Born third in line to the throne on 21 April, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was the eldest daughter of the then Duke and Duchess of York. The family commuted between Royal residences in London, eventually settling at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park in 1932. Both Elizabeth and her younger sister, Margaret Rose, were educated at home. Upon the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, in 1936 she became the heir presumptive and her father assumed the role of George VI.
During WWII she became a subaltern in the ATS1 and qualified as a driver. During this time she also started taking on more royal duties including broadcasting to the children of Britain and the Commonwealth in 1940 and accompaning the King and Queen on many of their tours.
After the war she travelled extensively. Her first tour abroad was to South Africa in 1947 during which she celebrated her twenty-first birthday and gave a broadcast address dedicating herself to the service of the Commonwealth.
Shortly after this she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, son of Prince Andrew of Greece and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Their first son, Charles, was born in 1948 and their daughter, Anne, in 1950. When her father became ill in 1952 she took his place for an official visit to Australia and New Zealand. She and Prince Philip were only on the first part of this proposed tour, in Kenya, when news filtered through that George VI had died. England had a new Queen, Elizabeth II.