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For most people, the title "the Queen" can only evoke one person: Queen Elizabeth II, the long-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. Elizabeth II is an icon, which makes it easy to forget that she's also just a person like all of us. One thing she doesn't have in common with the rest of us, though, is the sheer variety of names, nicknames, and titles she carries. Here's a quick guide:
At birth, the Queen was christened Elizabeth Alexandra Mary. Her first name honors her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, while her two middle names are nods to her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra, and her paternal grandmother, Queen Mary. Technically, she has a surname of Windsor, but senior members of the royal family do not use last names. Instead, because her father was then Prince Albert, Duke of York, she was officially titled Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York.
Father - King - George - VI - Style
When her father became King George VI, she retained the style of Her Royal Highness but dropped the "York," instead becoming simply The Princess Elizabeth. For a few years, between her 1947 marriage to Prince Philip and her 1952 accession to the throne, she had a pretty unwieldy title that included her own royal title and her husband's ducal title: Her Royal Highness the Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh.
Once George VI died and Elizabeth became queen, the question of what she would call herself was immediately raised. In some cases, monarchs do not use their own first names, but instead take a "regnal name" that is typically one of their middle names. Her own father did this: his real first name was Albert, but he used George, one of his middle names, as a regnal name in order to honor his father, George V, and imply a sense of continuity and...
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