A few days ago I mentioned that Queen Elizabeth 11 had driven a truck in WW11.
With Anzac Day having just passed and with Her Maj having recently turned 90, it is worth having a quick look at an interesting aspect of the life of an amazing woman.
- When war broke out in 1939, Elizabeth’s father, George VI, was the reigning monarch. He had come to the throne in 1937 and reigned until his death of lung cancer in 1952.
- Elizabeth, born on 21 April 1926, was aged 13 when the war started. Her sister, Margaret, was aged 9.
- Suggestions that the children leave the capital, as with many of the children who were evacuated from London, were vetoed by Elizabeth’s mother - "The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave.”
- After turning 18, Elizabeth wanted a role in the war effort. This was refused by her father, who felt that the next in line to the throne should not be engaged in such pursuits. Elizabeth persisted and finally wore him down. In February 1945, just before her 19th birthday, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service as an honorary second subaltern. She trained as a driver and mechanic and was promoted to honorary junior commander five months later.
- At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. Elizabeth later said in a rare interview, "We asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. I remember we were terrified of being recognised ... I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.
- The Queen remains the only female member of the Royal Family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II.