Elizabeth II took the throne at age 25 — 1 of the numerous young queens who shaped Britain’s history


Consider remaining 25 years outdated and 5,000 miles from property when you get a phone offering the worst feasible information – your guardian has died. For Elizabeth Windsor, this get in touch with experienced a significantly bigger influence. She was now having on the biggest of tasks, shouldering the stress of the sovereign’s role.

Now a young spouse and mom of two, she would become a mother to the country, and to the Commonwealth of nations close to the globe. It would have been a ton to procedure for the younger queen on that working day in 1952.

Her son Charles is now going through that exact blend of mourning for the loss of a beloved dad or mum though simultaneously becoming catapulted into the role of monarch and head of condition. King Charles III had 70 decades to put together for this moment and a life span to act with the larger freedom of the heir.

Elizabeth did not have this luxury. As the daughter of the Duke of York, she was not the fast heir to the throne till her uncle Edward VIII’s abdication in 1936 quickly created her heir obvious.

In getting the throne, she joined the ranks of Britain’s cohort of reigning queens. This extended custom of female rule has remaining an indelible effect on Britain’s background.


This short article is component of Quarter Lifetime, a series about concerns influencing people of us in our twenties and thirties. From the difficulties of starting a career and having treatment of our psychological wellbeing, to the pleasure of starting a loved ones, adopting a pet or just building close friends as an adult. The article content in this series investigate the thoughts and provide solutions as we navigate this turbulent period of time of everyday living.

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The Queen’s namesake, Elizabeth I, was also 25 when she transitioned from princess to queen. Like Elizabeth II, she was a little bit unexpected hair, Elizabeth Tudor was in and out of the line of succession to her famous father Henry VIII for the duration of her childhood.

While her mom, Anne Boleyn, fought to ensure that Elizabeth’s declare would be excellent to her elder 50 %-sister Mary’s, Anne’s tumble made Elizabeth Tudor a bastard. Later on restored to the line of succession, Elizabeth was relegated to the rear of the immediate Tudor line, immediately after Mary and her 50 %-brother Edward VI. She expended yrs as a shadowy heir who was regarded as a risk to her 50 percent-sister and was briefly held prisoner at the Tower, just before at last coming to the throne in 1558 on the loss of life of Mary I.

Coming to the throne as a younger woman was a dual obstacle. Any youthful ruler confronted staying perceived as inexperienced or even incapable of rule. If they ended up continue to a baby or even in their teenagers, a regency or minority council could be set up to govern for them. Gals ended up typically second-alternative heirs who only arrived to the throne in the absence, or loss of life, of sons.

Painting of a young Elizabeth I in a red and gold dress, holding a book and wearing ornate jewelry
A portrait of the young Elizabeth I ahead of her accession at age 25.
Wikimedia Commons

Ladies could experience opposition as monarchs due to their gender. In 1558, the very same year as Elizabeth I’s accession, the Scottish religious reformer John Knox printed The To start with Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Gals, which derided female rule as “unnatural” and ineffective.

In spite of these problems, the two Elizabeths ended up not the only gals to develop into queen at a youthful age and in surprising circumstances. In 1689, the frequently neglected Mary II unseated her father James II in the so-identified as Glorious Revolutionjust shy of her 27th birthday.

As opposed to the two lengthy-lived Elizabeths, Mary II died only five yrs afterwards, provoking community outpourings of grief at the untimely dying of their younger queen. Mary’s unpredicted demise also remaining her grieving partner William III, with whom she had shared the dual monarchy, to rule on your own.

Girl Jane Grey, the to start with woman monarch of England, was only 16 in the course of her 9-working day reign. Like Mary II, Jane way too was accused of thieving a throne – that of her cousin, Mary Tudor, who moved swiftly to retake it and mail the teenage Jane very first to the Tower, and then to the executioner’s block.

Painting of young Queen Victoria wearing a white gown and holding roses in her hands, looking over her shoulder
Portrait of a younger Queen Victoria by the painter Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
Everett Selection / Shutterstock

Victoria was yet another teenage queen, just 18 at her accession in 1837. Her uncle, William IV, supposedly was established to hold on long enough to avoid a royal minority council governing for Victoria until finally she came of age.

Neither Victoria nor William IV would have come to the throne if yet another heiress, Princess Charlotte of Wales, had not died in childbirth at age 21 in 1817. Charlotte’s attractive and emotive tomb at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor – wherever Elizabeth II will be buried – visibly the of her early, surprising loss of life.

From unexpected heirs to senior sovereigns

Even though they had been sometimes surprising heirs, Britain’s young queens have transcended demanding accessions to turn into traditionally substantial sovereigns. Mary II’s shorter reign noticed an significant shift in the stability of electrical power among monarchy and parliament, marking the starting of the constitutional monarchy we even now keep today,

Elizabeth I reigned for 44 a long time, Victoria for 63 and Elizabeth II is Britain’s longest reigning monarch with her 70-calendar year reign. They all confronted the problem of assuming power at a younger age and in very hard circumstances. Elizabeth I had to cope with stabilizing the realm right after decades of spiritual and political turbulence beneath her father and siblings.

Victoria experienced to rebuild the track record of the monarchy just after the scandals of her Georgian predecessors. Elizabeth II arrived to the throne in the publish-war period when Britain’s empire was dissolving promptly.

Nevertheless these three females gave their names to eras that resonate in history – the Elizabethan and Victorian ages. Britain’s heritage has been profoundly and positively marked by female rule and formed by females who were in a position to shoulder the stress of sovereignty, usually at a young age, and take to the process of rulership.

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