From zero to 96: The Queen’s life in birthday portraits

Queen Elizabeth II - The Queen in birthday portraits

The Queen in birthday pictures over the years (Image: Royal Windsor Horse Show/HenryDalla/PA/Getty)

Many pictures were taken of the Queen throughout her life and it is quite possible that she was the most photographed person in history.

Some depict them at moments of great formality, such as their coronation or the opening of Parliament.

But others give more of a glimpse of what she was like in more relaxed times.

A photo was released each year to mark the monarch’s birthday – and they varied in tone, with some showing her majesty in a crown while others were more natural, showing her love of horses, for example.

Although the Queen is known to have had two birthdays, these pictures were released to celebrate her actual birthday on April 21, rather than her “birthday” in June, which usually occurred on the second Saturday that marked the moment she took the throne mounted.

Here are some of the Queen’s birthday portraits, showing her through the years from a child to her last year at age 96.

At the age of one month, 1926

Albert Frederick Arthur George, future George VI, and his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at the christening of their first daughter, Princess Elizabeth

Albert Frederick Arthur George, future George VI, and his wife Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon at the christening of their first daughter Princess Elizabeth (Image: Getty)

When the Queen was born less than a decade after the end of World War I, it was not customary for royals to take a photo on the steps of the Lindo Wing after giving birth.

So one of the earliest photos we have of her is at her christening, with her parents, the future George VI, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

She was their first child and they had another daughter, Princess Margaret.

At the age of two, 1928

Elizabeth II, pictured as an infant in 1928

Young Princess Elizabeth when she was just two years old (Image: @RoyalFamily)

This photo was not taken on her second birthday but was released on her birthday – 94 years later.

The royal family shared the sweet picture, which shows young Elizabeth with curly blonde hair with her hands resting on her cheeks.

At the time, she was not expected to ever become queen. But that changed when her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 and her father became king.

13 years old, 1939

Princess Elizabeth with a horse in Windsor on her 13th birthday

Princess Elizabeth with a horse in Windsor on her 13th birthday (Image: Getty)

Princess Elizabeth poses with a horse in Windsor wearing her riding gear.

Her lifelong love of horses began when she was four years old after her parents gave her a Shetland pony named Peggy. By the age of six she was an avid horse rider.

The exact number of horses she later owned as queen is not known, but it is believed that she had over 100 as of June of that year alone.

According to the Online Betting Guide (OLBG), over the past 35 years, the Queen has won 566 races and competed in 3,441 races in Britain with horses.

All of these wins add up to a massive £87 million in prize money.

21 years old, 1947

Princess Elizabeth is making a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa to celebrate her 21st birthday

This speech became famous as the one in which she pledged her life to her role as Queen (Image: Getty)

Her birthday photo this year was more formal, showing Princess Elizabeth pledging her service to the British Commonwealth and Empire in a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa.

During the tour with her parents and younger sister Margaret, she spoke about the difficulties of World War II.

In her famous speech, published in full here, she said she wished to “speak to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever their race and whatever language they speak”.

She vowed, “I declare before you all that my whole life, long or short, will be dedicated to your service and the service of our great imperial family of which we all belong.”

25 years old, 1951

Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain is pictured in London for her 25th birthday on April 21, 1951, wearing a gray silk dress, pearl necklace and diamond crown

She became queen in February 1952 and had her coronation a year later (Image: Getty)

This was her last birthday photo before she became Queen in February the following year when her father King George VI. died at the age of 56.

Then Princess Elizabeth was pictured in a gray silk dress, pearl necklace and diamond crown.

39 years old, 1965

Left to right: Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles

Left to right: Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles (Image: Getty)

The Queen with her husband Prince Philip and two of their children at Frogmore House in Windsor, while daffodils grow by the wayside.

Prince Edward, their youngest child, is pictured as a baby, while Princess Anne was 15 and Prince Charles was 17.

Prince Andrew was also present on the day, with other photos from the occasion showing him pushing the pram.

50 years old, 1976

Queen Elizabeth II poses at Windsor Castle on April 21, 1976 for her 50th birthday

The Queen posed for birthday photos at Windsor Castle (Image: Getty)

In this photo, Queen Elizabeth II poses at Windsor Castle.

She wears a light color block, which she would become known for in later years.

62 years old, 1988

Queen Elizabeth II smiles in the garden of Perth Government House on April 21, 1988

Elizabeth II is the only reigning monarch of Australia to have set foot on Australian soil. She visited 16 times (Picture: Getty)

This birthday photo was taken during a visit to Australia in the garden of Government House in Perth.

Thousands of people sang and wished her a happy birthday.

80 years old, 2006

Queen Elizabeth II sits in the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace in London April 19, 2006 as she looks at some of the cards sent to her for her 80th birthday

She also met members of the public on a tour outside Windsor Castle for her 80th birthday (Image: Getty)

Entering her ninth decade, the Queen sat in Buckingham Palace’s Regency Room and looked at some of the cards that had been sent to her.

Buckingham Palace said she had received 20,000 cards and 17,000 emails at the time.

She celebrated her birthday with a walking tour of the town of Windsor, followed by a dinner hosted in her honor by her son Prince Charles at Kew Palace in London.

96 years old, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II holds her fur ponies, Bybeck Nightingale (right) and Bybeck Katie

Queen Elizabeth II holds her fur ponies, Bybeck Nightingale (right) and Bybeck Katie (Image: Reuters)

The Queen is holding her fur ponies, Bybeck Nightingale and Bybeck Katie, in her latest birthday photo.

She has bred and raced horses for more than 60 years, with Queen-owned Thoroughbreds winning four of the five classic flat races – the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas, the Oaks and the St Leger – only the Derby eluding her.

This portrait was taken in the grounds of Windsor Castle in March, just before she turned 96, and was published by the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark her birthday.

Her love of the horse world has been part of her life since she was a young child and got her first pony at the age of four.

This week, the tributes left after her death confirmed this, with hand-drawn pictures of her with horses and even a copy of the Racing Post and a ticket to Ascot left in the flower garden at Green Park.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/18/from-nought-to-96-the-queens-life-in-birthday-portraits-17350992/ From zero to 96: The Queen's life in birthday portraits

Justin Scacco

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