Did you know that the Queen has two birthdays? Her actual birthday is on 21st April, while her official birthday, which the country and the Commonwealth all celebrate, is on 11th June. Of course, not everybody is lucky enough to have two birthdays. But then the Queen is, well, the Queen.
This year, the Queen will be celebrating her 90th birthday.
For today’s schoolchildren, looking back over her long life and reign can provide some fascinating lessons. The past 90 years have been characterised by momentous change – in politics, ideology, economics, society, culture and medicine – as well as being marked by an explosion in technological innovation.
Born between the First and Second World Wars, the Queen has witnessed numerous historical events including the Moon landing and formation of the United Nations, the discovery of penicillin, and inventions such as the jet engine, cat’s eyes, ballpoint pen and contact lenses – to name but a very few. And, not forgetting, the birth of the internet and the World Wide Web.
Why not take a moment to explore some, or all, of the above?
BY ROYAL APPOINTMENT
Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in 1926, the young Princess ascended the throne on 6th February 1952 at the age of 25, following the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place a year later on 2nd June 1953.
Since her accession, Elizabeth II has served as Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth realms comprise 16 independent sovereign states, including Jamaica, Barbados and Papua New Guinea.
Can you name the rest?
As British monarch, she is also the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
SOME FUN AND FASCINATING FACTS (SO FAR!):
The Queen is the country’s longest-serving monarch
She has four children, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren
She is a keen photographer and horsewoman
She has owned more than 30 corgis
She has been served by 12 Prime Ministers, from Winston Churchill (1951-55) to David Cameron (2010-present)
During that time, there have been 12 American Presidents
The Imperial State Crown is set with 2,868 diamonds
There have been 23 waxworks of the Queen at Madame Tussauds
She had a starring role as a Bond girl, appearing with 007 (Daniel Craig) in the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics
She has her own Facebook account
ICING ON THE CAKE
The Queen’s 90th birthday is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the achievements of a much-loved monarch, with grand events ranging from the lighting of 1,000 beacons on the day itself to a birthday party at Windsor Castle. There will also be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony, otherwise known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade.
As patron of over 600 charities and organisations, a street party for 10,000 people on The Mall in London will recognise the Queen’s commitment to helping others over her 63-year reign – as well as putting the people she has supported over the decades at the heart of the event.
As the Queen celebrates her own personal milestone, she can perhaps reflect on a life dedicated to the service of her country and the wider community, distinguished by hard work, strength of character and a profound sense of duty.
Truly, an inspiration to us all.
So, what is your school or local community doing to celebrate the Queen’s birthday? We’d be delighted to hear what you’ve been up to and, perhaps, see some photos. Follow us on Twitter @EducationWandP