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Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926 is, and has been since her accession in 1952, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth. She is also Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.[b]

Elizabeth was born in London to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and was the elder of their two daughters. She was educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during World War II, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

Elizabeth's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. She has seen major constitutional changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. She has also reigned through various wars and conflicts involving many of her realms. She is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. In 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant in world history.

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Christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, she is the elder daughter of King George VI (then Duke of York) and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

Princess Elizabeth’s early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park. She also spent time at the country homes of her paternal grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother's parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.

In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret Rose. The family of four was very close.

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