Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Elizabeth II from Philip's Encyclopedia

Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952- ), daughter and successor of George VI. Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in 1947, and the couple had four children, Charles (Prince of Wales), Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her coronation (June 2, 1953) was the first to be televised. Elizabeth travels extensively, especially in the Commonwealth. Expanded media coverage demystified the monarchy and encouraged criticism of her personal wealth (2001 est. £1.1 billion), and the behaviour of the younger royals. In 1993, she voluntarily agreed to pay income tax. The marriage failures of her children, particular that of Charles to Diana, Princess of Wales, intensified public criticism. In 2002 Elizabeth celebrated her Golden Jubilee.


Summary Article: Elizabeth II, queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1926–, queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952–), elder daughter and successor of George VI, and Britain's longest reigning monarch. At age 18 she was made a State Counsellor, a confidante of the king. During World War II she trained as a junior subaltern (second lieutenant) in the women's services. On Nov. 20, 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, duke of Edinburgh (see Edinburgh, Prince Philip Mountbatten, duke of). They were in Kenya (en route for a tour of Australia and New Zealand) when the king died (Feb. 6, 1952) and Elizabeth succeeded to the throne. Her coronation, on June 2, 1953, was the first to be televised. She is also head of state in a number of former British possessions and is head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

An extremely popular queen, Elizabeth has traveled more extensively than any previous British monarch. Throughout her reign, expanded media coverage has brought the monarchy closer to the British people. Although the queen, who in public is formal and unemotional, continues to be greatly admired and respected, since the mid-1980s a barrage of tabloid reports about her children and their spouses has tarnished the public image of the royal family. In 1992 she celebrated her 40th year on the throne, but it was also a year in which part of Windsor Castle suffered a devastating fire; her son Prince Andrew (b. 1960) separated from his wife, the former Sarah Ferguson (they were divorced in 1996); her daughter, Princess Anne, divorced; and her son and heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Princess Diana separated (they were divorced in 1996). Elizabeth's youngest son is Prince Edward (b. 1964). In 1992 Elizabeth, the wealthiest woman in England, agreed to pay income tax for the first time. Although she was widely criticized for her seeming insensitivity in the days following Princess Diana's death (1997), she had regained the public's esteem by the time of her golden jubilee, less than five years later.

  • E. Longford (1984), S. Bradford (1996), B. Pimlott (1997), and S. B. Smith (2012).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Articles


Full text Article Elizabeth II b. 1926
Reader's Guide to British History

Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Davies Nicholas , Elizabeth: Behind Palace Doors , Edinburgh : Mainstream , 2000 ...

Full text Article Elizabeth II (1926 - )
A Dictionary of Contemporary History - 1945 to the present

The elder daughter of the Duke of York (who became King George VI when his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936), she was...

Full text Article Elizabeth II
Philip's Encyclopedia

1926- Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (1952- ), daughter and successor of George VI . Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten in...

See more from Credo