Elizabeth II is the older daughter of King George VI of Great Britain. She was born 21 April 1926. When her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 and her father became king, Elizabeth became the heir to the throne. She was privately educated and enjoyed amateur drama and horseback riding. During World War II she drove trucks and heavy cargo vehicles in an auxiliary service for the military (her father would not let her train as a nurse, her first choice to serve in the war).

After the war, Elizabeth went with her parents on tours of the Commonwealth countries, and eventually became engaged to Philip Mountbatten, her third cousin. Philip was a prince of Greece and Denmark but had served in the English Royal Navy and become a naturalized citizen of Britain in February 1947. He and Elizabeth were married in November 1947. They have four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

In February 1952, George VI died and Elizabeth found that she was now queen while she was touring Africa. Hers was the first coronation to be broadcast on television (at her own request). Since then, she and the rest of the royal family have visited nearly every part of Great Britain and the Commonwealth as well as other parts of the world. Elizabeth has tried to keep up the dignity of the monarchy (sometimes despite her descendants) while still keeping in touch with the people of her country. At http://www.royal.gov.uk/family/hmqueen.htm, it says she entertains 48,000 people per year at garden parties and other royal functions, and in 1997 made 343 public appearances.