The Queen’s 90th birthday: The early years

Prior to becoming a direct heir to the throne upon the abdication of her uncle King Edward VIII in 1936, the Queen enjoyed a rather normal childhood along with her sister Princess Margaret. During her early years, the future monarch lived with her hands-on parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, in a 25-bedroom home at 145 Piccadilly in central London. We look back on interesting facts and events of the monarch's early years in the video below.

From her fascination with horses to her dreams of marrying a farmer, Elizabeth could never have envisioned that some nine decades later she would be Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. That all changed when, at the age of 10, the young royal became heir presumptive to the throne.

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Princess Elizabeth pictured with her parents at her christening ceremony.

While her father, King George VI, was secretly horrified at the thought that Elizabeth would one day have to be Queen, he was determined that she would be better schooled on affairs of state than he had been. Lessons took place both within and outside the palace walls.

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Princess Elizabeth, aged six, with her sister Princess Margaret, aged two.

Elizabeth attended countless royal engagements, from horse shows to ceremonies to weddings. And she proved a quick study. The King was so impressed with his daughter that he would often remark on the similarities between Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. “From the first moment of talking, she showed so much character that it was impossible not to wonder whether history would not repeat itself,” Osbert Sitwell, a friend of the Royal Family, recalls the King saying.

She went on to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second Word War and in 1947 she married the love of her life, Prince Philip.

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