The Early Years of Queen Elizabeth II

by Dr. Stéphane Guevremont

Most Canadians are familiar with the longest reigning monarch in British history. For many of us, she has been the bedrock of stability and tradition since the first days of our lives, a string of uninterrupted decades with the same gentle, familiar face and comforting behaviour emanating from Buckingham Palace. Yet, Queen Elizabeth II would not have been such a steady pillar of longevity if not for her unique upbringing, first under the tutelage of very modern and strong family figures and, secondly, because of her dramatic experiences from the age of 13 to 19 years old under a direct and personal threat of war in England.

As such, her childhood influences and the personalities of her grand-parents and parents, especially their dominating female counterparts, shaped Princess Elizabeth quite early into a dedicated and responsible royal person. Moreover, caught under a turbulent year of constitutional crisis during the interwar period, and under enemy bombardment at home later on, young Elizabeth could not be otherwise more mature and serious in her future undertaking than that of the role demanded from her after her Coronation. These forgotten aspects of our current ever-lasting Queen should not be underestimated, but rather analyzed and taken into account to justify her record-breaking reign. She is, after all, part of what the Americans call “the Greatest Generation.”

On Sunday May 15 from 2-3pm Café Galt presents “Queen Elizabeth II: The Early Years”. Dr. Stéphane Guevremont’s lecture will elaborate on his research at the Galt Museum & Archives. Admission fees apply and includes exhibit access. Admission is free to Galt Museum annual pass holders.