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Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926[note 1]) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is also head of state of the Crown Dependencies.[1][2] HP Pavilion dv6-3180ea Battery

On her accession in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. HP Pavilion dv6-3298ea Battery

Between 1956 and 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. Today, in addition to the first four aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica,Barbados, the Bahamas, HP Pavilion dv6-3299ea Battery

Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. Her reign of 60 years is the second longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated during 2012. HP Pavilion dv6-3300 Battery

Elizabeth was born in London, and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne as George VI in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, HP Pavilion dv6-3300sg Battery

in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her coronation service took place in 1953, and was the first to be televised. HP Pavilion dv6-3350ef Battery

 

Her many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. In the United Kingdom, the Queen has seen major constitutional changes, opening both the National Assembly for Wales and Scottish Parliament.[3] HP Pavilion dv6-3350sf Battery

Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children, the births of her grandchildren, the investiture of the Prince of Wales and the celebration of milestones such as her Silver and Golden Jubilees in 1977 and 2002. HP Pavilion dv6-3351ef Battery

 

Major events in the Queen's life have included the involvement of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in a number of wars, including the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Korean War, the Falkland Islands War, wars with Iraq and theWar in Afghanistan.[4] HP Pavilion dv6-3351sf Battery

There have been times of personal grief which include the early loss of her father, the assassination of Prince Philip's uncle Lord Mountbatten, the breakdown of her children's marriages in 1992 (a year that she deemed annus horribilis), HP Pavilion dv6-3355ef Battery

the death in 1997 of her daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, and the deaths of her mother and sister in 2002. The Queen has at times faced severe criticism of the royal family from the press, and republican sentiments, both in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries, but her personal popularity remains high. HP Pavilion dv6-3355sf Battery

 

Elizabeth was the first child of Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI), and his wife, Elizabeth. Her father was the second son of King George V and Queen Mary, and her mother was the youngest daughter of Scottish aristocrat Claude Bowes-Lyon, HP Pavilion dv6-3362ef Battery

14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. She was born by Caesarean section at 2.40 am (GMT) on 21 April 1926 at her maternal grandfather's London house: 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair.[5] The Anglican Archbishop of York, Cosmo Gordon Lang, HP Pavilion dv6-3362sf Battery

baptised her in the private chapel ofBuckingham Palace on 29 May.[6][note 2] She was named Elizabeth after her mother, Alexandra after George V's mother, who had died six months earlier, and Mary after her paternal grandmother.[7] Her close family called her "Lilibet".[8] HP Pavilion dv6-6000 Battery

George V cherished his granddaughter, and during his serious illness in 1929 her regular visits were credited in the popular press and by later biographers with raising his spirits and aiding his recovery.[9]HP Pavilion dv6-6000eg Battery

Elizabeth's only sibling was Princess Margaret, born in 1930. The two princesses were educated at home under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford, who was casually known as "Crawfie".[10] Lessons concentrated on history, HP Pavilion dv6-6001ea Battery

language, literature and music.[11] To the dismay of the royal family,[12] in 1950 Crawford published a biography of Elizabeth and Margaret's childhood years entitled The Little Princesses. The book describes Elizabeth's love of horses and dogs, HP Pavilion dv6-6001eg Battery

her orderliness, and her attitude of responsibility.[13] Others echoed such observations: Winston Churchill described Elizabeth when she was two as "a character. She has an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant."[14] Her cousin Margaret Rhodes described her as "a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved".[15]HP Pavilion dv6-6001sg Battery

  Heiress presumptive

As a granddaughter of the monarch in the male line, Elizabeth's full style at birth was Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York. She was third in the line of succession to the throne, behind her uncle, Edward, HP Pavilion dv6-6002eg Battery

Prince of Wales, and her father. Although her birth generated public interest, she was not expected to become queen as the Prince of Wales was still young and many assumed he would marry and have children of his own.[16]HP Pavilion dv6-6002sg Battery

 In 1936, when her grandfather, George V, died and her uncle Edward succeeded, she became second in line to the throne after her father. Later that year, Edward abdicated after his proposed marriage to divorced socialite Wallis Simpson provoked a constitutional crisis.[17]HP Pavilion dv6-6003eg Battery

 Elizabeth's father became king, and she became heiress presumptive, with the style Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth.[18] If her parents had had a son, he would have been heir apparent and above her in the line of succession.[19]HP Pavilion dv6-6004sa Battery

Elizabeth received private tuition in constitutional history from Henry Marten, Vice-Provost of Eton College,[20] HP Pavilion dv6-6005ea Battery

and learned French from a succession of native-speaking governesses.[21] A Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace Company, was formed specifically so she could socialise with girls her own age.[22] Later she was enrolled as a Sea Ranger.[21]HP Pavilion dv6-6005eg Battery

 

In 1939, Elizabeth's parents toured Canada and visited the United States. As in 1927, when her parents had toured Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth remained in Britain as her father thought her too young to undertake public tours.[23] HP Pavilion dv6-6005sg Battery

Elizabeth "looked tearful" as her parents departed.[24] They corresponded regularly,[24] and on 18 May, she and her parents made the first royal transatlantic telephone call.[23]HP Pavilion dv6-6006ea Battery

Second World War

From September 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, Elizabeth and Margaret stayed at Balmoral Castle, Scotland, until Christmas 1939, when they moved to Sandringham House, Norfolk.[25] From February to May 1940, they lived at Royal Lodge, HP Pavilion dv6-6007sg Battery

Windsor, until moving to Windsor Castle, where they stayed for most of the next five years.[26] The suggestion by senior politician Lord Hailsham that the two princesses should be evacuated to Canada was rejected by Elizabeth's mother; she declared, HP Pavilion dv6-6007TX Battery

"The children won't go without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave."[27]At Windsor, the princesses staged pantomimes at Christmas in aid of the Queen's Wool Fund, which bought yarn to knit into military garments.[28]HP Pavilion dv6-6008eg Battery

 In 1940, the 14-year-old Elizabeth made her first radio broadcast during the BBC's Children's Hour, addressing other children who had been evacuated from the cities.[29] She stated: HP Pavilion dv6-6011tu Battery

We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well.[29]HP Pavilion dv6-6013tu Battery

In 1943, at the age of 16, Elizabeth undertook her first solo public appearance on a visit to the Grenadier Guards, of which she had been appointed Colonel-in-Chief the previous year.[30] As she approached her 18th birthday, HP Pavilion dv6-6024tx Battery

the law was changed so that she could act as one of five Counsellors of State in the event of her father's incapacity or absence abroad, such as his visit to Italy in July 1944.[31] HP Pavilion dv6-6025tx Battery

In February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, as an honorary Second Subaltern with the service number of 230873.[32] She trained as a driver and mechanic,[33] and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months later.[34]HP Pavilion dv6-6027tx Battery

  During the war, plans were drawn up to quell Welsh nationalism by affiliating Elizabeth more closely with Wales.[35] Welsh politicians proposed that Elizabeth be made Princess of Wales on her 18th birthday. The idea was supported by Home SecretaryHerbert Morrison, HP Pavilion dv6-6042sf Battery

but rejected by the King because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales, and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.[36] In 1946, she was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of Bards at theNational Eisteddfod of Wales.[37]HP Pavilion dv6-6051xx Battery

At the end of the war in Europe, on Victory in Europe Day, Elizabeth and her sister mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London. She later said in a rare interview, "we asked my parents if we could go out and see for ourselves. HP Pavilion dv6-6054ef Battery

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."[38] Two years later, the princess made her first overseas tour, HP Pavilion dv6-6054sf Battery

when she accompanied her parents through southern Africa. During the tour, in a broadcast to the British Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, she pledged: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."[39]HP Pavilion dv6-6063sf Battery

  Marriage Further information: Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh

Elizabeth met her future husband, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 and 1937.[40] After another meeting at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth in July 1939, HP Pavilion dv6-6087eg Battery

Elizabeth – though only 13 years old – fell in love with Philip, and they began to exchange letters.[41] They married on 20 November 1947 at Westminster Abbey. They are second cousins once removed through KingChristian IX of Denmark and third cousins through Queen Victoria. Before the marriage, HP Pavilion dv6-6090sf Battery

Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and adopted the style Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, taking the surname of his mother's British family.[42] Just before the wedding, he was created Duke of Edinburgh and granted the style of His Royal Highness.[43]HP Pavilion dv6-6090us Battery

The marriage was not without controversy: Philip had no financial standing, was foreign-born (though a British subject who had served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War), and had sisters who had married German noblemen with Nazi links.[44]HP Pavilion dv6-6091nr Battery

Marion Crawford wrote, "Some of the King's advisors did not think him good enough for her. He was a prince without a home or kingdom. Some of the papers played long and loud tunes on the string of Philip's foreign origin."[45] Elizabeth's mother was reported, in later biographies, HP Pavilion dv7-4000eh Battery

to have opposed the union initially, even dubbing Philip "The Hun".[46] In later life, however, she told biographer Tim Heald that Philip was "an English gentleman".[47]HP Pavilion dv7-4000sb Battery

Elizabeth and Philip received 2500 wedding gifts from around the world,[48] but Britain had not yet completely rebounded from the devastation of the war. Elizabeth still required ration coupons to buy the material for her gown, designed by Norman Hartnell.[49] HP Pavilion dv7-4000 Battery

In post-war Britain, it was not acceptable for the Duke of Edinburgh's German relations to be invited to the wedding, including Philip's three surviving sisters.[50] Edward, the former king, was not invited either.[51]HP Pavilion dv7-4001tx Battery

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, on 14 November 1948, less than one month after letters patent were issued by her father allowing her children to use the style and title of a royal prince or princess. They otherwise would not have been entitled to such a status as their father was no longer a royal prince.[52] A second child, Princess Anne, was born in 1950.[53]HP Pavilion dv7-4002TX Battery

Following their wedding, the couple leased Windlesham Moor near Windsor Castle, until 4 July 1949,[48] when they took up residence at Clarence House in London. At various times between 1949 and 1951, the Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in the British Protectorate of Malta as a serving Royal Navy officer. HP Pavilion dv7-4003tx Battery

He and Elizabeth lived intermittently, for several months at a time, in the Maltese hamlet of Gwardamanġia, at the Villa Gwardamanġia, the rented home of Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten. The children remained in Britain.[54]HP Pavilion dv7-4003xx Battery

 

George VI's health declined during 1951, and Elizabeth was soon frequently standing in for him at public events. In October of that year, she toured Canada, and visited President Truman in Washington, D.C.; on the trip, her private secretary, HP Pavilion dv7-4004ez Battery

 Martin Charteris, carried a draft accession declaration for use if the King died while she was on tour.[55] In early 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set out for a tour of Australia and New Zealand by way of Kenya. On 6 February 1952, HP Pavilion dv7-4004TX Battery

they had just returned to their Kenyan home, Sagana Lodge, after a night spent at Treetops Hotel, when word arrived of the death of Elizabeth's father. Philip broke the news to the new queen.[56] Martin Charteris asked her to choose a regnal name; HP Pavilion dv7-4005so Battery

she chose to remain Elizabeth, "of course".[57] She was proclaimed queenthroughout her realms, and the royal party hastily returned to the United Kingdom.[58] She and the Duke of Edinburgh moved into Buckingham Palace.[59]HP Pavilion dv7-4005sw Battery

With Elizabeth's accession it seemed likely that the royal house would bear her husband's name. Lord Mountbatten thought it would be the House of Mountbatten, as Elizabeth would typically have taken Philip's last name on marriage; HP Pavilion dv7-4006so Battery

however Elizabeth's grandmother Queen Mary and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill favoured the retention of the House of Windsor, and so Windsor it remained. The Duke complained, "I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children."[60] HP Pavilion dv7-4007eo Battery

After the death of Queen Mary on 24 March 1953 and the resignation of Churchill in 1955, the surnameMountbatten-Windsor was adopted in 1960 for Philip and Elizabeth's male-line descendants who do not carry royal titles.[61]HP Pavilion dv7-4010ev Battery

Amid preparations for the coronation, Princess Margaret informed her sister that she wished to marry Peter Townsend, a divorcee 16 years her senior, with two sons from his previous marriage. The Queen asked them to wait for a year; in the words of Martin Charteris, HP Pavilion dv7-4010sd Battery

"the Queen was naturally sympathetic towards the Princess, but I think she thought – she hoped – given time, the affair would peter out."[62] Senior politicians were against the match, and the Church of England did not permit re-marriage after divorce. HP Pavilion dv7-4010sg Battery

If Margaret contracted a civil marriage, she would be expected to renounce her right of succession.[63] Eventually, she decided to abandon her plans with Townsend.[64] In 1960, she married Antony Armstrong-Jones, who was created Earl of Snowdon the following year. They were divorced in 1978; she did not remarry.[65]HP Pavilion dv7-4010so Battery

Despite the death of Queen Mary ten weeks before, the coronation went ahead on 2 June 1953. Before she died, Mary had asked that the coronation not be delayed.[66] The ceremony in Westminster Abbey, except the anointing and communion, was televised for the first time,[67] and the coverage was instrumental in boosting the medium's popularity; HP Pavilion dv7-4010sv Battery

the number of television licences in the United Kingdom doubled to 3 million,[68] and many of the more than 20 million British viewers watched television for the first time in the homes of their friends or neighbours.[69] In North America, HP Pavilion dv7-4010sw Battery

just under 100 million viewers watched recorded broadcasts.[70] Elizabeth's coronation gown was commissioned from Norman Hartnell and embroidered on her instructions with the floral emblems of Commonwealth countries:[71] HP Pavilion dv7-4010tx Battery

English Tudor rose, Scots thistle, Welsh leek, Irishshamrock, Australian wattle, Canadian maple leaf, New Zealand silver fern, South African protea, lotus flowers for India and Ceylon, and Pakistan's wheat, cotton, and jute.[72]HP Pavilion dv7-4011eg Battery

Continuing evolution of the Commonwealth

Elizabeth witnessed, over her life, the ongoing transformation of the British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations.[73] By the time of her accession in 1952, her role as nominal head of multiple independent states was already established.[74]HP Pavilion dv7-4011el Battery

Spanning 1953–54, the Queen and her husband embarked on a six-month around-the-world tour. She became the first reigningmonarch of Australia and New Zealand to visit those nations.[75] During the tour, crowds were immense; HP Pavilion dv7-4011so Battery

three-quarters of the population of Australia were estimated to have seen the Queen.[76] Throughout her reign, Elizabeth has undertaken state visitsto foreign countries, and tours of Commonwealth ones. She is the most widely travelled head of state in history.[77]HP Pavilion dv7-4012eg Battery

 

In 1956, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet and British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden discussed the possibility of France joining the Commonwealth. The proposal was never accepted, and the following year France signed the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Union.[78] HP Pavilion dv7-4012TX Battery

In November 1956, Britain and France invaded Egypt in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to capture the Suez Canal. Lord Mountbatten claimed the Queen was opposed to the invasion, though Eden denied it. Eden resigned two months later.[79]HP Pavilion dv7-4013eg Battery

The absence of a formal mechanism within the Conservative Party for choosing a leader meant that, following Eden's resignation, it fell to the Queen to decide whom to commission to form a government. Eden recommended that she consult Lord Salisbury (the Lord President of the Council). HP Pavilion dv7-4013el Battery

Lord Salisbury and Lord Kilmuir (the Lord Chancellor) consulted the Cabinet,Winston Churchill, and the Chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee, as a result of which the Queen appointed their recommended candidate: Harold Macmillan.[80]HP Pavilion dv7-4013so Battery

The Suez crisis and the choice of Eden's successor led in 1957 to the first major personal criticism of the Queen. In a magazine, which he owned and edited,[81] Lord Altrincham accused her of being "out of touch".[82] HP Pavilion dv7-4013tx Battery

Altrincham was denounced by public figures and physically attacked by a member of the public appalled at his comments.[83] Six years later in 1963, Macmillan resigned and advised the Queen to appoint the Earl of Home as prime minister, advice that she followed.[84] HP Pavilion dv7-4014eo Battery

The Queen again came under criticism for appointing the Prime Minister on the advice of a small number of ministers, or a single minister.[84] In 1965, the Conservatives adopted a formal mechanism for electing a leader, thus relieving her of involvement.[85]HP Pavilion dv7-4015ew Battery

 

In 1957, she made a state visit to the United States, where she addressed the United Nations General Assembly. On the same tour, she opened the 23rd Canadian Parliament, becoming the first monarch of Canada to open a parliamentary session.[86] Two years later, she revisited the United States as Queen of Canada and toured Canada,[86][87] HP Pavilion dv7-4015ez Battery

despite learning upon landing atSt. John's, Newfoundland, that she was pregnant with her third child.[88] In 1961, she toured Cyprus, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Iran.[89] HP Pavilion dv7-4015sa Battery

On a visit to Ghana the same year, she dismissed fears for her safety, even though her host President Kwame Nkrumah, who had replaced her as head of state, was a target for assassins.[90] Harold Macmillan wrote: "The Queen has been absolutely determined all through ... HP Pavilion dv7-4015sg Battery

She is impatient of the attitude towards her to treat her as ... a film star ... She has indeed 'the heart and stomach of a man' ... She loves her duty and means to be a Queen."[90] Before her tour through parts of Quebec in 1964, HP Pavilion dv7-4015sl Battery

the press reported that extremists within the Quebec separatist movement were plotting the Queen's assassination.[91][92][93] No attempt was made, but a riot did break out while she was in Montreal; the Queen's "calmness and courage in the face of the violence" was noted.[94]HP Pavilion dv7-4015ss Battery

Elizabeth's pregnancies with Princes Andrew and Edward in 1959 and 1963, respectively, mark the only times she has not performed the State Opening of the British parliamentduring her reign.[95] HP Pavilion dv7-4016eg Battery

practices. Her first royal walkabout, meeting ordinary members of the public, took place during a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.[96]HP Pavilion dv7-4017ez Battery

The 1960s and 1970s saw an acceleration in the decolonisation of Africa and the Caribbean. Over 20 countries gained independence from Britain as part of a planned transition to self-government. In 1965, however, HP Pavilion dv7-4019sz Battery

Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith declared unilateral independence in opposition to moves toward majority rule. Although the Queen dismissed Smith in a formal declaration and the international community applied sanctions against Rhodesia, Smith's regime survived for over a decade.[97]HP Pavilion dv7-4020ec Battery

 

In February 1974, British Prime Minister Edward Heath called a general election in the middle of the Queen's tour of the Austronesian Pacific Rim and she had to fly back to Britain, interrupting the tour.[98] The election resulted in a hung parliament; HP Pavilion dv7-4020em Battery

Heath's Conservatives were not the largest party, but could stay in office if they formed a coalition with the Liberals. Heath only resigned when discussions on forming a coalition government foundered, after which the Queen asked the Leader of the Opposition, Labour'sHarold Wilson, to form a government.[99]HP Pavilion dv7-4020eo Battery

A year later, at the height of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam was dismissed from his post by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, after the Opposition-controlled Senate rejected Whitlam's budget proposals.[100] As Whitlam had a majority in the House of Representatives, HP Pavilion dv7-4020sa Battery

Speaker Gordon Scholes appealed to the Queen to reverse Kerr's decision. Elizabeth declined, stating that she would not interfere in decisions reserved by the Constitution of Australia for the governor-general.[101] The crisis fuelled Australian republicanism.[100]HP Pavilion dv7-4021tx Battery

 

In 1977, Elizabeth marked the Silver Jubilee of her accession. Parties and events took place throughout the Commonwealth, many coinciding with the Queen's associated national and Commonwealth tours. The celebrations re-affirmed the Queen's popularity, HP Pavilion dv7-4022tx Battery

despite virtually coincident negative press coverage of Princess Margaret's separation from her husband.[102] In 1978, Elizabeth endured a state visit to the United Kingdom by Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, and his wife Elena,[103]HP Pavilion dv7-4023so Battery

 though privately she thought they had "blood on their hands".[104] The following year brought two blows: one was the unmasking of Anthony Blunt, former Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, as a communist spy; the other was the assassination of her relative and in-law Lord Mountbatten by the Provisional Irish Republican Army.[105]HP Pavilion dv7-4024so Battery

 

According to Paul Martin, Sr., by the end of the 1970s the Queen was worried the Crown "had little meaning for" Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.[106] Tony Benn said that the Queen found Trudeau "rather disappointing".[106]HP Pavilion dv7-4024tx Battery

 Trudeau's supposed republicanism seemed to be confirmed by his antics, such as sliding down banisters at Buckingham Palace and pirouetting behind the Queen's back in 1977, and the removal of various Canadian royal symbols during his term of office.[106HP Pavilion dv7-4025eo Battery

]In 1980, Canadian politicians sent to London to discuss the patriation of the Canadian constitution found the Queen "better informed on ... Canada's constitutional case than any of the British politicians or bureaucrats".[106]HP Pavilion dv7-4025ew Battery

 She was interested in the constitutional debate after the failure of Bill C-60, which would have affected her role as head of state.[106] Patriation removed the role of the British parliament in the Canadian constitution, but the monarchy was retained. HP Pavilion dv7-4025ss BatteryIn addition to performing traditional ceremonies, she also instituted new

Trudeau said in his memoirs: "The Queen favoured my attempt to reform the Constitution. I was always impressed not only by the grace she displayed in public at all times, but by the wisdom she showed in private conversation."[107]HP Pavilion dv7-4025tx Battery

During the 1981 Trooping the Colour ceremony, and only six weeks before the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, six shots were fired at the Queen from close range as she rode down The Mall on her horse, Burmese. HP Pavilion dv7-4026eo Battery

Police later discovered that the shots were blanks. The 17-year-old assailant, Marcus Sarjeant, was sentenced to five years in prison and released after three.[108] The Queen's composure and skill in controlling her mount were widely praised.[109]HP Pavilion dv7-4026tx Battery

 From April to September 1982, the Queen remained anxious[110] but proud[111] of her son, Prince Andrew, who was serving with British forces during the Falklands War. On 9 July, the Queen awoke in her bedroom at Buckingham Palace to find an intruder,Michael Fagan, HP Pavilion dv7-4027so Battery

in the room with her. Remaining calm, and through two calls to the palace police switchboard, she spoke to Fagan while he sat at the foot of her bed until assistance arrived seven minutes later.[112] HP Pavilion dv7-4028eo Battery

Though she hosted PresidentRonald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982, and visited his Californian ranch in 1983, she was angered when his administration ordered the invasion of Grenada, one of her Caribbean realms, without her foreknowledge.[113]HP Pavilion dv7-4027tx Battery

 

Intense media interest in the opinions and private lives of the royal family during the 1980s led to a series of sensational stories in the press, not all of which were entirely true.[114] As Kelvin MacKenzie, editor of The Sun, told his staff: HP Pavilion dv7-4028tx Battery

"Give me a Sunday for Monday splash on the Royals. Don't worry if it's not true – so long as there's not too much of a fuss about it afterwards."[115] Newspaper editor Donald Trelford wrote in The Observer of 21 September 1986: HP Pavilion dv7-4029tx Battery

"The royal soap opera has now reached such a pitch of public interest that the boundary between fact and fiction has been lost sight of ... it is not just that some papers don't check their facts or accept denials: they don't care if the stories are true or not." HP Pavilion dv7-4030ed Battery

It was reported, most notably in The Sunday Times of 20 July 1986, that Elizabeth was worried that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's economic policies fostered social divisions, and was alarmed by high unemployment, a series of riots, HP Pavilion dv7-4030ek Battery

the violence of a miners' strike, and Thatcher's refusal to apply sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The sources of the rumours included royal aide Michael Shea and Commonwealth Secretary-GeneralShridath Ramphal, but Shea claimed his remarks were taken out of context and embellished by speculation.[116] HP Pavilion dv7-4030em Battery

Thatcher reputedly said the Queen would vote for the Social Democratic Party – Thatcher's political opponents.[117] Thatcher's biographer John Campbell claimed "... the report was a piece of journalistic mischief-making".[118] HP Pavilion dv7-4030er Battery

Belying reports of acrimony between them, Thatcher later conveyed her personal admiration for the Queen,[119] and after Thatcher's replacement by John Major, Elizabeth gave two honours in her personal gift to Thatcher: appointment to the Order of Merit and the Order of the Garter.[120]HP Pavilion dv7-4030ew Battery

  In 1987, the elected Fijian government was deposed in a military coup. Elizabeth, as head of state, supported the attempts of the Governor-General, Ratu SirPenaia Ganilau, to assert executive power and negotiate a settlement. HP Pavilion dv7-4030ss Battery

Coup leader Sitiveni Rabuka deposed Ganilau, abolished the monarchy, and declared Fiji a republic.[121] By the start of 1991, republican feeling in Britain had risen because of press estimates of the Queen's private wealth, which were contradicted by the palace, HP Pavilion dv7-4031eo Battery

and reports of affairs and strained marriages among her extended family.[122] The involvement of the younger royals in the charity game show It's a Royal Knockout was ridiculed,[123] and the Queen was the target of satire.[124]HP Pavilion dv7-4031sd Battery

  1990s

In 1991, in the wake of victory in the Gulf War, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to address a joint session of the United States Congress.[125] The following year, she attempted to save the failing marriage of her eldest son, Charles, by counselling him and his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, to reconcile.[126]HP Pavilion dv7-4031tx Battery

In a speech on 24 November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of her accession, the Queen called 1992 her annus horribilis, meaning horrible year.[127] In March, her second son Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and his wife Sarah, Duchess of York, separated. HP Pavilion dv7-4032eo Battery

In April, her daughter Anne, Princess Royal, divorced her husband Captain Mark Phillips.[128] During a state visit to Germany in October, angry demonstrators in Dresden threw eggs at her,[129] and in November Windsor Castle suffered severe fire damage. HP Pavilion dv7-4033tx Battery

The monarchy received increased criticism and public scrutiny.[130] In an unusually personal speech, Elizabeth said that any institution must expect criticism, but suggested it be done with "a touch of humour, gentleness and understanding".[131] HP Pavilion dv7-4034tx Battery

Two days later, Prime Minister John Major announced reforms of the royal finances that had been planned since the previous year, including the Queen paying income tax for the first time, starting in 1993, and a reduction in thecivil list.[132] HP Pavilion dv7-4035es Battery

In December, Charles and Diana formally separated.[133] The year ended with a lawsuit as the Queen sued The Sun newspaper for breach of copyright when it published the text of her annual Christmas message two days before its broadcast. The newspaper was forced to pay her legal fees, and donated £200,000 to charity.[134]HP Pavilion dv7-4035sa Battery

In the ensuing years, public revelations on the state of Charles and Diana's marriage continued.[135] Even though support for republicanism in Britain seemed higher than at any time in living memory, republicanism remained a minority viewpoint and Elizabeth herself had high approval ratings.[136] HP Pavilion dv7-4035so Battery

Criticism was focused on the institution of monarchy itself and the Queen's wider family rather than the Queen's own behaviour and actions.[137] In consultation with Prime Minister Major, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, her private secretary Robert Fellowes, HP Pavilion dv7-4035tx Battery

and her husband, she wrote to Charles and Diana at the end of December 1995, saying that a divorce was desirable.[138] A year after the divorce, which took place in 1996, Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997. HP Pavilion dv7-4036tx Battery

The Queen was on holiday with her son and grandchildren at Balmoral. Diana's two sons wanted to attend church, and so the Queen and Prince Philip took them that morning.[139] After that single public appearance, for five days the Queen and the Duke shielded their grandsons from the intense press interest by keeping them at Balmoral where they could grieve in private.[140]HP Pavilion dv7-4038ca Battery

 The royal family's seclusion caused public dismay.[141] Pressured by the hostile reaction, the Queen agreed to a live broadcast to the world and returned to London to deliver it on 5 September, the day before Diana's funeral.[142] HP Pavilion dv7-4038tx Battery

In the broadcast, she expressed admiration for Diana, and her feelings "as a grandmother" for Princes William and Harry.[143] As a result, much of the public hostility evaporated.[143]HP Pavilion dv7-4039tx Battery

In 2002, Elizabeth marked her Golden Jubilee as queen. Her sister and mother died in February and March, respectively, and the media speculated as to whether the Jubilee would be a success or a failure.[144] She again undertook an extensive tour of her realms, HP Pavilion dv7-4040ed Battery

which began in Jamaica in February, where she called the farewell banquet "memorable" after a power cut plunged the King's House, the official residence of the Governor-General, into darkness.[145] As in 1977, there were street parties and commemorative events, HP Pavilion dv7-4040ek Battery

and monuments were named to honour the occasion. A million people attended each day of the three-day main Jubilee celebration in London,[146] and the enthusiasm shown by the public for Elizabeth was greater than many journalists had predicted.[147]HP Pavilion dv7-4040sa Battery

Though generally healthy throughout her life, in 2003 she had keyhole surgery on both knees, and in June 2005 she cancelled several engagements after contracting a bad cold. In October 2006, HP Pavilion dv7-4040sb Battery

she missed the opening of the new Emirates Stadium because of a strained back muscle that had been troubling her since the summer.[148] Two months later, she was seen in public with abandage on her right hand, which led to press speculation of ill health.[149] She had been bitten by one of her corgis while she was separating two that were fighting.[150]HP Pavilion dv7-4040sf Battery

 

In May 2007, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported claims from unnamed sources that the Queen was "exasperated and frustrated" by the policies of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, that she had shown concern that the British Armed Forceswere overstretched in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that she had raised concerns over rural and countryside issues with Blair repeatedly.[151] HP Pavilion dv7-4040sp Battery

She was, however, said to admire Blair's efforts to achieve peace in Northern Ireland.[152] On 20 March 2008, at the Church of Ireland St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, the Queen attended the first Maundy service held outside of England and Wales.[153] At the invitation of Irish President Mary McAleese, in May 2011 the Queen made the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a British monarch.[154]HP Pavilion dv7-4040ss Battery

Elizabeth addressed the United Nations for a second time in 2010, again in her capacity as queen of all her realms and Head of the Commonwealth.[155] UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon introduced her as "an anchor for our age".[156] HP Pavilion dv7-4040tx Battery

During her visit to New York, which followed a tour of Canada, she officially opened a memorial garden for the British victims of the 11 September attacks.[156] The Queen's visit to Australia in October 2011, her 16th visit since 1954, was called her "farewell tour" in the press because of her age.[157]HP Pavilion dv7-4045ea Battery

Eliabeth's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 marks 60 years as queen, with celebrations throughout her realms, the wider Commonwealth, and beyond. In a message released on Accession Day, the Queen stated: "In this special year, HP Pavilion dv7-4045eb Battery

as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness ... I hope also that this Jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart".[158] HP Pavilion dv7-4045er Battery

She and her husband undertook an extensive tour of the United Kingdom, while her children and grandchildren embarked on royal tours of other Commonwealth realms on the Queen's behalf.[159][160][161] On 4 June, Jubilee beacons will be lit around the world.[162]HP Pavilion dv7-4047ea Battery

She is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, and the second-longest-serving current head of state (after King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand). She does not intend to abdicate,[163] though the proportion of public duties performed by Prince Charles may increase as Elizabeth reduces her commitments.[164]HP Pavilion dv7-4050ea Battery

She is scheduled to open the 2012 Summer Olympics on 27 July and the Paralympics on 29 August in London. Her father, George VI, opened the 1948 London Olympics, and her great-grandfather, Edward VII, opened the 1908 London Olympics. Elizabeth also opened the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada, and Prince Philip opened the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.[165]HP Pavilion dv7-4050eb Battery

  Public perception and character

Since Elizabeth rarely gives interviews, little is known of her personal feelings. As a constitutional monarch, she has not expressed her own political opinions in a public forum. She does have a deep sense of religious and civic duty, and takes her coronation oath seriously.[166]HP Pavilion dv7-4050ec Battery

 Aside from her official religious roleas Supreme Governor of the established Church of England, she personally worships with that church and with the national Church of Scotland.[167] She has demonstrated support for inter-faith relations, HP Pavilion dv7-4050ed Battery

and has met with leaders of other religions, including three popes: John XXIII, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. A personal note about her faith often features in her annual Royal Christmas Message broadcast to the Commonwealth, HP Pavilion dv7-4050ei Battery

such as in 2000, when she spoke about the theological significance of the millennium marking the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ: HP Pavilion dv7-4050em Battery

To many of us, our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ's words and example.[168]HP Pavilion dv7-4050eo Battery

 

She is the patron of over 600 organisations and charities.[169] Her main leisure interests include equestrianism and dogs, especially her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.[170] Scenes of a relaxed, informal home life are occasionally acted out; she and her family, from time to time, prepare a meal together and do the washing up afterwards.[171]HP Pavilion dv7-4050er Battery

 

In the 1950s, as a young woman at the start of her reign, Elizabeth was depicted as a glamorous "fairytale Queen".[172] After the trauma of the war, it was a time of hope, a period of progress and achievement heralding a "new Elizabethan age".[173]HP Pavilion dv7-4050ev Battery

Lord Altrincham's accusation in 1957 that her speeches sounded like those of a "priggish schoolgirl" was an extremely rare criticism.[174] In the late 1960s, attempts to portray a more modern image of monarchy were made in the television documentaryRoyal Family, HP Pavilion dv7-4050ez Battery

and by televising Prince Charles's investiture as Prince of Wales.[175] She took to wearing in public clothes that consist mostly of solid-colour overcoats and decorative hats, which allow her to be seen easily in a crowd.[176]HP Pavilion dv7-4050sg Battery

 

At her Silver Jubilee in 1977, the crowds and celebrations were genuinely enthusiastic,[177] but in the 1980s public criticism of the royal family increased, as the personal and working lives of Elizabeth's children came under media scrutiny.[178]HP Pavilion dv7-4050sy Battery

Elizabeth's popularity sank to a low point in the 1990s. Under pressure from public opinion, she began to pay income tax for the first time, and Buckingham Palace was opened to the public.[179] Discontent with the monarchy reached its peak on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, though the Queen's popularity rebounded after her live broadcast to the world five days after Diana's death.[180]HP Pavilion dv7-4051nr Battery

 

In November 1999, a referendum in Australia on the future of the Australian monarchy favoured its retention in preference to an indirectly elected head of state.[181] Polls in Britain in 2006 and 2007 revealed strong support for Elizabeth,[182] and referenda in Tuvalu in 2008 and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 2009 both rejected proposals to become republics.[183]HP Pavilion dv7-4051sg Battery

 

Elizabeth's personal fortune has been the subject of speculation for many years. Forbes magazine estimated her net worth at around US$450 million in 2010,[184] but official Buckingham Palace statements in 1993 called estimates of £100 million "grossly overstated".[185]HP Pavilion dv7-4052sg B

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 Jock Colville, who was her former private secretary and a director of her bank, Coutts, estimated her wealth in 1971 at £2 million (the equivalent of about £21 million today[186]).[187][188] The Royal Collection, which includes artworks and the Crown Jewels, is not owned by the Queen personally and is held in trust,[189] HP Pavilion dv7-4053cl Battery

as are the occupied palaces in the United Kingdom such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle,[190] and the Duchy of Lancaster, a property portfolio valued at £383 million in 2011.[191] Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle are privately owned by the Queen.[190]HP Pavilion dv7-4053eg Battery

The British Crown Estate – with holdings of £7.3 billion in 2011[192] – is held in trust for the nation, and cannot be sold or owned by Elizabeth in a private capacity.[193]HP Pavilion dv7-4054ca Battery

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Elizabeth has held titles throughout her life, as a granddaughter of the monarch, as a daughter of the monarch, through her husband's titles, and eventually as Sovereign. In common parlance, she is The Queen or Her Majesty. HP Pavilion dv7-4054eg Battery

Officially, she has a distinct title in each of her realms: Queen of Canada in Canada, Queen of Australia in Australia, etc. In the Channel Islandsand Isle of Man, which are Crown dependencies rather than separate realms, HP Pavilion dv7-4055sf Battery

she is known as Duke of Normandy and Lord of Mannrespectively. Additional styles include Defender of the Faith and Duke of Lancaster. When in conversation with the Queen, the practice is to initially address her as Your Majesty and thereafter as Ma'am.[194]HP Pavilion dv7-4055sg Battery

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She has received honours and awards from around the world, and has held honorary military positions throughout the Commonwealth, both before and after her accession. HP Pavilion dv7-4057sf Battery

Arms

From 21 April 1944, Elizabeth's arms consisted of a lozenge bearing the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, differenced with a label of three points argent, the centre point bearing a Tudor rose and the first and third a cross of St. George.[195] HP Pavilion dv7-4058ca Battery

After her accession as Sovereign, she adopted the royal coat of arms undifferenced. The design of the shield is also used on the Royal Standard of the United Kingdom. Elizabeth has personal flags for use in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, and elsewhere.[196]HP Pavilion dv7-4060eb Battery

Some authors have claimed that Anthony Blunt, an MI5 agent, acting on orders from the British Royal Family, made a successful secret trip to Schloss Friedrichshof in Germany towards the end of the war in order to retrieve sensitive letters between the Duke of Windsor and Adolf Hitler and other leading Nazis.[79HP Pavilion dv7-4060em Battery

] What is certain is that George VI sent the Royal Librarian, Owen Morshead, accompanied by Blunt, then working part-time in the Royal Library as well as for British intelligence, to Friedrichshof in March 1945 to secure papers relating to the German Empress Victoria, HP Pavilion dv7-4060si Battery

the eldest child of Queen Victoria. Looters had stolen part of the castle's archive, including surviving letters between daughter and mother, as well as other valuables, some of which were only later recovered in Chicago after the war. The papers rescued by Morshead and Blunt, and those returned by the American authorities from Chicago, were deposited in the Royal Archives.[80]HP Pavilion dv7-4060us Battery

After the war, the Duke admitted in his memoirs that he admired the Germans, but he denied being pro-Nazi. Of Hitler he wrote: "[the] Führer struck me as a somewhat ridiculous figure, with his theatrical posturings and his bombastic pretensions."[81] HP Pavilion dv7-4061nr Battery

However, during the 1960s he said privately to a friend, Lord Kinross, "I never thought Hitler was such a bad chap."[82] In the 1950s, journalist Frank Giles heard the Duke blame British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden for helping to "precipitate the war through his treatment of Mussolini ... that's what he did, he helped to bring on the war ... and of course Roosevelt and the Jews".[83]HP Pavilion dv7-4063ca Battery

Later life

The couple returned to France and spent the remainder of their lives essentially in retirement as the Duke never occupied another official role after his wartime governorship of the Bahamas. The Duke's allowance was supplemented by government favours and illegal currency trading.[33][84][85] HP Pavilion dv7-4065dx Battery

The City of Paris provided the Duke with a house at 4 Route du Champ d'Entraînement, on the Neuilly-sur-Seine side of the Bois de Boulogne, for a nominal rent.[86] The French government exempted him from paying income tax,[84][87] HP Pavilion dv7-4065ei Battery

and the couple were able to buy goods duty-free through the British embassy and the military commissary.[87] In 1951, the Duke produced a ghost-written memoir, A King's Story, in which he expresses disagreement with liberal politics.[12]HP Pavilion dv7-4065ez Battery

 The royalties from the book added to their income.[84] Nine years later, he penned a relatively unknown book, A Family Album, chiefly about the fashion and habits of the Royal Family throughout his life, from the time of Queen Victoria to that of his grandfather and father, and his own tastes. HP Pavilion dv7-4065sf Battery

 

The Duke and Duchess effectively took on the role of celebrities and were regarded as part of café society in the 1950s and 1960s. They hosted parties and shuttled between Paris and New York; Gore Vidal, who met the Windsors socially, reported on the vacuity of the Duke's conversation.[88] The couple doted on the pug dogs they kept.[89]HP Pavilion dv7-4065si Battery

 

In June 1953, instead of attending the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London, the Duke and Duchess watched the ceremony on television in Paris. The Duke said that it was contrary to precedent for a Sovereign or former Sovereign to attend any coronation of another. HP Pavilion dv7-4067sf Battery

The Duke was paid to write articles on the ceremony for the Sunday Express and Women's Home Companion, as well as a short book, The Crown and the People, 1902–1953.[90]HP Pavilion dv7-4066sf Battery

 

In 1955, they visited President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the White House. The couple appeared on Edward R. Murrow's television interview show Person to Person in 1956,[91] and a 50-minute BBC television interview in 1970. That year, they were invited as guests of honour to a dinner at the White House by President Richard Nixon.[92]HP Pavilion dv7-4069wm Battery

 

The Royal Family never fully accepted the Duchess. Queen Mary refused to receive her formally. However, the Duke sometimes met his mother and brother George VI, and attended George's 1952 funeral. Queen Mary remained angry with Edward and indignant over his marriage to Wallis: HP Pavilion dv7-4070eb Battery

"To give up all this for that", she said.[93] In 1965, the Duke and Duchess returned to London. They were visited by Elizabeth II, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood. A week later, HP Pavilion dv7-4070eo Battery

the Princess Royal died, and they attended her memorial service. In 1967, they joined the Royal Family for the centenary of Queen Mary's birth. The last royal ceremony the Duke attended was the funeral of Princess Marina in 1968.[94]HP Pavilion dv7-4070ez Battery

 He declined an invitation from Elizabeth II to attend the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, replying that Prince Charles would not want his "aged great-uncle" there.[95]HP Pavilion dv7-4070er Battery

In the 1960s, the Duke's health deteriorated. In December 1964, he was operated on by Michael DeBakey in Houston for an aneurysm of the abdominal aorta, and in February 1965 a detached retina in his left eye was treated by Sir Stewart Duke-Elder. HP Pavilion dv7-4070sf Battery

In late 1971, the Duke, who was a smoker from an early age, was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent cobalt therapy. Queen Elizabeth II visited the Windsors in 1972 while on a state visit to France; however, only the Duchess appeared with the royal party for a photocall. HP Pavilion dv7-4070us Battery

DEATH

On 28 May 1972, the Duke died at his home in Paris, less than a month before his 78th birthday. His body was returned to Britain, lying in state at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. The funeral service was held in the chapel on 5 June in the presence of the Queen, HP Pavilion dv7-4071nr Battery

the Royal Family, and the Duchess of Windsor, who stayed at Buckingham Palace during her visit. The coffin was buried in the Royal Burial Ground behind the Royal Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert atFrogmore.[96]HP Pavilion dv7-4073ca Battery

 Until a 1965 agreement with Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke and Duchess had previously planned for a burial in a purchased cemetery plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, where the father of the Duchess was interred.[97]HP Pavilion dv7-4073nr Battery

 

Frail, and suffering increasingly from senile dementia, the Duchess died 14 years later, and was buried alongside her husband as "Wallis, Duchess of Windsor".[98]HP Pavilion dv7-4074ca Battery

 

The denial of the style Her Royal Highness to the Duchess of Windsor caused conflict, as did the financial settlement – the Government declined to include the Duke or Duchess on the Civil List, and the Duke's allowance was paid personally by George VI. HP Pavilion dv7-4075sb Battery

However, the Duke compromised his position with his brother by concealing the extent of his financial worth when they informally agreed on the amount of the allowance. HP Pavilion dv7-4077cl Battery

Edward's wealth had accumulated from the revenues of the Duchy of Cornwallpaid to him as Prince of Wales and ordinarily at the disposal of an incoming king. George VI also paid Edward for Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle. HP Pavilion dv7-4075sf Battery

These properties were Edward's personal property, inherited from his father, George V, and thus did not automatically pass to George VI on his accession.[61] Relations between the Duke of Windsor and the rest of the Royal Family were strained for decades. HP Pavilion dv7-4078ca Battery

Edward became embittered against his mother, writing to her in 1939: "[your last letter][N 3] destroy[ed] the last vestige of feeling I had left for you ... [and has] made further normal correspondence between us impossible."[62] HP Pavilion dv7-4080er Battery

In the early days of George VI's reign the Duke telephoned daily, importuning for money and urging that the Duchess be granted the style of Royal Highness, until the harassed king ordered that the calls not be put through.[63]HP Pavilion dv7-4080sb Battery

The Duke had assumed that he would settle in Britain after a year or two of exile in France. King George VI (with the support of their mother Queen Mary and his wife Queen Elizabeth) threatened to cut off Edward's allowance if he returned to Britain without an invitation.[61]HP Pavilion dv7-4080ss Battery

In October 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited Germany, against the advice of the British government, and met Adolf Hitler at his Obersalzberg retreat. The visit was much publicised by the German media. During the visit the Duke gave full Nazi salutes.[64] HP Pavilion dv7-4080us Battery

The former Austrian ambassador, Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, who was also a second cousin once removed and friend of George V, believed that Edward favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism, HP Pavilion dv7-4083cl Battery

and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany.[65] Edward's experience of "the unending scenes of horror"[66] during the First World War led him to support appeasement. Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Nazi Germany and thought thatAnglo-German relations could have been improved through Edward if it were not for the abdication. Fellow Nazi Albert Speerquoted Hitler directly: HP Pavilion dv7-4085eb Battery

"I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us."[67]HP Pavilion dv7-4085es Battery

The Duke and Duchess settled in France. On the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, they were brought back to Britain by Louis Mountbatten on board HMS Kelly, and the Duke, although an honorary field marshal, HP Pavilion dv7-4085sf Battery

was made a major-generalattached to the British Military Mission in France.[33] In February 1940, the German Minister in The Hague, Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, claimed that the Duke had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium.[68] HP Pavilion dv7-4087cl Battery

When Germany invadedthe north of France in May 1940, the Windsors fled south, first to Biarritz, then in June to Spain. In July the pair moved toLisbon, Portugal, where they lived at first in the home of Ricardo de Espírito Santo, a Portuguese banker with both British and German contacts.[69]HP Pavilion dv7-4090ca Battery

Nazi agents plotted unsuccessfully to persuade the Duke to support the German effort and wrote up plans to kidnap him. AsLord Caldecote wrote to Winston Churchill, "[the Duke] is well-known to be pro-Nazi and he may become a centre of intrigue."[70] HP Pavilion dv7-4090eb Battery

A "defeatist" interview with the Duke that was widely distributed may have served as the last straw for the British government: Prime Minister Winston Churchill threatened the Duke with a court-martial if he did not return to British soil.[71]HP Pavilion dv7-4090es Battery

 In August, a British warship dispatched the Duke and Duchess to the Bahamas, where, in the view of Churchill, they could do the least damage to the British war effort. HP Pavilion dv7-4090sf Battery

 

The Duke was installed as Governor of the Bahamas. He did not enjoy the position, and referred to the islands as "a third-class British colony".[72] The British Foreign Office strenuously objected when the Duke and Duchess planned to tour aboard a yacht belonging to a Swedish magnate, HP Pavilion dv7-4091sf Battery

Axel Wenner-Gren, whom American intelligence wrongly believed to be a close friend of Luftwaffe commander Hermann Göring.[73] The Duke was praised, however, for his efforts to combat poverty on the islands, HP Pavilion dv7-4095eb Battery

although he was as contemptuous of the Bahamians as he was of most non-white peoples of the Empire. He said of Étienne Dupuch, the editor of the Nassau Daily Tribune: "It must be remembered that Dupuch is more than half Negro, and due to the peculiar mentality of this Race, they seem unable to rise to prominence without losing their equilibrium."[21]HP Pavilion dv7-4100 Battery

 He was praised, even by Dupuch, for his resolution of civil unrest over low wages in Nassau in 1942, even though he blamed the trouble on "mischief makers – communists" and "men of Central European Jewish descent, who had secured jobs as a pretext for obtaining a deferment of draft".[74] He resigned the post on 16 March 1945.[33]HP Pavilion dv7-4105TX Battery

Many historians have suggested that Hitler was prepared to reinstate Edward as king in the hope of establishing a fascist Britain.[75] During the occupation of France, the Duke asked the German forces to place guards at his Paris and Riviera homes: HP Pavilion dv7-4106TX Battery

they did so.[76] It is widely believed that the Duke and Duchess sympathised with fascism before and during the Second World War, and were moved to the Bahamas to minimise their opportunities to act on those feelings. In 1940 he said: HP Pavilion dv7-4130sa Battery

"In the past 10 years Germany has totally reorganised the order of its society ... Countries which were unwilling to accept such a reorganisation of society and its concomitant sacrifices should direct their policies accordingly."[77] HP Pavilion dv7-4131sa Battery

The Allies became sufficiently disturbed by German plots that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida, in April 1941. HP Pavilion dv7-4140ea Battery

Duke Carl Alexander of Württemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) had told the Federal Bureau of Investigationthat the Duchess had been sleeping with the German ambassador in London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had remained in constant contact with him, and had continued to leak secrets.[78]HP Pavilion dv7-4142eo Battery

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