The longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch in British history, Elizabeth is the constitutional head of 16 sovereign states and head of the Commonwealth of Nations. In her capacity as British monarch she also ceremonially heads the Church of England as its Supreme Governor.
The eldest daughter of George VI, she became the heiress presumptive when her father acceded the throne following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. During World War II, she began to undertake public duties and worked in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After the death of her father she acceded the throne in 1952.
Her reign has seen immense constitutional changes in Britain. This includes devolution to the regional governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Canadian patriation, African decolonization and the continuing evolution of the Commonwealth, of which she is the head. Personal tribulations have included the collapse of her children's marriages, a fire at Windsor Castle in 1992, the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the deaths of her mother and sister in 2002.
In 2017 she became the first British monarch to reach her Sapphire Jubilee. Long Live the Queen!