Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926 in London, England. Her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York, was the second son of King George V. Her mother, the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later called the Queen Mother), was the daughter of a Scottish earl. Princess Elizabeth was their first child. Her only sibling, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930.
In 1936, when Elizabeth was nine years old, her grandfather George V died and her father's older brother became King Edward VIII. But her uncle, who was childless, abdicated his throne after a reign of just 327 days. Suddenly Elizabeth's father was King George VI.
During the Second World War, the king sent his daughters to live at Windsor Castle, which was safer than Buckingham Palace. In 1945, her father let her join the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She learned to drive and repair heavy vehicles. Soon after she finished her training, the war ended.
In 1947, Princess Elizabeth went on her first official overseas visit, accompanying her parents and sister to South Africa. During the trip, she turned 21 and made a radio broadcast in which she pledged to dedicate her life to the people of the Commonwealth.
Also 1947, it was announced that Princess Elizabeth was engaged to her cousin Prince Philip of Greece, who was five years her senior and a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy. Philip gave up his Greek citizenship and title, becoming a British subject and assuming the surname Mountbatten. Before the wedding, Elizabeth's father gave British titles to Philip, including Duke of Edinburgh. The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. Philip continued his career in the navy, rising to the rank of commander.
Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on November 14, 1948. Her only daughter, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.
On February 6, 1952, while Princess Elizabeth and her husband were visiting Kenya, King George VI died of lung cancer. Twenty-six-year old Elizabeth was now the queen. The coronation took place on June 2, 1953 and was broadcast to television and radio audiences around the world. The Duke of Edinburgh gave up his active naval career after Elizabeth became queen. In 1957, she granted him the title Prince of the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip's third child, Prince Andrew, was in 1960. Their last child, Prince Edward, was born in 1964. Elizabeth and Philip were married for more than 73 years, until his death in 2021 at the age of nearly 100.
In 2022, Queen Elizabeth marks her Platinum Jubilee, 70 years on the throne. She is the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and also one of the longest-reigning monarchs in world history.
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Platinum Jubilee Books
Queen of Our Times: The Life of Queen Elizabeth II by Robert Hardman. This biography distills Elizabeth's complex life into a study of dynastic survival and renewal.
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II by Brian Hoey. A Platinum Jubilee celebration of the queen, detailing the highlights and challenges of her 70-year reign.
Queen Elizabeth II: An Oral History by Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald Strober. Features detailed interviews from royal friends, staff, and others.
Elizabeth II: Princess, Queen, Icon by Alexandra Shulman. The most interesting and important of the nearly 1,000 portraits of Queen Elizabeth II in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
A Queen for All Seasons: A Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II on Her Platinum Jubilee edited by Joanna Lumley. Insights and snapshots of the Queen during key moments of her 70-year reign.
The Queen: 70 Years of Majestic Style by Bethan Holt. How Queen Elizabeth II has deployed fashion as a means to communicate with the public.
The Queen: 70 Glorious Years by Royal Collection Trust. This official publication offers photographs from the reign of Elizabeth II, along with quotations from her speeches. Published in 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II: Her 70 Year Reign by James Owen. Articles and photos from British newspaper The Times, published to commemorate the queen's Platinum Jubilee.
Monarch: The Life and Reign of Elizabeth II by Robert Lacey. A respectful look at Her Majesty's life.
Lilibet: An Intimate Portrait of Elizabeth II by Carrolly Erickson. This biography tells the Queen's story from her point of view, showing us a small, shy woman with a sly sense of humor.
Queen Elizabeth II by Victoria Arbiter. A brief biography of the monarch who vowed to dedicate her life to service and duty on behalf of her country.
The Queen by Matthew Dennison. This biography looks at how Elizabeth II is viewed as a champion of British values, such as service, duty, and stoicism.
Elizabeth: The Queen and the Crown by Sarah Gristwood. A biography of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen: The Life and Times of Elizabeth II by Catherine Ryan. A biography of one of the most famous women of modern times.
The Last Queen: How Queen Elizabeth II Saved the Monarchy by Clive Irving. This biography follows Elizabeth's struggle to preserve the fragile institution of monachy in a changing world.
Queen Elizabeth II by Rod Green. The story of the queen, the dramatic world events she's witnessed, and the people she's encountered. From the Compact Guide series.
The Queen & Her Family by Halima Sadat. A short guide to the life and family of Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth: Reigning in Style by Jane Eastoe. In the 1950s and 1960s Elizabeth II was a style icon, copied and adored. This is a detailed sartorial portrait of the Queen, featuring photographs, sketches, and mood boards.
Our Rainbow Queen by Sali Hughes. A photographic journey through Queen Elizabeth II's ten decades of color-blocked style.
Netflix's "The Crown"
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 1 by Robert Lacey. The official companion to the Netflix drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Includes behind-the-scenes photos.
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 2 by Robert Lacey. Companion to the second and third seasons of the Emmy-winning Netflix drama about Queen Elizabeth II, featuring historical background, expert commentary, and images.
The Crown: Truth & Fiction by Hugo Vickers. This short book identifies a number of mistakes in the Netflix series "The Crown" and criticizes its portrayal of Prince Philip as a villain.
Photos and Portraits
Queen Elizabeth II: Portraits by Cecil Beaton by Susanna Brown, illustrated by Cecil Beaton. Explores photographer Beaton's relationship with the royal family.
The Queen: Art and Image by Paul Moorhouse and David Cannadine. Photographs and portraits of Queen Elizabeth II by some of the most important 20th century artists.
Elizabeth II: A Queen for Our Time by Chris Jackson. A royal photographer shares images of Her Majesty's public and private moments, as well as behind-the-shot anecdotes.
The Queen: A Life in Pictures by Victoria Murphy, Town & Country. More than 300 photographs, with commentary from a royal journalist.
The Queen at 95: A Life in Pictures by Jack Harrison. Includes more than 400 images.
Elizabeth: A Celebration in Photographs of the Queen's Life and Reign by Jennie Bond. This book features over 240 photos.
Her Majesty, A Photographic History 1926-Today by Christopher Warwick. Photographs by Cecil Beaton, Lord Snowdon, Annie Leibovitz, and others. Published in 2020.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family: A Glorious Illustrated History by DK Publishing. Photos and timelines illuminate the life and reign of Elizabeth II.
The Queen's People. Featuring 42 portraits by Hugo Rittson Thomas, this hand-bound limited-edition volume captures the pageantry of the modern Royal Court's intricate ceremonial dress and regalia. Includes an essay by the Garter Principal King of Arms.
Her Majesty by TASCHEN. Photographs of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, Lord Snowdon, David Bailey, Annie Leibovitz, and others.
The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words by Ingrid Seward. This book uses Queen Elizabeth II's speeches to provide insight into the character of the woman.
The Wicked Wit of Queen Elizabeth II by Karen Dolby. A collection of some of the Queen's witty, sarcastic, and humorous observations.
The Faith of Queen Elizabeth: The Poise, Grace, and Quiet Strength Behind the Crown by Dudley Delffs. A spiritual biography that examines the Christian faith behind Her Majesty's public service.
Queen Elizabeth II for Dummies by Stewart Ross. An introduction to the queen's life and reign.
Be Like Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II's Guide to Life by Karen Dolby. How to put into practice some of Her Majesty's traits to overcome adversity, find inner strength, and appear calm in times of chaos.
What Would HM the Queen Do? by Mary Killen. This small guide presents Queen Elizabeth II as a role model for navigating life's ups and downs.
Long Live the Queen: 23 Rules for Living From Britain's Longest-Reigning Monarch by Bryan Kozlowski. How Elizabeth II has maintained her health and stamina through her long life.
The Queen: Quotes to Live By by Orange Hippo! A guide to the words of Elizabeth II.
90th Birthday Books
Queen Elizabeth II: A Celebration of Her Majesty's 90th Birthday by Tim Ewart. An illustrated look at the Queen's life and reign, covering everything from royal tours to state visits, family festivities, and grand occasions.
The Queen at 90: A Royal Birthday Souvenir by Gill Knappett. A biography of Queen Elizabeth II in pictures.
Queen Elizabeth at 90: The Story of Britain's Longest Reigning Monarch by the editors of LIFE Magazine. A look at the Queen's record-setting reign, with dozens of photos.
Queen Elizabeth II: Crowns, Horses and Corgis by David Arscott. Looks at the Queen's 63 years on the throne, her personality, and the private tragedies and triumphs of her reign.
Long to Reign Over Us: Official Souvenir Album by Leah Kharibian. Contains a selection of the most famous portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, plus informal photos and pictures of jewelry, dresses, and gifts from visiting heads of state.
Diamond Jubilee Biographies
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. A biography of Queen Elizabeth II, drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents.
The Real Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Andrew Marr. A "surprising and very personal" biography.
The Queen: A Life in Brief by Robert Lacey. Traces the Queen's life through its major stages, with first-hand insights from her friends, relatives, private secretaries and prime ministers. (Published in the UK as A Brief Life of the Queen.)
A Brief History of the Private Life of Elizabeth II by Michael Paterson. This biography discusses the places where the Queen has lived, her training, the people who influenced her, and her attitudes to significant events.
Sixty Glorious Years: Our Queen, Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee 1952-2012 by Victoria Murphy. A look at the Queen's life and work, with rarely seen pictures.
Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth II and Her Court by Robert Hardman. A biography with 16 pages of color illustrations.
Diamond Jubilee Photo Biographies
Elizabeth: A Celebration in Photographs of the Queen's Life and Reign by Jennie Bond. Account of the Queen's life and role as the head of state in a country and world that have changed almost beyond recognition since she inherited the throne.
Queen Elizabeth II from Ammonite Press. Almost 250 pictures taken by Press Association photographers over more than 80 years. Revised Diamond Jubilee edition.
Queen Elizabeth II: A Royal Life in Pictures by Ammonite Press. During Elizabeth's long reign, the world has witnessed sweeping changes and the queen has been one of the most photographed women in the world.
The People's Jubilee: A Nation Celebrates by Victoria Murphy. Follows the Queen and her family at the spectacular celebrations to honor her 60 years of service to Britain and the Commonwealth. Includes hundreds of pictures.
Queen Elizabeth II and Her Church: Royal Service at Westminster Abbey by John Hall. The Dean of Westminster reflects on recent royal services at Westminster Abbey as a model of royal service.
Jubilee Souvenir & Gift Books
Jubilee! Queen Elizabeth II: 60 Years on the Throne by the editors of LIFE Magazine. Photos of the Jubilee and prior House of Windsor celebrations, including Victoria's 60th anniversary celebration, Elizabeth's wedding, Charles and Diana's wedding, and the marriage of William and Catherine.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, 1952-2012 by Annie Bullen. An illustrated celebration of the Queen's 60-year reign.
1953 - The Queen's Coronation: The Official Souvenir Album by Caroline de Guitaut. An illustrated souvenir album with newly commissioned photographs of the coronation gown, the Diamond Diadem, and many other jewels and ceremonial garments from the coronation.
The Little Princesses by Marion Crawford. An account of the childhood of Queen Elizabeth II and her sister, Princess Margaret, written by their governess, whom the princesses affectionately called "Crawfie." The royal family are said to have ostracized Crawford for writing this book.
Princess: The Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II by Jane Dismore. With previously unpublished material and unique memories from friends and relatives, this book looks in depth at Elizabeth's life as a princess.
The Windsor Diaries: My Childhood With the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret by Alathea Fitzalan Howard. The author spent her teenage years during World War II in Windsor Great Park with her royal friends.
Drina & Lilibet: Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II From Birth to Accession by Julia P. Gelardi. This book compares and contrasts the two British royals as they went from princess to queen.
Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen by Kate Williams. How the future Queen Elizabeth II carved out a lasting role for herself amid the changes of the 20th century.
Dolls for the Princesses: The Story of France and Marianne by Faith Eaton. About two dolls given to Elizabeth and Margaret in 1938. 70 photographs and illustrations, 50 in color.
The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly. Anecdotes and photographs from the designer who is in charge of the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen and Mrs Thatcher: An Inconvenient Relationship by Dean Palmer. The two most powerful women in Britain disliked each other on sight. For over a decade they quietly waged war against each other, both personally and politically.
The Queen and Di: The Untold Story by Ingrid Seward. We all know they didn't get along. But was the queen really a cold and unforgiving mother-in-law? Not according to this book, which claims the queen did her best to welcome Diana into the royal family.
Step Aside for Royalty: Treasured Memories of the Royal Household by Eileen Parker. A memoir about the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's marriage, written by the wife of Prince Philip's personal secretary. This is an abridged edition; the original version was published in 1982.
Her Majesty: 60 Regal Years by Brian Hoey. This biography explores the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the point of view of those who live and work with her. (Previous editions include Life With the Queen and At Home With the Queen.)
Royal Racing: The Queen and Queen Mother's Sporting Life by Sean Smith is about the abiding passion of Elizabeth II and her mother for horse racing. This illustrated account of their achievements is rich in anecdotes from key figures of the racing world.
What the Queen Said to Me by Chilli Brener. Anecdotes from people who have met and spoken to Queen Elizabeth II.
Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Royal Marriage by Gyles Brandreth. The first major biography of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. The author has met the principal players; he quotes no anonymous sources; he knows the Duke of Edinburgh and has interviewed him. Illustrated with Prince Philip's family photographs and pictures from the Queen's royal collection. Published 2005.
My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage by Ingrid Seward. How Queen Elizabeth's relationship with Prince Philip operates behind closed doors, and how their partnership has endured. Published in 2017.
Queen and Consort - Elizabeth and Philip: 60 Years of Marriage by Lynne Bell, Arthur Bousfield, and Garry Toffoli. An illustrated study of Queen Elizabeth II's marriage.
The Queen's Marriage by Lady Colin Campbell. Promises the inside story of Elizabeth II's relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh. Published in 2018.
Prince Philip's Century 1921-2021: The Extraordinary Life of the Duke of Edinburgh by Robert Jobson. This biography tells the story of the life and achievements of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, who helped modernize the monarchy and campaigned to protect the environment.
Prince Philip Revealed by Ingrid Seward. This biography of Queen Elizabeth II's husband reveals his many faces - as a father, philanthropist, philanderer, and statesman. Published in 2020.
The Duke: 100 Chapters in the Life of Prince Philip by Ian Lloyd. Sets out to explore the man behind the myths, drawing on interviews and the Duke of Edinburgh's own words.
Prince Philip by Philip Eade. The turbulent early life of the man who married Queen Elizabeth II.
Philip, Prince of Greece: The Duke of Edinburgh's Early Life and the Greek Succession by Constantinos Lagos and John Carr. Uncovers hitherto unknown aspects of Philip's life as a Greek prince.
Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers. Biography of Philip's mother. Born deaf, Princess Alice led a dramatic, often tragic life, and ended her days as a nun.
I Know I Am Rude, But It Is Fun by Nigel Cawthorne. Stories about Prince Philip, from his fearless mocking of official ceremonies to his teasing of Her Majesty herself.
Prince Philip: A Lifetime of Wit and Wisdom by Phil Dampier and Ashley Walton. A comprehensive list of the Duke's notoriously acerbic, blunt one-liners. (Also published under the title Duke of Hazard.)
Anne: The Private Princess Revealed by Brian Hoey. The Princess Royal's life, marriages, and work. Written with the co-operation of her friends and bodyguard James Beaton, who was shot during her attempted kidnapping.
Riding Through My Life by HRH The Princess Royal. Princess Anne's own account of how riding has benefited her life, from her first tiny pony through becoming European Champion in the dangerous sport of Three-Day Eventing, and representing Britain in the Olympic Games.
The Princess Royal by John Parker. A 1989 biography of Queen Elizabeth II's only daughter.
Anne: Portrait of a Princess by Judith Campbell. About the events, joys, and sorrows of childhood and life at school which formed Princess Anne's strong character. Published in 1970.
Zara Phillips: A Revealing Portrait of a World Champion by Brian Hoey. The only daughter of Princess Anne, Zara Phillips is known as a royal rebel. This book looks beyond the public image to reveal the real Zara with anecdotes and quotes from those who know her.
Prince Andrew: Epstein and the Palace by Nigel Cawthorne. Investigates the story of the key players, allegations and counter-allegations. Published in 2020.
Andrew, the Playboy Prince by Andrew Morton and Mick Seamark. This 1983 biography charts Prince Andrew's life from cradle to schoolboy to war in the Falklands. Includes photos of Andrew's ex-girlfriend Koo Stark and others.
Photographs by H.R.H. Prince Andrew. A collection of photographs taken by Prince Andrew, published in 1985.
Edward Windsor, Royal Enigma by Wendy Leigh. What is Prince Edward really like? Find out. Published in 1999.
Sophie's Kiss: The True Love Story of Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones by Garth Gibbs and Sean M. Smith. The little-known details of the romance between Queen Elizabeth's youngest son and the woman he eventually married. Published in 1997.
Edward Wessex's Crown and Country: A Personal Guide to Royal London by Prince Edward. The prince takes the reader on a tour through the history of London's royal palaces. This is the companion book to the PBS series (for which scroll down to the video section).
Our Times: The Age of Elizabeth II by A. N. Wilson. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953, many proclaimed the start of a new Elizabethan Age. (Third book in a trilogy; the first two books are The Victorians and After the Victorians.)
The Queen & Us: The Second Elizabethan Age by Nigel Nicolson. In 1953, the royal family kept its private life private. Why has it changed since then? Published in 2011.
Elizabeth Revealed: 500 Facts About the Queen and Her World by Lucinda Hawksley. This illustrated book highlights surprising aspects of Queen Elizabeth II's life, the good and the bad years.
Queen of the World by Robert Hardman. A new portrait of the most famous woman in the world, Queen Elizabeth II, and her place in it.
The New Elizabethan Age: Culture, Society and National Identity After World War II edited by Irene Morra and Rob Gossedge. Tthe influence of New Elizabethanism from Elizabeth II's coronation festivities to the reinterment of Richard III in 2015.
Royal Gifts by Sally Goodsir. Published to coincide with a Buckingham Palace exhibition, this book presents gifts given Queen Elizabeth II from more than one hundred countries.
The Royal Governess: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth II's Childhood by Wendy Holden. In 1933, Marion Crawford becomes Princess Elizabeth's governess. But her role comes at huge personal cost.
In Royal Service to the Queen: A Novel of the Queen's Governess by Tessa Arlen. Tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II's governess, Marion Crawford, who was later shunned by those she served.
The Secret Guests by Benjamin Black. In this suspense novel, young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are hidden on an estate in Ireland during World War II.
Night of Triumph by Peter Bradshaw. On VE Night, 1945, teenage princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were allowed to leave the Palace incognito to celebrate with ordinary. This is a comedy crime thriller about the princesses' big adventure.
The Uncommon Reader by Allan Bennett. A humorous novella. When the Queen stumbles upon a mobile library, she discovers the pleasures of the written word.
Mrs Queen Takes the Train: A Novel by William Kuhn. After Elizabeth II disguises herself and walks out of Buckingham Palace, employees set out to find her before her absence becomes a national scandal.
The Autobiography of the Queen by Emma Tennant. Faced with the loss of her beloved home, Balmoral, Queen Elizabeth II escapes alone to the Caribbean.
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson. Fictional account of embroiderers chosen to work on the wedding dress of Britain's future queen Elizabeth II.
The Windsor Knot: A Novel by SJ Bennett. The first book in a series in which Queen Elizabeth II secretly solves crimes.
All the Queen's Men by SJ Bennett. Amateur detective Queen Elizabeth II investigates a shocking death at Buckingham Palace.
Death at Buckingham Palace: Her Majesty Investigates by C. C. Benison. A novel in which -- yes -- Queen Elizabeth II plays detective! (Don't you wonder if the queen reads these books?)
Death at Sandringham House. Sequel to Death at Buckingham Palace
Death at Windsor Castle. Her Majesty plays sleuth again.
Film, Poetry, and Cartoons
The Queen by Peter Morgan. The screenplay for the acclaimed film about the British royal family's reaction to Princess Diana's death.
Diana, Charles, & the Queen by William Heyen. Poems about the royal family.
Her Majesty the Queen, as Seen by Mac: Cartoons From the Daily Mail. More than 120 newspaper cartoons featuring Her Majesty, from the 1970s until the present day.
Queen Elizabeth II by Jen Arena, illustrated by Monica Dong. A biography for children aged 2 to 5 from the Little Golden Books series.
Queen Elizabeth II. Biography for children ages 7 to 10. Learn how Elizabeth worked with 13 prime ministers, met world leaderse, and remained a stable presence as head of the royal family.
The Queen by Julia Adams. Who is Queen Elizabeth II, and what does she do? How do you become a queen? For children ages 9 to 11.
Queen Elizabeth II: Modern Monarch by Matt Doeden. How the longest-reigning British monarch brought the royal family into the 21st century. For readers ages 9 to 14.
Queen Elizabeth II's Britain by Jacqui Bailey. An illustrated celebration of British history under the longest-reigning monarch.
The Queen and Mr Brown: A Day for Dinosaurs by James Francis Wilkins. Children's picture book in which Queen Elizabeth II and a corgi visit London's Natural History Museum.
Titus Rules by Dick King-Smith, illustrated by John Eastwood. The humorous (and fictional) palace adventures of one of Queen Elizabeth II's corgis. For children ages 9 to 12.
These DVDs are formatted for North American audiences.
Diamond Queen. A 2012 BBC documentary marking the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It features interviews with prime ministers, world leaders, and members of the royal family, and closely follows the Queen's working engagements for a year and a half.
The Queen starring Helen Mirren. Very popular 2006 movie about Queen Elizabeth II's reaction to the death of Princess Diana. Helen Mirren won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the Queen. The movie was also nominated for Best Motion Picture.
The Monarchy: Queen Elizabeth II. TV documentary.
Queen Elizabeth II: 60 Glorious Years. Documentary on VHS tape.
50 Golden Years - Queen & Prince. A 2001 documentary from the "Royal Family Collection." VHS tape.
The Royal House of Windsor