So, she’s done it – Queen Elizabeth II has overtaken her ancestor Victoria and become the longest reigning monarch in UK history, clocking in an astonishing 63 years, 7 months and 2 days. We must say it’s pretty impressive, whether you’re a reformist republican or a staunch royalist, not to mention a perfect time to look back on Lilibet’s (her personal nickname) own first years, and see what’s changed and what has stayed the same…
House and Home
As you’ll no doubt recall from the Oscar-winning triumph The King’s Speech, Elizabeth grew up in Mayfair at 145 Piccadilly, a stunning townhouse with a basement kitchen and a communal garden. She also spent time at White Lodge in Richmond Park, and at her famous miniature house Y Bwthyn Bach, a scaled-down replica of a thatched cottage kept at Windsor Palace.
Oh how times have changed…World War 2 saw Elizabeth and Margaret’s childhood home destroyed during the Blitz, and the site is now occupied by the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane branch. (Colin, Helena and Geoffrey acted in a mixture of sets and stand-in locations during The King’s Speech – devastating we know.) White Lodge meanwhile now houses The Royal Ballet School, but thankfully the Queen’s miniature Welsh cottage is still standing and was recently renovated by her granddaughter Princess Eugenie.
A young Elizabeth with her loving mother and father.
Shocking as it seems now, nobody ever expected Elizabeth to become queen, which allowed her to enjoy all the privileges of a royal childhood without any of the accompanying pressures. Even so, staff and onlookers alike consistently described her as a sensible, knowledgeable little girl who would clearly go on to make an excellent monarch.
She was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in reference to her female ancestors, a tradition continued to this day, with her most recent great-granddaughter Charlotte being given the middle names Elizabeth and Diana. The Queen was also educated at home with Margaret by their governess – though perhaps the royals learnt their lesson when she published a tell-all in 1950 and was promptly excommunicated; all subsequent generations have gone to somewhat-more-normal private schools.
In The Dogs’ House
We personally favour the corgis’ star turn in the James Bond introduction to the Olympic Games.
If there’s one thing that’s stayed the same throughout the Queen’s life, it’s her love of dogs. Her father bought their first corgi Dookie in 1933, and she has since owned more than 30 during her lifetime – many of them descendants of a little lady called Susan, who was given to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday. They’re still just as adorable!
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