Queen Elizabeth II holds the distinction of being the longest serving monarch on the British throne—beating her grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign by nearly a decade. Born in 1926, the Queen traveled often with her husband, the late Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, by her side.
The British monarch, who celebrated 70 years on the throne during summer 2022 with her Platinum Jubilee, had been living in the public eye since birth, even though her family could never imagine they would become the faces of the United Kingdom. When her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936, her father became King George VI and took on the responsibilities of the kingdom, which put young Elizabeth, then age 10, in line for the throne. When George passed away on February 6, 1952, at age 56, she officially became Queen Elizabeth II. She was 25.
Below, a glimpse at Queen Elizabeth II’s colorful life in photos, many rarely seen, documenting her childhood in London, her coronation, her wedding, Platinum Jubilee, and more.
The Duke and Duchess of York, the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England, with their newborn daughter Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The young Princess Elizabeth, later to reign as Queen Elizabeth II.
The future queen visiting a zoo.
Princess Elizabeth riding her new tricycle in the park with her nanny.
Princess Elizabeth, age six (right), and Princess Margaret (left) playing in 1933.
Elizabeth’s love for horses and horse races began at an early age. She was an avid rider throughout her childhood and into adulthood.
Princess Elizabeth with two corgi dogs at her home at 145 Piccadilly, London.
Elizabeth pictured with her pets, corgis Jane and Dookie, at age 10. The monarch went on to breed or adopt more and more corgis.
Princess Elizabeth walking a corgi in London’s Hyde Park.
A young Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle.
Princess Elizabeth celebrating V-day in Europe.
King George VI with the royal family, at the Royal Lodge at Windsor Castle.
Princess Elizabeth at the passing-out ceremony at the end of her service in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Princess Elizabeth plays tag with midshipmen on board the HMS Vanguard.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey after their marriage ceremony.
Princess Elizabeth and her son Charles are photographed together to honor her firstborn son’s birthday.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh square-danced at a cowboy dress party during the royal tour of Canada.
Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh visit the Mediterranean island of Malta.
Princess Elizabeth arrives for the premiere of The Lady With the Lamp in London.
Princess Elizabeth represents her father, the King, at the Trooping the Colour ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II with Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth. She is shown here with Mr. S. G. Holland (New Zealand), Sir Winston Churchill, Mr. Robert Menzies (Australia), and Mr. St. Laurent (Canada).
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip.
Queen Elizabeth poses for the cameras minutes after her coronation on June 2, 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip leave a banquet during their Commonwealth visit to Australia.
Queen Elizabeth II on the balcony of Government House, Melbourne, during her tour of Australia.
Queen Elizabeth II waves as the Canadian Pacific liner Empress of Britain takes the water in Glasgow.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the royal performance of the film To Catch a Thief at the Odeon Cinema.
Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles at Windsor Great Park during a polo match.
Queen Elizabeth II greets guests including Sophia Loren at the Royal Film Show.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at a formal event during a royal tour of the Netherlands.
Queen Elizabeth II poses for a portrait at home in Buckingham Palace.
Baby Prince Andrew perches on Prince Philip’s lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle. Also pictured are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne.
Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Vatican in Italy after an official visit to Pope John XXIII, accompanied by Prince Philip.
The queen outside the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore during her 1961 state visit to Pakistan.
The queen and Prince Phillip welcomed then American president John F. Kennedy and first lady Jackie Kennedy to Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at the opening of the Confederation Memorial Building in Canada.
Queen Elizabeth II at a performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.
Queen Elizabeth II, dressed for a formal occasion.
Queen Elizabeth II at Liverpool Street Station with two of her pet corgis.
Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech in front of the Schöneberg Town Hall in Berlin.
The queen bestows the title of Prince of Wales on her eldest son, Prince Charles, at Caernarvon Castle.
The queen’s love of corgis has followed her throughout her life.
The queen attending attending a premiere in the West End district in London.
Queen Elizabeth II with a group of local children during her state visit to Mexico.
Queen Elizabeth II with President Urho Kekkonen during her state visit to Finland in Helsinki.
President Gerald Ford dances with Queen Elizabeth II during a White House State Dinner.
During a royal tour of Canada.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on safari during their state visit to Zambia.
Queen Elizabeth II is seen talking with the Emir of Bahrain during a visit on her Gulf Tour.
The queen waits for King Hassan II of Morocco during a royal visit.
Queen Elizabeth II visits the Institute of Oceanography in San Diego during a visit to the US.
Regal in Canada.
Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit to Berlin and West Berlin.
Queen Elizabeth II walks in riding gear as she visits the 1988 Royal Windsor Horse Show.
US president George Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, and first lady Barbara Bush shake hands with Mike Gallego, Rick Honeycutt, and Jose Canseco of the Oakland Athletics at game between the Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles.
The queen at the Royal Winsdor Horse Show in 1991.
Queen Elizabeth II during a reception in the White House’s Rose Garden in Washington, DC.
The queen at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Queen Elizabeth II attends the Royal Variety Performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
The queen leaving King Edward VII Hospital after a knee surgery.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip meet with former South African president Nelson Mandela during a reception at Buckingham Palace in honor of the Rhodes Trust.
The queen watches a parade of Aston Martin cars at Windsor Castle on St. George’s Day.
The queen arrives at a party and dinner during the 2006 Royal Windsor Horse Show.
Queen Elizabeth II visits the new National Tennis Centre, Roehampton in London.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives to unveil a memorial to Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she leaves the State Opening of Parliament at the House of Lords.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip observe a minute’s silence in honor of the victims of the attack at Manchester Arena at the start of a garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II sits next to Caroline Rush (left), chief executive of the British Fashion Council, and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour as they view Richard Quinn’s runway show before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
Queen Elizabeth II waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London. The event celebrated her 70-year-long reign.
Queen Elizabeth II attends an Armed Forces Act of Loyalty Parade in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.