but the official announcement is not made until 9 July 1947.

20 November 1947

Elizabeth and Philip are married at a ceremony in Westminster Abbey. The king gives Philip the title the Duke of Edinburgh.


Princess Elizabeth attends her first royal tour abroad and celebrates her 21st birthday in South Africa.

14 November 1948

At 22, Princess Elizabeth gives birth to the couple’s first child, Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, at Buckingham Palace.

Left to right, Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and the Queen in 1950 (Getty)

1949 to 1951

Elizabeth lives in Malta where her husband, Prince Philip, was stationed as a Royal Navy officer. She divides her time between the island and London, where Prince Charles stays with his grandparents.

15 August 1950

The couple’s second child, Princess Anne, is born at Clarence House.

6 February 1952

While in Kenya, Elizabeth is awoken by Prince Philip who informs her that her father King George VI has died at Sandringham. She ascends to the throne at the age of 25.

2 June 1953

At her coronation at Westminster Abbey, she is officially crowned Queen Elizabeth II.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at the monarch’s coronation in 1953 (Getty)

19 February 1960

The couple’s third child, Prince Andrew, is born at Buckingham Palace.

10 March 1964

Their fourth child, Prince Edward, is born at Buckingham Palace.

2 June 1977

The Queen celebrates her silver jubilee, marking 25 years on the throne.

21 April 1986

Her Majesty The Queen turns 60 years old.

The Queen walking her corgis in 1980 (Getty)

20 November 1992

A fire destroys part of the Queen’s home at Windsor Castle, ripping through 115 rooms including nine State rooms.

5 September 1997

The Queen speaks to crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace and views the coffin of Princess Diana at St James’s Palace, following her death. It comes after criticism of the family’s response to Diana’s sudden death.

20 November, 1997

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

9 February 2002

Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, dies after a long illness.

The Queen with her mother in 2000 (Getty)

30 March 2002

The Queen Mother dies just weeks after Margaret at the age of 101.

7 June 2002

The Queen reaches her golden jubilee after 50 years on the throne.

21 April 2006

The monarch celebrates her 80th birthday.

17 May 2011

The Independent’s front cover from 18 May 2011, as the Queen became the first monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland in 100 years (The Independent)

The Queen becomes the first monarch to make an official state visit to the Republic of Ireland in 100 years.

4 June, 2012

The Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations to mark 60 years on the throne take place outside Buckingham Palace.

Prince Philip, the Queen and Prince Charles at the Braemar Gathering in 2012 (Getty)

9 September 2015

Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, after ruling for over 23,226 days. She surpasses her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign.

21 April 2016

The Queen turns 90 years old.

9 January 2021

Both the Queen and Prince Philip receive their first coronavirus vaccines at Windsor Castle.

9 April 2021

The Queen’s husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, dies at Windsor Castle.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in 2007 (Fiona Hanson/AFP/Getty)

17 April 2021

The Queen attends the funeral of her husband and sits on her own during the service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, owing to Covid restrictions.

6 February 2022

The Queen marks 70 years on the throne, and prepares to celebrate her platinum jubilee in June. Later this month, she tests positive for Covid and undertakes mostly virtual engagements.

29 March 2022

The Queen attends Prince Philip’s memorial at Westminster Abbey along with other members of the royal family.

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