Life was never going to be normal for Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor. Still, when she arrived on April 21, 1926, no one suspected the enormity of her fate – although it was clear to at least one man that she was destined for greatness.
“She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant,” observed Winston Churchill when she was two.
The Duke and Duchess of York’s first child was born at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London, and the new parents were immediately besotted. “You don’t know what tremendous joy it is ... to have our little girl,” said her father, the future King George VI.
At the time his first child was born, the proud dad had minimal royal responsibilities, despite being the son of a king. His older brother, David, the future King Edward VIII, was the one who had to concern himself with the destiny of the crown, while Prince Albert (commonly known as Bertie) and his wife, the former Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, could focus on their family.
But in a series of events that would change the course of their lives forever, Elizabeth's destiny was transformed. Click through our gallery to explore her early years, from childhood to coronation, and the men who changed her life forever...