How was Queen Elizabeth II brought up as a child?

Elizabeth II Early life

From left to right- Princess Elizabeth, Queen Mother Elizabeth, Winston Churchill , King George VI , and Princess Margaret. Image Surce

In all of recorded British history, never has there been any monarch to sit on the throne longer than Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022). Also, never has there been a British monarch to live into their ripe age as Elizabeth II did.

For more than seven decades, Her Royal Majesty Elizabeth II had been a voice of reason in times of chaos. She virtually devoted every moment of her life in service of not just her people but the lives of millions across the world.

But have you ever wondered what factors accounted for her longevity on the throne? How did Queen Elizabeth II get to become the United Kingdom’s most beloved and wisest monarch? The answers to these questions lie in the manner in which Queen Elizabeth II was brought up as child. Here are some of the major events that helped mold the life of the young Princess Elizabeth.

Read More: Queen Elizabeth II’s Greatest Accomplishments

Post First World War Changes

Shortly before and after the First World War I, we began noticing significant changes in the way and manner in which the Royal Family, or some members of the family, conducted themselves. Although the British Empire stretched far and wide into areas in Asia and Africa, it was also at its most precarious point.

They quickly realized that the days of distancing themselves from the plight and misery of their subjects and colonies were long gone. At home, Britain was still reeling from the damages caused by the First World War. Certainly, they had to devise a more in-touch or humanistic approach of ruling.

Read More: Major Causes of World War One

The Parenting Style of Elizabeth’s Parents

Queen Elizabeth II's early life and parents

Queen Elizabeth II’s parents- the Duke and Duchess of York (Later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mother)

Sharply aware of the domestic and global changes, the Duke and Duchess of York set forth to raise their first child, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II), in manner that was befitting of the changing socio-political landscape. The public certainly appreciated this move. By placing themselves in the view of public, their reputation skyrocketed. They were now seen as people who were down to earth as well as people who truly cared about their subjects.

So, while her parents extensively toured the Commonwealth on royal duties, Elizabeth was left to pick on the wisdom of her grandfather George V, and her grandmother Queen Mary. She was far from being a spoilt  princess. Rather, she was constantly being made aware of her responsibility as a princess – a responsibility to the people and her country. As a result of this, her confidence grew in leaps and bounds – the perfect ingredients for a wise and just member of the Royal Family. At that time, little did she know that she would one day wear the British crown.

King George V’s Death

Elizabeth’s parents’ plan was to allow Elizabeth spend her formative years home schooled and gradually introduce her to public schools later. By so doing she could have a much greater appreciation of the lives lived by commoners.

However, all of that was thrown out of the window. After the death of King George V, the new King, Edward VIII, decided the contrary. He insisted that Princess Elizabeth (who was then second-in-line to throne) be brought up free of public scrutiny and the media – the  very people that she could one day govern.

Historians believe that Edward VIII tried to limit public access to the lives of the Royal Family because he did not want his relationship with Wallis Simpson- a divorced (twice) socialite- come to light.

Brief as it was, for all the time that Edward VIII sat on the throne, the Royal Family’s, as well as Princess Elizabeth’s, interaction with public was somewhat limited and severely controlled.

King Edward VIII’s Abdication

After less than a year on the throne, Edward VIII abdicated in 1936. His younger brother, the Duke of York, was crowned King George VI. And just like that, the confident and beautiful Princess Elizabeth (11-years old at the time) became Heiress Presumptive to the British Empire.

Edward VIII had failed to take cognizance of the fact that the political and social landscape at that time was going through significant changes. The environment was ushering in an era that rewarded people like the Duke and Duchess of York. The new era needed leaders that were humble and confident at the same time- leaders who could firmly guide Britain out of the dark patch that was about to engulf all of Europe and the world.

Princes Elizabeth and World War II

Princess Elizabeth, along with her family, stayed on top of the issues that unfolded all throughout the 1940s. All the training that her parents gave her would now prove useful in halting Adolf Hitler’s onslaught across Europe. The family was so committed to the British people during WWII that any suggestions of an evacuation was quickly short down.

Elizabeth II's early life

A Quote from Elizabeth II’s mother- Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

Leading by example, Queen Elizabeth II’s parents thought the future monarch a valuable lesson. They knew that life could sometimes be absolutely brutal; therefore, they brought her up by exposing her to highest form personal and civic duty.

The future queen grew up knowing that a wise monarch never backs down when faced with injustice or anarchy that seeks to inflict pain and misery on people. At an age when most princesses should be playing with their ponies, Elizabeth took on a sacred duty; she vowed to serve her people for the rest of her life.

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To illustrate her commitment to the lives of her people, Princess Elizabeth gave several radio broadcasts during the Second War II. Her messages were targeted at keeping the spirits of children high all across the country. Also, Elizabeth served as  a driver and mechanic in the engineering department of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. It was all hands on deck for her.

Elizabeth II's Early life

Queen Elizabeth II In Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform, April 1945. Image Source.

The reasons above explain why  the Queen has always had the amazing ability to continuously reinvent herself in order to stay closest to her people. And even when she went through some dark patches in her life, a period she herself termed as Annus Horribilis, the Queen somehow had to call upon the fighting spirit she picked up as princess. Mind you, one does not simply stay on the British throne this long a time without being wise, just and open to change. Qualities of those sorts are the very ones that defined Queen Elizabeth II’s reign (1952-2022).

To get more detailed facts about the reign and life of Queen Elizabeth II, click  Facts about the Early Life of Queen Elizabeth II .

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