Queen Elizabeth II – Timeline


17 July: The House of Windsor (previously the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) is created by Royal Proclamation


18 January: Prince Albert (Bertie), the Duke of York, announces his engagement to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore

26 April: Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth are married in Westminster Abbey, the first senior royal to do so since 1382


21 April: Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor is born at 2.40 a.m. at her parent’s home in 17 Bruton Street

29 May: The young princess is christened. She cries throughout the ceremony


21 August: Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret Rose, is born


20 January: George V (‘Grandpa England’) dies. Edward VIII becomes king

10 December: Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication

11 December: Bertie, the Duke of York, is formally proclaimed King George VI. Princess Elizabeth is now heiress presumptive


12 May: Coronation of George VI at Westminster Abbey


21 April: Princess Elizabeth celebrates her thirteenth birthday, and soon begins a demanding course of study under the Vice-Provost of Eton College

22 July: Princes Elizabeth meets and falls in love with Cadet Captain Philip of Greece at the Royal Dartmouth Naval College

3 September: Britain declares war on Germany


4 March: Princess Elizabeth joins the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS)

8 May: VE Day


10 July: Buckingham Palace officially announces the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten

20 November: Elizabeth marries Philip (now known as the Duke of Edinburgh) at Westminster Abbey


14 November: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is born


15 August: Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, is born

31 January: Elizabeth and Philip leave for a tour of East Africa, Australia and New Zealand


6 February: George VI (pictured) dies and Elizabeth II succeeds to the throne

15 February: Funeral of George VI at St George’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey

7 April: Proclamation issued declaring that the family’s dynastic surname would remain ‘Windsor’


2 June: Coronation of Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey

24 November: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh embark on a tour of the Commonwealth


15 May: The royal couple return to England, after six months abroad


31 October: Princess Margaret releases a statement confirming that she will not marry Group Captain Peter Townsend


19 February: Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, is born


10 March: Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, is born


21 June: First broadcast of the Royal Family documentary


7 June: The queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrates her twenty-five years on the throne


27 August: Lord Louis Mountbatten is killed by an IRA bomb off the coast of Sligo in the west of Ireland


24 February: Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, announces his engagement to Lady Diana Spencer

29 July: Charles and Diana marry in St Paul’s Cathedral


21 June: Diana gives birth to Prince William


15 September: Diana gives birth to Prince Harry


7 June: The first instalment of the serialisation of Andrew Motion’s book, Diana: Her True Story, appears in the The Sunday Times

20 November: Windsor Castle is partly destroyed by fire

9 December:    Prime Minister John Major announces in the House of Commons that Charles and Diana are to separate


28 August: Charles and Diana’s marriage is dissolved in the High Court


31 August: Diana dies in a car crash in Paris


9 Feb: Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret, dies

30 March: Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother dies

30 April: Elizabeth officially launches her Golden Jubilee celebrations with a speech to both houses of parliament


9 Apr: Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, marries his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall in the town of Windsor. Despite initial opposition to the relationship, the Queen has since come to accept her new daughter-in-law, and was in attendance at the service of blessing held for the couple at St George’s Chapel.


21 April: Elizabeth celebrates her eightieth birthday.


29 April: Prince William, Elizabeth’s grandson and second in line to the throne, marries Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey.


6 Feb: The 60th anniversary of the death of George VI and of Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne.

2 – 5 Jun: Various events take place throughout the United Kingdom to celebrate Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.

Read about the Queen in The Queen: History In An Hour by Sinead Fitzgibbon, published by Harper Press and available in various digital formats.

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