The Queen was the longest reigning monarch in British history and has been hailed for her unparalleled devotion to royal duty during more than 70 years on the throne.
She spent World War II in the safety of Windsor Castle with her younger sister, Princess Margaret, and delivered her first radio broadcast, speaking on Children’s Hour in 1940, at the age of 14.
During the war, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned to drive, and the 18-year-old became No 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor in 1945.
She turned 21 while on a tour of South Africa with her parents in 1947, and delivered a radio broadcast in which she pledged that her “whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”.
Elizabeth was already in love with the man she would marry - her blond-haired, blue-eyed distant cousin Prince Philip of Greece - the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg.
Their first publicised meeting was in 1939 when Elizabeth and her parents visited the naval college in Dartmouth where cadet Philip impressed Lilibet by jumping over the tennis nets.
They corresponded during the war and married in Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947 in a fairytale ceremony.
Within a year they produced an heir to the throne - Prince Charles - on November 14, 1948 and a second child, Princess Anne, on August 15, 1950.
They spent the idyllic early years of their marriage partly in Malta while the Duke was serving in the Royal Navy, living as much the life of an ordinary couple as they could.
With George VI’s health failing, Elizabeth was needed at home and Philip gave up his career to support his wife. Then, on February 6, 1952, George VI died.
The princess and Philip, who were away in Kenya on an official tour, had been married less than five years and their lives were to change irrevocably.
She was crowned monarch 16 months later in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.