Elizabeth was born at 02:40 (GMT) on 21 April 1926, during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V. Her father, Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), was the second son of the King. Her mother, Elizabeth, Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth), was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She was delivered by Caesarean section at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair. She was baptised by the Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, in the private chapel of Buckingham Palace on 29 May, and named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother. Called "Lilibet" by her close family, based on what she called herself at first, she was cherished by her grandfather George V, and during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery.
Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937. They are second cousins once removed through King Christian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – said she fell in love with Philip and they began to exchange letters. She was 21 when their engagement was officially announced on 9 July 1947.
Elizabeth and Philip were married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948. A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.
In September 1939, Britain entered the Second World War, which lasted until 1945. In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities.
In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed colonel the previous year. As she approached her 18th birthday, parliament changed the law so that she could act as one of five Counsellors of State in the event of her father's incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944. In February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern with the service number of 230873. She trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary junior commander five months later.In 1947, Princess Elizabeth went on her first overseas tour, accompanying her parents through southern Africa.
Her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marked 60 years on the throne.In a message released on Accession Day, Elizabeth wrote:
In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness ... I hope also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart.
The Queen surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September 2015. The Queen does not intend to abdicate, but carries out fewer public engagements.