Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Her father ascended the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth – then 25 years old – became queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, as well as Head of the Commonwealth.
Elizabeth has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities, the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. The number of her realms has varied over time as territories have gained independence, and as realms, including South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (renamed Sri Lanka), have become republics.
Her many visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and visits to or from five popes. Significant events have included her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012 respectively. In 2017, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee. In April 2021, after 73 years of marriage, her husband, Prince Philip, died at the age of 99.
Elizabeth is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state in history, the oldest living and longest-reigning current monarch, and the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth has faced republican sentiment and criticism of the royal family. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom has been and remains consistently high, as does her personal popularity.
Some of the best quotes from Queen Elizabeth II are listed below.
- “At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “At its heart, engineering is about using science to find creative, practical solutions. It is a noble profession.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her – for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “For many, Christmas is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else – I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I have been aware all the time that my peoples, spread far and wide throughout every continent and ocean in the world, were united to support me in the task to which I have now been dedicated with such solemnity.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God’s Will, united in spirit and in aim.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I have to be seen to be believed.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief at Diana’s loss, and gratitude for her all-too-short life. It is a chance to show to the whole world the British nation united in grief and respect.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “I myself prefer my New Zealand eggs for breakfast.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Indeed, I have drawn great comfort and inspiration from the relentless enthusiasm of people of all ages – especially the young – in calling for everyone to play their part.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognise how precious is the peace we have built in Europe since 1945.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “It has sometimes been observed that what leaders do for their people today is government and politics. But what they do for the people of tomorrow – that is statesmanship.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “It is easy enough to define what the Commonwealth is not. Indeed this is quite a popular pastime.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Like all best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Madam President, speaking here in Dublin Castle it is impossible to ignore the weight of history, as it was yesterday when you and I laid wreaths at the Garden of Remembrance.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “My husband has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “None of us underestimates the challenges ahead: but history has shown that when nations come together in common cause, there is always room for hope. Working side by side, we have the ability to solve the most insurmountable problems and to triumph over the greatest of adversities.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “The British constitution has always been puzzling and always will be.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience. It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbors and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “The lessons from the peace process are clear; whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all the stronger for working together and sharing the load.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “The upward course of a nation’s history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “Therefore I am sure that this, my Coronation, is not the symbol of a power and a splendor that are gone but a declaration of our hopes for the future, and for the years I may, by God’s Grace and Mercy, be given to reign and serve you as your Queen.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “These wretched babies don’t come until they are ready.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “To what greater inspiration and counsel can we turn than to the imperishable truth to be found in this treasure house, the Bible?” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time and the manner of yielding what is impossible to keep.” – Queen Elizabeth II
- “What were once only hopes for the future have now come to pass; it is almost exactly 13 years since the overwhelming majority of people in Ireland and Northern Ireland voted in favour of the agreement signed on Good Friday 1998, paving the way for Northern Ireland to become the exciting and inspirational place that it is today.” – Queen Elizabeth II