Queen Elizabeth II’s historic Platinum Jubilee has got everyone looking back on her extraordinary life and 70-year reign. In the days before becoming Her Majesty, Princess Elizabeth had far from the average upbringing.
That being said, the way she was educated was in line with wealthy families of that time. Born in Mayfair in 1926, she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
By 1930, she gained a sister following the birth of Princess Margaret. The family were thrust even further into the limelight after the Abdication of King Edward VIII, which promoted their father into the throne.
Like many girls born into privileged families, both Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were educated at home rather than going to school.
The pair were privately tutored and, after her father became King in 1936, Princess Elizabeth began studying constitutional history and law. This was adopted as she became heir presumptive (first in line to the throne) and duly wanted to prepare for her future role.
In addition to sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton, tuition was received from her father while the Archbishop of Canterbury also instructed her in religion. It is reported that much of Elizabeth’s education was overseen by her mother, the Queen Mother, who is said to have provided her with an understanding of her royal role, along with her grandmother Queen Mary.
Governess Marion Crawford, whom Elizabeth and Margaret dubbed Crawfie, took over Elizabeth’s early education once she had learned the basics of reading and writing, as well as playing the piano and dancing.
French was another skill that Princess Elizabeth learned, from a number of French and Belgian governesses. This has proved a useful area of expertise as her future role as the Queen would see her speak to ambassadors and heads of state from French-speaking countries, as well as visiting the areas of Canada that adopt this language.
Her education away from schools also enabled her to swim, learn to ride and study art and music. At the age of 13, Princess Elizabeth won the Children’s Challenge Shield at London’s Bath Club. Two years prior, when she was eleven, Princess Elizabeth enrolled as a Girl Guide, later becoming a Sea Ranger.