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Social Studies Biographies
Queen Elizabeth II
|edHelper's suggested reading level:||grades 5 to 7|
|Flesch-Kincaid grade level:||5.42|
Long Live the Queen!
By Toni Lee Robinson
1 Many of us dream of being named king or queen, even for a day. We'd love to have people bow to us. We can see ourselves nodding nobly to our subjects. We'd really like telling people what to do! But what's it like to be royal for real? Life as a real king or queen might not be quite what we imagine. But Queen Elizabeth II should know. She is the longest reigning monarch ("MAHN-ark" - ruler) in modern history. She has been the queen of Great Britain for more than sixty-three years. In fact, she is queen of sixteen free countries called the Commonwealth realms. Around 140 million people live in these countries.
2 How do you get to be queen? Most royalty comes through family lines. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born into a royal family. In London on April 21, 1926, the Duchess of York gave birth to a daughter. The tiny girl was the granddaughter of King George V. Her father, the Duke of York, was the second son of the king. In Great Britain, it was the oldest son who would inherit the throne. The Duke's big brother, Edward, was to become king at his father's death. Edward wasn't married at the time. It was assumed, however, that he would marry and have children. Upon his death, the crown would then pass to his first son. (Girls didn't get to be queen unless there were no boys to be king. They could also be queen if they married a king.) Baby Elizabeth grew up as any child of the British royal family would. She and her family lived in one of the royal houses. She was cared for by a nanny. She was the favorite of her grandfather, King George V. He called the cute toddler "Lilibet."
3 The people of the United Kingdom watched Elizabeth grow. When she was three, Time magazine put her picture on its cover. She was educated by private tutors. Still, she wasn't a child of the oldest son. No one expected her to become queen. When Elizabeth was nine years old, the king, her beloved "Grandpa England," died. Her Uncle Edward became king. Then, a surprising turn of events changed everything. Edward had fallen in love with an American woman named Wallis Simpson. The romance caused an uproar. Simpson had been married before. Church rules wouldnï¿½t allow the king to marry a divorced woman. Edward decided he would rather marry his sweetheart than be king. He abdicated (gave up) the throne. As the next male heir, Elizabeth's father was crowned king. Suddenly, Elizabeth was next in line for the crown! After that she was called "Her Royal Highness, the Princess Elizabeth."
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For the complete story with questions: click here for printable
English Reading Comprehension: Long Live the Queen!
Spanish Reading Comprehension: ¡Larga vida a la Reina!
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