A Royal Celebration: The Queen’s 90th Birthday
The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday on April 21st. Since then a host of events are continuing to be held to mark the longest-serving monarch’s official birthday. A number of the festivities will honour Queen Elizabeth’s love of horses and her “deep involvement” with the Armed Forces.
Princess Elizabeth, a 2nd Subaltern in the ATS standing in front of an ambulance, April 1945
The Second World War broke out in 1939 when Princess Elizabeth was 13 years old. In order to escape the bombings over London, she went to stay at Windsor Castle. During her time there she recorded her first ever radio broadcast for child evacuees on the BBC’s Children’s hour. In February 1945, at the age of 18, the young princess joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) at her own insistence. There she served with number 1 ‘Beaufront’ Company and trained as a mechanic and truck driver in Surrey. Elizabeth learned how to service, maintain and drive a range of heavy army vehicles and she graduated as a fully qualified driver. She told her friend “I never worked so hard in my life. But I enjoyed it very much.”
HRH Princess Elizabeth’s name tag sewn onto her ATS jacket made by Hawes & Curtis
Princess Elizabeth’s Auxiliary Territorial Service uniform was made up of a khaki battledress jacket and trousers made by Hawes & Curtis. Although the stiff wool looks scratchy and uncomfortable, the Princess liked it enough to send in some clothing coupons so she could keep it after the war ended. On Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1945, Elizabeth wore her ATS uniform to greet the cheering crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, 8 May 1945
Image 2 www.iwm.org.uk
Image 4 www.ibtimes.co.uk