Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, known as the Commonwealth realms, and their territories and dependencies, and head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and, in some of her realms, carries the additional title of Defender of the Faith.Upon her accession on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth 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. From 1956 to 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. At present, in addition to the first four of the aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. She is currently the longest lived and second longest reigning British monarch; only Queen Victoria, her great-great grandmother, reigned longer.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, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, 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.Elizabeth II's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland, the first state visit of an Irish president to Britain, and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. Elizabeth has seen major constitutional changes in her realms, such as devolution in the United Kingdom and the patriation of the Canadian constitution. She has also reigned through various wars and conflicts involving many of her realms.Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children and grandchildren, the investiture of the Prince of Wales, and the celebration of milestones such as her Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees in 1977, 2002, and 2012, respectively. Moments of sorrow for her include the death of her father at 56, the assassination of Prince Philip's uncle, Lord Mountbatten, the breakdown of her children's marriages in 1992 (a year deemed her annus horribilis), the death in 1997 of her son's former wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, and the deaths of her mother and sister in 2002. Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and severe press criticism of the royal family, but support for the monarchy and her personal popularity remain high.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, 10 June 1921) is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He is the longest-serving, oldest-ever spouse of a reigning British monarch, and the oldest-ever male member of the British royal family.A member of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, Prince Philip was born in Greece into the Greek and Danish royal families, but his family was exiled from Greece when he was a baby. After being educated in France, England, Germany, and Scotland, he joined the British Royal Navy in 1939, at the age of 18. From July 1939, he began corresponding with the 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth (his third cousin through Queen Victoria and the elder daughter and heiress presumptive of King George VI) whom he had first met in 1934. During World War II he served with the Mediterranean and Pacific fleets.After the war, Philip was granted permission by George VI to marry Elizabeth. Before the official engagement announcement, he abandoned his Greek and Danish royal titles, converted from Greek Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and became a naturalised British subject, adopting the surname Mountbatten, from his maternal grandparents. After an official engagement of five months, as Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, he married Elizabeth on 20 November 1947. Just before the marriage, the King granted him the style of His Royal Highness and the title Duke of Edinburgh. Philip left active service, having reached the rank of commander, when Elizabeth became queen in 1952. His wife, the Queen, made him a prince of the United Kingdom in 1957.Philip has four children with Elizabeth: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. He has eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Through a British Order in Council issued in 1960, descendants of Philip and Elizabeth not bearing royal styles and titles can use the surname Mountbatten-Windsor, which has also been used by some members who do hold titles, such as Charles and Anne.A keen sportsman, Philip helped develop the equestrian event of carriage driving. He is a patron of over 800 organisations and chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme for people aged 14 to 24 years.