Find out more about The Queen’s childhood and early life
The Queen as Princess Elizabeth © Camera Press
Members of the Royal Family at the christening of Princess Elizabeth, 29 May 1926. Left to right, back row: The Duke of Connaught, King George V, The Duke of York and The Earl Strathmore. Left to right, front row: Lady Elphinstone, Queen Mary, The Duchess of York with Princess Elizabeth, The Countess of Strathmore and Princess Mary. © PA
Princess Elizabeth (centre, back row) with other Non-Commissioned Officers in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (the women’s Army), which Her Royal Highness enlisted in towards the end of World War Two. © Imperial War Museum
The Duke and Duchess of York (later KIng George VI and Queen Elizabeth) pose with their new daughter, Princess Elizabeth, for an official christening portrait, 29 May 1926. © PA
Princess Elizabeth on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and Princess Margaret, following the Coronation of her parents at Westminster Abbey in 1937. © Camera Press/Imperial War Museum
Princess Elizabeth in 1930. © PA
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the vegetable gardens in the grounds of Windsor Castle in April 1940. © Camera Press/Studio Lisa
Princess Elizabeth arrives at the 16th Century church in Balcombe, West Sussex, for the wedding Lady May Cambridge and Captain Henry Abel Smith, 1931. © PA
Princess Elizabeth, aged six, and two-year-old Princess Margaret, playing in a sandpit at their grandparents’ home in Hertfordshire. © Camera Press/Spice
Princess Elizabeth, aged four, playing with her parents. © Camera Press/Marcus Adams
The Queen was born Princess Elizabeth of York at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London.
She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who were later crowned King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
At the time of her birth, Princess Elizabeth stood third in line of succession to the throne after Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), and her father, The Duke of York. But it was not expected that her father would become King, or that she would become Queen.
The Princess was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace. She was named after her mother, while her two middle names are those of her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and paternal grandmother, Queen Mary.
The Princess’s early years were spent at 145 Piccadilly, the London house taken by her parents shortly after her birth, and at White Lodge in Richmond Park.
She also spent time at the country homes of her paternal grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother’s parents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore.
In 1930, Princess Elizabeth gained a sister, with the birth of Princess Margaret Rose. The family of four was very close.
When she was six years old, her parents took over Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park as their own country home. In the grounds of Royal Lodge Princess Elizabeth had her own small house, Y Bwthyn Bach (the Little Cottage), which was given to her by the people of Wales in 1932.
Princess Elizabeth’s quiet family life came to an end in 1936, when her grandfather, King George V, died.
His eldest son came to the throne as King Edward VIII, but, before the end of the year, King Edward VIII had decided to give up the throne in order to marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson.
Upon his abdication, Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 the two Princesses attended their parents’ coronation in Westminster Abbey.
Princess Elizabeth was now first in line to the throne, and a figure of even more intense public interest.
Listen to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret speak to children across the world during the Second World War: