Key milestones in Queen Elizabeth II’s life

WATCH ABOVE: CBS News’ Mark Phillips looks back on the Queen’s milestones during her long reign.

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch Wednesday, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

Here are the key milestones in her life:

April 21, 1926: Born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary in Mayfair, London, the first child of the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later called the Queen Mother.

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On this day in 1900 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was born.  Here she is photographed with her daughters Princess Elizabeth (The future Queen Elizabeth II) and Princess Margaret in 1939. Following the outbreak of war in 1939, there was some suggestion that the Queen and her daughters should evacuate to North America or Canada. To this the Queen made her famous reply: "The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave." Thus throughout the Second World War the Queen and her children shared the dangers and difficulties of the rest of the nation. She was in Buckingham Palace when it was bombed in September 1940. She and the King visited badly damaged areas throughout the country after the air-raids, and toured Britain visiting hospitals, factories and troops. Her Majesty was Patron or President of some 350 organisations. She was Commandant-in-Chief of the Army and Air Force Women's Services, and for Women in the Royal Navy, and held other Service appointments. For many years she was President of the British Red Cross Society, and she was Commandant-in-Chief of the Nursing Division of the St John Ambulance Brigade. She was also Colonel-in-Chief or Honorary Colonel of many UK and overseas regiments, and Commandant-in-Chief of the Royal Air Force Central Flying School. And on her 100th birthday Her Majesty received, like other centenarians, a message of congratulations from The Queen. Image courtesy of Royal Collection Trust. #OnthisDay #TheQueenMother #TheQueen

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Dec. 10, 1936: Elizabeth becomes heir-apparent to the throne after King Edward VIII abdicates and her father becomes king.


Oct. 13, 1940: Elizabeth makes first public speech at age 14 on the BBC Children’s Hour to reassure children who had been separated from their parents during the Blitz.

1945: Elizabeth is made a Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, serving for Britain during World War II.

Nov. 20, 1947: Elizabeth marries Prince Philip Mountbatten of Greece and Denmark at Westminster Abbey.

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Nov. 14, 1948: Prince Charles, now Prince of Wales, heir-apparent to the throne, is born.

Aug. 15, 1950: Elizabeth’s second child and only daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal, is born.

June 2, 1953: Crowned Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey at the age of 25, upon the death of her father George VI. Many Britons bought their first television in order to watch the ceremony. The new monarch sets out on a tour of the Commonwealth, visiting places including Bermuda, Fiji, Tonga, Australia, and Gibraltar.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was the first worldwide televised event. STF/AFP/Getty Images
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd, 02 June 1953, after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are seen through the window of the royal carriage as they arrive, 02 June 1953 in Trafalgar Square. The Queen was solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey in London that day. STF/AFP/Getty Images

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Feb. 19, 1960: Elizabeth’s third child, Prince Andrew, is born.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh with their children, Prince Andrew (centre), Princess Anne (left) and Charles, Prince of Wales sitting on a picnic rug outside Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1960. Getty Images

March 10, 1964: Elizabeth’s fourth child, Prince Edward, is born.

May 1965: Elizabeth makes a historic visit to West Germany, the first German visit by a British monarch in 52 years.

1977: Elizabeth celebrates her Silver Jubilee, which marks 25 years on the throne.


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Continuing our look back at The Queen’s reign, we’re looking at the 1980s, a decade which saw political and religious barriers being broken down. History was made in 1982 when Pope John Paul II visited Britain, the first pope to do so for 450 years. The Queen, Head of the Church of England, received him at Buckingham Palace. In 1983, when this image was taken, The Queen awarded Mother Theresa with the Order of Merit in New Delhi. Ties with the Commonwealth were reinforced by visits to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean. They allowed The Queen to participate in key events in the countries' political independence. Australia's bicentenary year in 1988 was celebrated with visits by The Queen and Prince Philip as well as The Prince and Princess of Wales. During the visit, The Queen opened the new Parliament House in Canberra. Image copyright Press Association #TheQueen #MotherTeresa

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This is a Dec. 21, 1984 file photo of from left to right, the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince and Princess of Wales after the christening ceremony of Prince Harry in London.
This is a Dec. 21, 1984 file photo of from left to right, the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince and Princess of Wales after the christening ceremony of Prince Harry in London. PA, File via AP

1992: Elizabeth has what she describes as an “annus horribilis,” or a “horrible year.” The year sees marriages for three of her four children end. Also that year, a fire damages Windsor Castle. Public outcry over the cost of repairs amid a recession prompts the queen to volunteer to pay income taxes.

Aug. 31, 1997: Princess Diana dies in a car crash in Paris. Under public pressure to demonstrate her grief, Elizabeth makes an unprecedented TV broadcast in tribute to Diana’s memory.

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2002: Elizabeth marks 50 years of reign with her Golden Jubilee. The year also sees the deaths of Elizabeth’s mother and her sister, Margaret.

Dec. 20, 2007: Elizabeth becomes the longest-living British monarch, overtaking Victoria, who died at age 81.

May 2011: Elizabeth makes a historic visit to Ireland — the first visit by a British monarch since Irish independence.

2012: Elizabeth marks 60 years of her reign with a Diamond Jubilee.

Sep. 9, 2015: Elizabeth surpasses Queen Victoria and becomes the longest-serving monarch in British history.

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