Princess Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926. She was born not to be a Queen but only the niece of King Edward VIII and the first ten years of her life were very quiet and happy; she lived with her sister Margaret and her parents at 145 Piccadilly in the west end of London. She had a governess, who she called “Crowfie”, who taught her and her sister the basics of English, maths, music, drawing and other skills and they also took lessons in French and dance. Her grandfather King George V, loved to play games with her and he gave the nickname “Lilibet”, which is still her family name. In 1936 Princess Elizabeth became heir to the throne because King Edward VIII decided to abdicate. When she became the heir her sister Margaret said to her: “Does that mean that you will have to be the next Queen?” and she replied: “Yes, some day” and Margareth said: “Poor you”. On her father’s Coronation on 12 May 1937 she wrote in her diary: “At 5 o’ clock in the morning I was woken up by the band of the Royal Marines striking up just outside my window I leapt out of bed and so did Bobo… There were already some people in the stands and all the time people were coming to them in a stream with occasional pauses in between. Every now and then we were hopping in and out of bed looking at the bands and the soldiers…”. She was attracted by the mysticism of the rite of the coronation.
Elizabeth and Margareth spent the years of II World War first in Scotland and then at Windsor Castle. Her new teacher the Vice-Provost of Eton, Henry Marten, inspired in her a great admiration for Queen Victoria. Princess Margaret after the war remembered those days: “ After tea we would play games, something like that, and then we’d have supper because we were quite young and then we’d go to bed. Then the siren would go and we’d be woken up and dressed- probably in a siren suit and we’d set off on the long trot down the corridor, down the stairs, along another passage underneath, and then down the cold stone steps to this shelter which is at the bottom of the tower”. Princess Elizabeth made her first public speech on 13 October
1940, with a radio address to the children of the Commonwealth and in particular to all children who went abroad because of the war. Elizabeth did not like parties and Sarah Bradford quotes a friend as saying: “ She was a shy girl who didn’t find social life easy She quite enjoyed it once she could get going but it didn’t come absolutely naturally to her, she hadn’t the temperament and needed confidence.” At the end of the war she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) where she learnt how to dismantle and service heavy vehicles. On 8 May 1945 the V Day in London was celebrated also by the Royal Family who stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with Winston Churchill and they waved to the crowd that called them back onto the balcony eight times. Then the two young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret convinced their father to give them permission to go on to the streets with their friends to celebrate the victory and they went out from Buckingham Palace and run up and down St James’s Street.