Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom

Biographical information

Full nameElizabeth Alexandra Mary•of Windsor
Used nameElizabeth II, Queen•of the United Kingdom
Born21 April 1926 in Mayfair, England (GBR)
Died8 September 2022 in Balmoral Castle, Scotland (GBR)
Title(s)Her Majesty the Queen
NOC Great Britain


Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II was the longest reigning United Kingdom monarch, and one of the world’s longest reigning. She acceded to the throne at the age of 25 in February 1952 and reigned for 70 years 214 days. Only Louis XIV of France reigned longer.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, known as Lilibet to her family and close friends, was born in 1926 at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, the home of her maternal Scottish grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. She was one of two daughters born to the future King George VI, who had acceded to the throne when Elizabeth was 10-years-old. The two Princesses were home schooled and during World War II were evacuated to Windsor. At the age of 18, Elizabeth did her National Service with the Auxiliary Transport Corps where she qualified as a driver.

It was during a Royal visit to Kenya in 1952 that her father died and Princess Elizabeth returned home to England as Queen. Her Coronation took place the following year, on 2 June 1953, and was part of a momentous week in Britain. Firstly, news had arrived that Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing had conquered Mount Everest days before the Coronation, which was the first to be broadcast entirely on television, with dozens of people huddled around a single small-screen television to watch the event, many of the sets being bought only days earlier for the purpose of watching the pageant.

Just four days after the Coronation, the Queen’s horse Aureole was one of the favourites for the Epsom Derby and it would have been a fitting end to the week had he won. Sadly, he was beaten into second place by Pinza, ridden by Gordon Richards, who had been created a “Sir” in the Queen’s Coronation Honours. The nation was divided between the Queen’s horse winning, or Sir Gordon winning his first Derby in 27 attempts. In reality, the Queen was probably delighted at Sir Gordon’s victory.

Her Highness had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the “Sport of Kings” and, in addition to owning race horses, she also bred them. She had many victories as an owner, and probably her most famous was in 2013 when the filly Estimate won the prestigious Ascot Gold Cup. It was one occasion when she allowed her true emotions to come to the fore as she could not control her delight as Estimate crossed the winning line.

Equestrianism ran through the Queen’s family. Her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was a keen carriage driver, and was responsible for popularising the sport. When he died, he bequeathed his favourite carriage to his granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of his youngest son Prince Edward, and she carried on his carriage-driving tradition.

The Queen’s eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, played polo, as did his sons William and Harry. Her daughter Princess Anne, and Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips, were both Olympic three-day eventers, with Zara winning a team silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics. To maintain the sporting connection, Zara married England rugby international Mike Tindall in 2011. The Queen created her own piece of sporting history in 2012 when she became the first person to open two Summer Olympics, having opened the Montréal Games in 1976.

A mother to four children, Queen Elizabeth also had eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. She was the head of state to 14 Commonwealth countries at the time of her death and regarded as their leader by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. She went on some pioneering visits by a reigning UK monarch. She was the first to visit China and Saudi Arabia, was the first to meet the Pope in the Vatican, and the first to enter a mosque. Her visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 was also a historic one following the Good Friday agreement.

Her Majesty married Philip Mountbatten in 1947. He passed away in 2021 after 73 years of marriage. His passing was during the COVID pandemic, and the picture of the Queen dressed all in black and sat all alone in St. Georges Chapel, Windsor, without a member of her household or family nearby to comfort her, was a poignant end to their long time together. Her Majesty outlived her beloved Philip by 17 months, but ill-health got the better of her shortly after her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, and on 8 September, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, but known the world over as Queen Elizabeth, passed away with her close family at her bedside at her beloved Balmoral Castle.

Of all the words spoken after her passing, those of French President Emmanuel Macron, were probably the most significant of them all, when he said to the people of the United Kingdom: “To you, she was your Queen. To us, she was The Queen.”

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1976 Summer Olympics Officially opened the Games GBR Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom
2012 Summer Olympics Officially opened the Games GBR Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom

Olympic family relations