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Elizabeth II, Queen of the Commonwealth realms
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21 April 1926 -
Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. In her specific role as the monarch of the United Kingdom, one of her 16 realms, she is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. On the death of her father in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. Today, in addition to the first four aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.
In 1947 she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
Her reign of 60 years is the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees were celebrated in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively.
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Revised on May 2, 2012 by KS.