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Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary (of the House of Windsor), Queen Elizabeth II is the current ruler of the United Kingdom of Great Britain (and the recognized queen of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other British commonwealths). She was born on April 21, 1926 to Prince Albert, Duke of York (later King George VI) and his wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (later known as the Queen Mother). Elizabeth became Queen upon the death of her father in 1952. Elizabeth married Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, and the couple bore four children: Charles (the heir apparent), Anne, Andrew and Edward. Elizabeth is one of the longest-reigning monarchs ever, entering her 59th year as of 2011; among British rulers, only Queen Victoria served longer. Before becoming Queen, she served in the Women's Auxiliary Territorial Service in World War II, driving a truck and being trained as a mechanic. She is the world's last surviving ruler to have served in uniform in World War II. Blessed with a history of good health, Elizabeth will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee (60th year as ruler) in 2012.
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