Queen Elizabeth II
On February 6th, 1952, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended the British throne upon the death of her father, George VI, and was coronated 16 months later on June 2nd, 1953. For 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has served as the British Head of State, ruling over 12 different prime ministers (one served twice), and she is head of the 54 members of the Commonwealth of Nations. She is also the second longest reining British monarch, behind Queen Victoria.
Elizabeth was only 25 when she ascended. In her lifetime, she has given birth to four children, has eight grandchildren, and currently has two grandchildren. She has witnessed the first man in space and the first moon landing, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon, resignation of Richard Nixon, and the release of Nelson Mandela. In 1978 the first test-tube baby was born and in 1996 Dolly the sheep was the first successfully cloned mammal. She has been witness to the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters. She saw the end of the Cold War and fall of the Berlin Wall, and watched with the world the Tiananmen Square protests. Beyond all that, Elizabeth has seen countless conflicts around the world, including World War II, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the Falklands War, and the Gulf and Iraq Wars, to name just a few.
Through the deaths of her sister and mother and the marriages and divorces of her children, Elizabeth has served as Queen with dignity and grace. Not exactly politician nor celebrity, the British royalty occupies a unique space within the hearts and minds of the British public, and for nearly every day of her life, Elizabeth has been in the spotlight. Often pointed out as a example, the Queen has largely lived her life as a role model for young girls and women. She is polite and dignified, and if perhaps considered a bit stuffy, Elizabeth must walk a very fine line to represent her country and people in the best manner possible.
And yet her 86 years are not all trapped in the past. Her coronation was the first to be televised (including experimental 3-D technology), despite the misgivings of then Prime Minister Winston Churchill. And more recently, the royal family have a website, a Twitter and Facebook page, and a YouTube channel. In addition, the Queen has at least one iPod, a gift from President Obama in 2009 (it is believed she had previously purchased one in 2005), and is reported to have--and enjoy--a Nintendo Wii.
For more on the Queen and her Diamond Jubilee, visit the official Diamond Jubilee website, which includes a timeline of events that have occurred during her lifetime.
Girl Museum Inc.