The Queen celebrated 70 years on the throne in 2022 (Picture: Aaron Chown – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Having been on the throne for 70 years – the first British monarch to achieve such a feat – it’s hard to imagine that Elizabeth almost didn’t become Queen.
Her Majesty the Queen kicked off her Platinum Jubilee celebrations with the Trooping the Colour parade – the first of many planned events. All weekend, the nation will celebrate 70 years of Queen Elizabeth II, but how did it all begin?
Born on April 21, 1926, during the reign of her grandfather George V, she was third in line to become Britain’s monarch.
No one would have pictured her taking to the throne, as her uncle Prince Edward was next, followed by her father Prince Albert, the Duke of York.
Edward was still young enough that he would have been expected to settle down and have children, and Albert still had time to have a son.
Protocol at the time, which has since been changed, meant boys were placed before their sisters regardless of who was born first.
For this reason, the Duke and Duchess of York expected their daughter to live a life largely out of the spotlight.
She could have ended up as a more minor royal such as Princess Beatrice or Eugenie if things turned out as expected.
Elizabeth celebrated her 18th birthday at Windsor Castle with King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother (Picture: Getty Images/AFP)
When she was a child, it was thought Elizabeth would have lived a relitavely quiet life as a minor royal (Picture: Marcus Adams)
Elizabeth’s father was also not expected to take to the throne, and was known as the ‘reluctant king’ (Picture: PA)
Queen Elizabeth and King George VI arriving with Princess Elizabeth, aged 11, and Princess Margaret at Central Hall, Westminster, for the coronation concert for children (Picture: PA)
Queen Elizabeth II has gone on to break many records during her time on the throne and is the oldest current monarch in the world (Picture: Bettmann Archive)
The odds of Elizabeth becoming Queen would have been even slimmer if her father had a son, due to since changed royal protocol (Picture: Getty Images)
While she ascended to the throne aged 25, the Queen’s coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey took place on on 2 June 1953, when she was aged 27 (Picture: Getty Images)
But all of that changed after George’s death in 1936. Edward succeeded then became the first English monarch to voluntarily renounce the throne.
He abdicated in December 1936 after less than a year as Head of State so he could marry American socialite Wallis Simpson.
Royals weren’t allowed to marry divorcees at the time due to their affiliation with the Church of England – another rule that has since changed.
Before Wallis divorced British shipping executive Ernest Aldrich Simpson, rumours of an affair with Edward were rife in American gossip columns and the Continental press.
The British media remained silent on this particular topic, but Edward marrying a divorcee was enough to be considered a scandal.
But despite this, he decided to follow his heart and ended up moving with Wallis to Paris to start a new life together, becoming the Duke of Windsor and living out the rest of his life largely away from the crown and country.
Edward had no children at the time, so it was Albert’s turn to be King, choosing the regal name of George in honour of his late father.
This meant Elizabeth, now 10, was first in line to the throne, but still this could have changed if she had a brother on the way.
But George had no more children and died on February 6, 1952, aged 56, meaning Princess Elizabeth was to become Queen Elizabeth II.
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Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee 2022
Dust off your Union Jack bunting, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee is finally here.
Taking place from Thursday, June 2, to Sunday, June 5, the celebrations mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking 70th year on the throne.
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