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From21 April 1926

Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is the Queen of 16 of the 53 member states in the Commonwealth of Nations. She is Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Upon her accession on 6 February 1952, Elizabeth became Head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service the following year was the first to be televised. From 1956 to 1992, the number of her realms varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. Today, in addition to the first four of the aforementioned countries, Elizabeth is Queen of Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. She is the world's oldest reigning monarch as well as Britain's longest-lived. If still reigning on 10 September 2015, she will have become the longest-reigning British head of state and the longest-reigning female monarch in history, surpassing Queen Victoria.

Elizabeth was born in London as the elder daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and educated privately at home. Her father acceded to the throne on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive. She began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In 1947, she married Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

Elizabeth's many historic visits and meetings include a state visit to the Republic of Ireland, the first state visit of an Irish president to the United Kingdom, and reciprocal visits to and from the Pope. She has seen major constitutional changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, Canadian patriation, and the decolonisation of Africa. She has also reigned through various wars and conflicts involving many of her realms.

In her capacity as queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II is styled, "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith". The title "Defender of the Faith" reflects the Sovereign's position as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, who is thus formally superior to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The original Latin phrase - Fidei Defensor - is referred to on all current British (and some Commonwealth) coins by the abbreviations F D or FID DEF. This reference was first added to British coins in 1714, during the reign of King George I. The decision of the Royal Mint to omit reference to the phrase (and other parts of the monarch's style) from the pre-decimal British "Godless Florin" in 1849, caused such a scandal that the coin was replaced.

Queen Elizabeth II reigned in...
Reigned asIn countryFromToCoins Issued
Queen Elizabeth II Pakistan, Dominion of 6 February 1952 23 March 1956
Queen Elizabeth II Cyprus, British 6 February 1952 16 August 1960
Queen Elizabeth II South Africa 6 February 1952 31 May 1961
Queen Elizabeth II British West Africa 6 February 1952 5 October 1965 7
Queen Elizabeth II Ceylon, British 6 February 1952 22 May 1972
Queen Elizabeth II Bahamas, British Crown Colony 6 February 1952 10 July 1973
Queen Elizabeth II New Guinea, Territory of 6 February 1952 15 September 1975
Queen Elizabeth II British Honduras 6 February 1952 21 September 1981 57
Queen Elizabeth II Hong Kong, British 6 February 1952 30 June 1997
Queen Elizabeth II United Kingdom 6 February 1952 963
Queen Elizabeth II Canada 6 February 1952
Queen Elizabeth II Australia 6 February 1952 476
Queen Elizabeth II New Zealand 6 February 1952 402
Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Mann Isle of Man 6 February 1952
Queen Elizabeth II Gibraltar 6 February 1952
Queen Elizabeth II Ghana 6 March 1957 1 July 1960
Queen Elizabeth II Nigeria 1 October 1960 1 October 1963 8
Queen Elizabeth II Sierra Leone 27 April 1961 19 April 1971
Queen Elizabeth II Tanganyika 9 December 1961 9 December 1962
Queen Elizabeth II Jamaica 6 August 1962
Queen Elizabeth II Cayman Islands 6 August 1962
Queen Elizabeth II Trinidad and Tobago 31 August 1962 1 August 1976
Queen Elizabeth II Uganda 9 October 1962 9 October 1963
Queen Elizabeth II Kenya 12 December 1963 12 December 1964
Queen Elizabeth II Malawi 6 July 1964 6 July 1966
Queen Elizabeth II Malta 21 September 1964 1 July 1974
Queen Elizabeth II Gambia 18 February 1965 24 April 1970
Queen Elizabeth II Cook Islands 4 August 1965 1
Queen Elizabeth II (unrecognised) Rhodesia 11 November 1965 2 March 1975
Queen Elizabeth II Guyana 26 May 1966 23 February 1970
Queen Elizabeth II Barbados 30 November 1966
Queen Elizabeth II Mauritius 12 March 1968 12 March 1992
Queen Elizabeth II Fiji 10 October 1970 6 October 1987 206
Queen Elizabeth II Bahamas 10 July 1973 224
Queen Elizabeth II Grenada 7 February 1974
Queen Elizabeth II Papua New Guinea 16 September 1975
Queen Elizabeth II Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
Queen Elizabeth II Tuvalu 1 October 1978
Queen Elizabeth II Saint Lucia 22 February 1979
Queen Elizabeth II Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27 October 1979
Queen Elizabeth II Belize 21 September 1981
Queen Elizabeth II Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1981
Queen Elizabeth II Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 September 1983
Queen Elizabeth II: Some useful external links
Her Majesty The Queen | The Royal Family The Royal Portraits | The Royal Mint
Elizabeth II - Wikipedia