Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022): Photographs from Our Collections
Buckingham Palace announced this afternoon that Queen Elizabeth II has died. Queen Elizabeth II was the Head of State of Canada and the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Toronto Public Library holds hundreds of photos of the Queen from the 1930s to the 1990s. Below is a selection of these photos as well as a brief biography.
About Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London, England. Her parents were the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). One of her godparents, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, had served as Governor General of Canada.
Before becoming Queen, Elizabeth II married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1947, known as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh after his marriage. The Queen and Prince Philip had the longest lasting royal marriage in British history, ending with his death in 2021. They had four children: Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales; Princess Anne, The Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, The Duke of York; Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex.
When her father King George VI died in 1952, Princess Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II. She was 25 years old. Her coronation in 1953 was filmed and was the first transatlantic broadcast, with the footage sent by plane to Canada to be aired on CBC.
In Canada, the Queen was formally given the title "Queen of Canada" in 1953. Queen Elizabeth II took part in over 20 Canadian tours — more than any other Commonwealth country. During her tours, the Queen often met with Canadian Forces. Throughout her reign, she supported charities such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Nurses Association. Another connection to Canada: the Queen spoke French fluently.
The Queen's formal Canadian title was:
Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith
Photos from our collections
We've digitized 500+ photos featuring Queen Elizabeth II. Many of these photos document royal tours. All of the photos are from our Toronto Star Photograph Archive (part of our Baldwin Collection of Canadiana at Toronto Reference Library).