Elizabeth (Queen mother) biography

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Elizabeth (Queen mother) biography

Wife of King George VI, Queen Consort of the United Kingdom (1936-52), mother of Queen Elizabeth II (1952-). Born Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on August 4, 1900, at St. Paul’s Waldenbury in Hertfordshire, England. She was the second youngest child of the former Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck and Claude George Bowes-Lyon (the 22nd Lord Glamis and 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne). Though not royalty, the aristocratic Bowes-Lyon family descended from the ancient Royal House of Scotland. Elizabeth spent an idyllic childhood at both Glamis Castle in Scotland and at her parent’s country estate at St. Paul’s Waldenbury, where she was educated in religion and the arts. With the onset of World War II, her mother converted Glamis Castle into a hospital for soldiers. The teenaged Elizabeth took part in welcoming and tending to the wounded men. In 1923, Elizabeth wed the second son of King George V and Queen Mary of England, Prince Albert Windsor, who at the time held the title of Duke of York. The ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey and was the first royal marriage to take place there in over 400 years. After a reception at Buckingham Palace the newly titled Duke and Duchess of York moved to Windsor Park. Elizabeth tended to her royal responsibilities, assuming positions in various organizations, which included the Young Women’s Christian Association as well as a number of charities. In April of 1926, the couple had their first child — a daughter named Elizabeth. The infant Princess of York held the notable distinction of being third in line of succession to the throne. In 1930, they welcomed their second daughter, Princess Margaret. After the death, on January 20, 1936, of King George V, his oldest son Edward, Prince of Wales, was named King. Following a brief reign, Edward VIII abdicated the throne so that he could marry American divorcee Wallace Simpson. In May of 1937, Albert rather reluctantly assumed the title King George VI, while Elizabeth was named Queen Consort. The royal couple inherited a dissuasive country, which was overwhelmed with uncertainty about its future. The controversy surrounding Edward’s resignation and George’s appointment was soon stifled by the developments of World War II. After several years of neutrality, Great Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939. During the conflict, George VI and Elizabeth frequented England’s war-torn cities, munitions factories, and hospitals.

As the Blitz tore through the poverty-stricken East End of London, the steadfast Queen traveled through bombsites to boost morale. Although many fled to safer surroundings, the King and Queen remained at Buckingham Palace. Their efforts reestablished confidence in the monarchy and also increased their individual popularity. George VI died on February 6, 1952. His eldest daughter Elizabeth succeeded him as Queen Elizabeth II. Following her husband’s death and her daughter’s appointment, Elizabeth officially chose the title Queen Mother. She then moved from Buckingham Palace to nearby Clarence House, which currently serves as her main residence. The Queen Mother remains a national institution in England, and is still revered for her exemplary role in World War II. In their short reign as King and Queen, George VI and Elizabeth saved the monarchy from near ruin, leaving their daughter a more stable crown. In August of 2000, The Queen Mum (as the public affectionately calls her) celebrated her 100th birthday. She still enjoys a full life, maintaining the national presidencies and patronage of over 350 organizations. She makes over 100 appearances a year, greeting the public with her trademark wave. Gin and tonic remains her drink of choice, while horse betting ranks among her most beloved pastimes. Queen Elizabeth II recently threw a grand party to commemorate all the milestone birthdays in the royal family: the Queen Mother’s 100th, Princess Margaret’s 70th, Princess Anne’s 50th, Prince Andrews 40th, and Prince Williams 18th. In addition, special stamps and coins, and a birthday service at St. Paul’s Cathedral added to the Queen Mother’s centennial celebration. .

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