As the Queen celebrates her 90th birthday, people all over the world are looking back at the life so far of Britain's longest reigning monarch.
As a little girl who was only third in line to the throne, in her early years there were no serious expectations that she would one day become Queen. Then her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Once King George VI was crowned in 1936 his daughter Elizabeth, known to family and friends as Lilibet, became the heir apparent. It was not a future she wanted according to her grandmother, who said Elizabeth actually prayed for her mother to have a son so he would take the throne instead. Duty soon became part of Elizabeth's nature though.
During the Second World War she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service. Then in 1947 she married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Just five years later, after the births of Prince Charles and Princess Anne, King George VI died and the reign of Queen Elizabeth II began.
The following years have been tumultuous for the Queen as a monarch, and a mother. There were times of war in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. Recessions threw the country into economic chaos, and put many of her subjects in dire financial need.
On a personal level, the Queen watched three of her four children divorce, and the media storm that followed the Wales' split lasted until Princess Diana died. After her death, the anti-monarchy feeling that had been gathering strength for several years intensified, and some thought the Queen would never regain her popularity. But she did.
As events are staged across the UK to celebrate her 90th year, it seems the Queen has never been more valued.
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