1. News & Issues

Queen Elizabeth

Biography of Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Canada

By

Queen Elizabeth on Parliament Hill on Canada Day 2010

Queen Elizabeth on Parliament Hill on Canada Day 2010

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

About Queen Elizabeth

Canada is a constitutional monarchy and Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada. The sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, does not rule the country, but is the head of state. The Governor General of Canada has the authority to exercise the authority of the Crown, on the advice of Cabinet, without consulting the Queen. In the provinces of Canada Lieutenant Governors act as the direct representatives of the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II was the first British sovereign to be separately named Queen of Canada. Queen Elizabeth's position as Queen of Canada is independent of her role as Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries.

Queen of Canada

1952 to present

Royal Style and Title

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

Birth

April 21, 1926 in London, England.

She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.) The Queen's official birthday is celebrated on June 17. Official birthdays of British sovereigns are traditionally in the summer when there is a better chance of good weather for the Trooping the Colour ceremony, or the Birthday Parade.

Accession to the Throne

February 8, 1952

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was held on June 2, 1953.

Early Life of Queen Elizabeth

When the Queen was born, she was third in line to the throne after her uncle Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII, and her father, The Duke of York. When Princess Elizabeth was four years old, her sister Margaret Rose was born. Their rather quiet family life changed dramatically in 1936. King George V died and King Edward VIII took the throne. Before the year was out, King Edward had abdicated and Princess Elizabeth's father acceded to the throne as King George VI. That put Princess Elizabeth first in line to the throne.

The young princesses were both schooled at home, and after 1936 Princess Elizabeth began studies, including constitutional history and law, to prepare her for her future role as Queen. As the future head of the Church of England, she was taught religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She also learned French, which has been helpful in her dealings in Canada.

Princess Elizabeth was a teenager during World War II. Although her parents stayed at Buckingham Palace in London, the two princesses were sent to Windsor Castle for their safety. Princess Elizabeth made her first BBC radio broadcast (audio clip) in 1940 at the age of 14. It was a message of sympathy and encouragement to British children who had been evacuated to the U.S. and Canada. It wasn't until 1945 that Princess Elizabeth managed to persuade her father to let her join the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a driver and auto mechanic.

Family

Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (now the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip) on November 20, 1947.

They have four children:

  • The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles)
  • The Princess Royal (Princess Anne)
  • The Duke of York (Prince Andrew)
  • The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward

The couple also has eight grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Queen Elizabeth in Canada

Although many Royal duties in Canada are delegated to the Governor General of Canada, Queen Elizabeth maintains close ties with Canada and Canadians. Since coming to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth has made 22 official Royal visits to Canada. Her visits usually last a week or two, although on her first major tour of Canada in 1959 she spent six weeks and visited all Canadian provinces and territories. Queen Elizabeth has been in Canada for some historic events, including the opening of the St-Lawrence Seaway in 1959, the celebration of Canada's centennial in 1967, opening the Montreal Olympics in 1976, and the proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. On her visit in 2010, Queen Elizabeth again endeared herself to Canadians by saying she was "happy to be home" and that she agreed with her mother who had called Canada "a home away from home."

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip also support many Canadian charities and organizations. The Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Nurses' Association, the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Royal Canadian Humane Association, and Save the Children - Canada are all on the Queen's patronage list.

Queen Elizabeth acts as Colonel-in-Chief of many Canadian regiments, including the Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery, the King's Own Calgary Regiment, the Royal 22e Régiment, the Canadian Grenadier Guards, the Régiment de la Chaudière, the Calgary Highlanders, the Royal New Brunswick Regiment, the Royal Canadian Air Force Auxiliary and the Air Reserve.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.