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Elizabeth II (Елизавета II)

Elizabeth II became queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1952. In addition she is head of the Commonwealth.

Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926 in London, the first child of Albert, Duke of York (Герцог Йоркский), and his wife, formerly Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. She initially had little prospect of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated in December 1936. Her father then became George VI and she became heir.

Elizabeth and her younger sister Margaret were educated at home. On the outbreak of war in 1939, they were evacuated to Windsor Castle. In 1945, Elizabeth joined the war effort, training as a driver in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service (WATS) (Женская вспомогательная территориальная служба (существовала во время 2-й мировой войны)). In November 1947, she married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten (formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), who was created duke of Edinburgh. The couple have four children.

George VI died on 6 February 1952 while Elizabeth and Philip were in Kenya. She returned home immediately, and was crowned at Westminster Abbey in June 1953. For more than 50 years, during a period of great change in Britain, the queen has carried out her political duties as head of state, the ceremonial responsibilities of the sovereign and a large annual programme of visits in the United Kingdom as well as numerous foreign tours.

Despite the controversies and scandals surrounding her children and other members of the royal family, she remains a respected head of state (глава государства (в парламентских системах: официальное лицо, представляющее государство, но не осуществляющее политическую власть; в президентских системах может являться также и главой исполнительной власти)). In 2002, Elizabeth celebrated her golden jubilee (50 years on the throne) and in 2006 her 80th birthday.

The Queen meets thousands of people each year in the UK and overseas. Before meeting Her Majesty, many people ask how they should behave. The simple answer is that there are no obligatory codes of behaviour - just courtesy.

However, many people wish to observe the traditional forms of greeting.

For men this is a neck bow (from the head only) whilst women do a small curtsy. Other people prefer simply to shake hands in the usual way.

On presentation to The Queen, the correct formal address is 'Your Majesty' and subsequently 'Ma'am'.

You can write to Her Majesty at the following address:

Her Majesty The Queen

Buckingham Palace

London SW1A 1AA

If you wish to write a formal letter, you can open with 'Madam' and close the letter with the form 'I have the honour to be, Madam, Your Majesty's humble and obedient servant'.

This traditional approach is by no means obligatory. You should feel free to write in whatever style you feel comfortable.



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