47 Photos Of Queen Elizabeth II Way Before She Looked Like Your Grandmother

Published April 21, 2017
Updated January 16, 2019

From her World War 2 service to her coronation, these photos of a young Queen Elizabeth II capture her transformation from princess to queen.

Young Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth, a 2nd Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service , wearing overalls and standing in front of an L-plated truck. In the background is a medical lorry.Public Domain

Queen Elizabeth At ATS Training Centre
Princess Elizabeth (center) with officers of the ATS Training Centre, 1945.IWM

British Royal Family During World War 2
Left to right: Mr. Alexander with Princess Elizabeth, Admiral Sir Andrew B. Cunningham (First Sea Lord), and Vice Admiral Sir Frederic Wake Walker (Third Sea Lord), 1944.IWM

Princess Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth watching parachutists dropping during a visit to airborne forces in England in the run-up to D-Day.IWM

Princess Elizabeth During World War 2
The Queen and Princess Elizabeth talk to paratroopers in front of a Halifax aircraft during a tour of Airborne forces, 1944.IWM

Pictures Of A Young Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth inspecting an honour guard during a Royal visit to 2nd (Armoured) Battalion Grenadier Guards, 5th Guards Armoured Brigade, Guards Armoured Division, at Hove, 1944.IWM

Pictures Of A Younger Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth reviews a march past by a two thousand five hundred strong contingent of Mediterranean Station personnel. Also standing on the reviewing podium are Lieutenant Commander HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Sir Gerald Creasy (Governor of Malta) and Admiral Sir John H Edelsten (Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean), 1951.

British Royals Watch World War 2 Battleship
The Queen and the Princesses watching ammunition being brought on board the battleship.IWM

Shipyard Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth talking to an official as she walks through the crowded shipyard on arrival.IWM

Young Queen Elizabeth Photos
Princess Elizabeth acknowledging the cheers of the crowd from the launching platform. Behind her are Mr. Alexander (left) and Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham.IWM

Princess Elizabeth During World War 2
Princess Elizabeth, a 2nd Subaltern in the ATS standing in front of an ambulance, 1945.Public Domain

Queen Elizabeth King George And Winston Churchill
Princess Elisabeth, Queen Elisabeth, Winston Churchill, George VI, and Princess Margaret on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on VE-Day.Public Domain

Young Queen Elizabeth II With Prince Andrew
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, appear on June 12, 1961 on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following the Trooping the Colour - Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Parade, at The Royal Horseguards in London.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Royal Family At Buckingham Palace In 1945
The Queen Elizabeth (2nd-L, future Queen Mother), her daughter Princess Elizabeth (4th-L, future Queen Elizabeth II), Queen Mary (C) , Princess Margaret (5th-L) and the King George VI (R), pose at the balcony of the Buckingham Palace in December 1945.AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth With Princess Anne
An undated picture shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right) standing next to her daughter Princess Anne.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Anointment Of Archbishop of Canterbury
A canopy of cloth of gold is placed over Elizabeth II by the four Garter Knights prior to her anointing by the Archbishop of Canterbury at coronation ceremonies in London's Westminster Abbey, on June 2, 1953. For anointing, the Queen was disrobed of her crimson Parliament robes and took off her diadem and jewels herself.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Elizabeth II After Being Proclaimed Queen
Queen Elizabeth II is seen through the window of the royal carriage on June 2, 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminster Abbey in London. Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Lunch At Windsor Castle In 1969
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (center), her husband Prince Philip, their children Princess Anne (left) and Prince Charles are gathered for a lunch in 1969 at Windsor Castle, west of London.AFP/Getty Images

Royal Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II arrive at a railway station in London with her dogs of Corgis breed on October 20, 1970.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Pictures With Her Corgis
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King's Cross railway station in London 15 October 1969 with her four dogs of Corgis breed after holidays in Balmoral Castle in Scotland and before welcoming at Buckingham Palace US astronauts of Apollo 11 who walked on the Moon.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the bishop of Durham Lord Michael Ramsay (left) and the bishop of Bath and Wells Lord Harold Bradfield, walks to the altar during her coronation ceremony on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, London, as her maids of honor carry her train.-/AFP/Getty Images

Pictures Of British Coronation
Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the bishop of Durham Lord Michael Ramsay (left) and the bishop of Bath and Wells Lord Harold Bradfield, walks to the altar during her coronation ceremony on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, London, as her maids of honor carry her train.-/AFP/Getty Images

1953 Queen Elizabeth Coronation
General view taken on June 2, 1953 inside Westminster Abbey, London shows Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the bishop of Durham Lord Michael Ramsay and the bishop of Bath and Wells Lord Harold Bradfield during her coronation ceremony.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Coronation
Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher (left) presents on June 2, 1953 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with a sword, prior to the Coronation ceremony in London.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Young Queen Elizabeth II Wears The Crown
Queen Elizabeth II, surrounded by the bishop of Durham Lord Michael Ramsay (left) and the bishop of Bath and Wells Lord Harold Bradfield, receives homage and allegiance from her subjects during her coronation ceremony on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, London.-/AFP/Getty Images

Royal Family
Undated picture of the Queen Elizabeth II, the Prince Philip and their two children Prince Charles of England and Princess Ann of England posing in Balmoral.-/AFP/GettyImages

Prince Philip With Kids
Undated picture showing the Royal British couple, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their two children, Charles, Prince of Wales (left) and Princess Anne (right), circa 1951.OFF/AFP/Getty Images

Coronation At Westminster Abbey
Queen Elizabeth II (center) sits in Westminster Abbey, June 2, 1953 on her coronation day in London. Elizabeth married Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh on the 20th of November 1947 and was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. Her coronation was the first worldwide televised event.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Meets Bob Hope
American entertainer Bob Hope is greeted by Queen Elizabeth II of England after he performed the "Royal Performance" with the Blue Bell Girls in London, in 1967.STR/AFP/Getty Images

Riding A Horse Through Central London
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides on June 7, 1952 a horse side saddle and salutes during a Trooping of the Colour ceremony at Horse Guard's Parade, Central London.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Inspecting
Britain's Princess Elizabeth II, representing her father King George Vi, who is ill, inspects the Scots Guards at Windsor Castle, on May 26, 1951.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Official Coronation Photograph
Queen Elizabeth II poses with the royal sceptre on June 2, 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminster Abbey in London. Elizabeth was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Parade
The royal carriage of Queen Elizabeth II passes Buckingham Palace on its way to Westminster Abbey, on June 2, 1953, during the ceremony of coronation of the Queen. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London.-/AFP/Getty Images

King George VI With His Family
(From left to right): Princess Elizabeth (future Queen Elizabeth II), Philip Mountbatten (also the Duke of Edinburgh), Queen Elizabeth (future Queen Mother), King George VI and Princess Margaret pose in the Buckingham Palace on July 9, 1947 in London, the day the engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten was officially announced.-/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Power Walk
Photo taken on April 28, 1968 shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right), Prince Philip (center), Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Andrew, Duke of York, during "the Windsor horse trials", annual international horse show.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

King Haakon Visits London
From left: The Duke of Gloucester, Princess Elizabeth, her mother the Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, and the King Haakon VII of Norway, pose for a picture on June 6, 1951 in London at the beginning of King Haakon's visit to Britain.AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Procession
The royal carriage of Queen Elizabeth II passes along Victoria Embankment on its way to Westminster Abbey, on June 2, 1953, during the ceremony of coronation of the Queen. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London.-/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Royal Carriage
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are seen through the window of the royal carriage as they arrive, June 2, 1953 in Trafalgar Square. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London that day.STF/AFP/Getty Images

First Televised Royal Coronation
Portrait taken on June 2, 1953 shows Britain Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation, which was the first to be televised.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Side Horse
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides on June 7, 1952 a horse side saddle during a Trooping of the Colour ceremony at Horse Guard's Parade, Central London.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Meets The King Of Thailand
Sirikit of Siam (second from left), the queen consort and Bhumibol Adulyadej (left), King (Rama IX) of Thailand, are welcomed by Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, upon their arrival in the United Kingdom, in July 1960 in London.-/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Thailand
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right) arrives on February 10, 1972 at the Grand Palace in Bangkok during her official visit in Thailand.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II Poses With A Dead Tiger
In this picture taken on January 26, 1961, Britain's Queen Elizabeth (center) and Prince Philip (left) pose with the Maharaja (fourth from left) and Maharani (fifth from right) of Jaipur after a tiger shoot in Jaipur.STR/AFP/Getty Images

British Royal Family In 1951
Undated picture showing the Royal British couple, Queen Elizabeth II, and her husband Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with their two children, Charles, Prince of Wales (left) and Princess Anne (right), circa 1951.OFF/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Tonga
Photo taken on December 29, 1953 in Nukualofa shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Salote, Queen of Tonga, protected state under a Treaty of Friendship with Britain, during a visit of Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip (back), accompanied by Prince and husband of Salote, William Tungi, in the British Empire.STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Young Girl
Picture dated from 1933 of Princess Margaret (left), the younger sister of future Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (right). Margaret was born at Glamis Castle 21 August 1930. She was educated at home with her sister, and her first major state event was the coronation of her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I (later Queen Mother).AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth Ii Waving
Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd on June 2, 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Elizabeth married the Duke of Edinburgh on the 20th of November 1947 and was proclaimed Queen in 1952 at age 25. Her coronation was the first worldwide televised event.STF/AFP/Getty Images

Because Queen Elizabeth II has now reigned for a whopping 65 years, there are very few of us who can recall a time when she didn't sit atop the UK monarchy. And as the years go by, it likewise becomes more and more difficult for the world to remember the 90-year-old queen as anything other than elderly, albeit supremely distinguished.

What we mustn't forget is Elizabeth's track record of leadership and public service going all the way back to her youth during World War II.

She did her part during these tumultuous times of World War II when she was just a princess, accompanying her sister and mother as they toured the British armed forces to boost morale whenever they went.

Eventually, Elizabeth II wanted to do more to help the fight and in February 1945, she joined the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service, the female branch of the army. She trained as a driver and mechanic, drove a military truck, and was promoted to honorary Junior Commander five months later. Today, she is the last surviving head of state who served in uniform during World War II.

Seven years after the end of the war, she assumed the crown and a young Queen Elizabeth II began her royal march into a history that's still being written today.


After enjoying these photos of a young Queen Elizabeth II, check out a Queen Elizabeth II as a mechanic circa World War II, before looking at the lineage of the British royal family.

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