August 21, 2016

2699 UNITED KINGDOM - Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II addresses politicians and
members of the House of Lords during the
State Opening of Parliament in Westminster.

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is, and has been since her accession in 1952, Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and Head of the Commonwealth. She is also Queen of 12 countries that have become independent since her accession: Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Elizabeth was born in London to the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and was the elder of their two daughters. She was educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936. She began to undertake public duties during the WWII, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

She is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. In 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history. Elizabeth has occasionally faced republican sentiments and severe press criticism of the royal family, but support for the monarchy remains high, as does her personal popularity.

The monarchy of the UK is a constitutional monarchy, so the monarch takes little direct part in government. Legislative power is exercised by the Queen-in-Parliament, by and with the advice and consent of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The State Opening of Parliament marks the beginning of a session of the Parliament and includes a speech from the throne known as the Queen's Speech.

The State Opening of Parliament takes place in the House of Lords chamber, usually in May or June, in front of both Houses of Parliament. The monarch, wearing the Imperial State Crown, reads a speech that has been prepared by his or her government outlining its plans for that year. Queen Elizabeth II has opened every session of Parliament since her accession, except in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward respectively.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the definitive series about which I wrote here.

References
Elizabeth II - Wikipedia
State Opening of Parliament - Wikipedia

Sender: Akvile (postcrossing) GB-572216
Sent from London (England / United Kingdom), on 10.08.2014 

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