• Short Summary

    Queen Elizabeth II will be 50 on Wednesday, 21 April. she is head of state?

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    Queen Elizabeth II will be 50 on Wednesday, 21 April. she is head of state in Britain and eleven other Commonwealth countries, and is recognised by the other 23 Commonwealth members as the head and symbol of unity of the Commonwealth. she has been on the throne for 24 years.

    Princess Elizabeth was born the elder of the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York, King George V's second son and his wife. she has no brothers, and so became heir to the throne when her father succeeded as King George VI in 1936. She was then ten years old. She was privately educated, and towards the end of the Second World War, when she was old enough, served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, now known as he Women's Royal Army Corps.

    On her 21 st birthday, in 1947, while she was with the King and Queen on a visit to South Africa, Princess Elizabeth broadcast to the Commonwealth. Film includes a short extract from her statement:
    Not long after her return, it was announced that she would marry Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten -- a Greek-born prince who had taken British nationality and his mother's family name, and was serving in the British navy. The Princess and the Duke of Edinburgh, as he was created, were married in Westminster Abbey in London on November 20th, 1947. Their eldest son, Prince Charles, was born the following year.

    Early in 1952, the Princess and the Duke set off on a Commonwealth tour which had been planned for King George, but he was not well enough to go. They were in Kenya when they heard that the King had died, and the Princess had become Queen. They immediately flew back to London. The coronation took place the following year.

    In Britain, the Queen's time is taken up with formal ceremonial occasions, such as the state opening of Parliament; the less public duties of a constitutional monarch, like the weekly audience she gives to the Prime Minister to inform herself of the political issues of the country; and innumerable public appearances at events and institutions to which she gives her support. She has certain undefined powers to advise her ministers; but public political acts, though they may require her signature, are always carried out on the advice of the government of the day.

    The Queen is official hostess to any head of state who is paying a state visit to Britain, and makes regular state visits abroad of her own. In addition, she has travelled many thousands of miles during her reign, visiting more than twenty of the countries of the Commonwealth.

    In her 24 years on the throne, the Queen has kept the institution of monarchy in Britain virtually free from any serious criticism. there are occasional complaints about the exclusiveness and the expense of the court, but almost universal admiration for the way that the queen personally carries out the duties of monarch.

    She and Prince Philip now have four children: Prince Charles, now 27, the Prince of Wales (the traditional title of the heir to the throne); Princess Anne, their only daughter, a horsewoman of international reputation, who is married to Captain mark Phillips; and the two younger princes, Andrew (16) and Edward (12).

    SYNOPSIS: Queen Elizabeth the Second, at the most ceremonial of her public duties: the state opening of a new session of Parliament in London.

    In 1937, her father became King, and he ten-year-old Princess, his elder daughter, heir to the throne.

    After wartime army service, she broadcast to the Commonwealth on her 21 st birthday:
    Back home from south Africa, it was announced that she was to marry Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten.

    Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of edinburgh, as he was created, were married in Westminster Abbey in London on November 20th, 1947. The Duke had been born a Greek prince, but had joined the British navy, taken British nationality and his mother's family name.

    Their eldest son, Prince Charles, now the Prince of Wales, was born a year later. They had another child, princess Anne, in 1950.

    The Princess and the Duke were in kenya on a commonwealth tour when they heard that her father, King George, had died in London. they at once returned home, to be greeted at the airport by all the members of the Cabinet. For the Princess, at 25, had become Queen It was February, 1952.

    Sixteen months later, London burst int all the splendour of royal pageantry for the Queen's coronation.

    Crown Princes, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and Ambassadors from more than 80 countries were in Westminster Abbey. The origins of parts of the ceremony go back a thousand years. Its culmination is the actual moment of crowning, performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    After the Queen came to the throne, she had two more children, besides Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Prince Andrew was born in 1960; Prince Edward in 1964.

    As head of the Commonwealth of 35 countries, the Queen has travelled thousands of miles. this was a Maori welcome in New Zealand.

    And the feathered cloak a treasured Maori gift.

    In Barbados last year, the cricketer Gary Sobers became "Sir Garfield" when the Queen invested him a knight. Though the Queen holds several investitures a year, it is rare for the ceremony to be carried out in the open air in public. Usually, only the recipient's family is present.

    These pictures of the Queen, with Prince Philip and their youngest son, Prince Edward,who is now 12, were specially taken at Windsor Castle to mark the Queen's 50th birthday. It will be on Wednesday, April 21st.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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