Previous king: George VI (father)
Her heir: Prince Charles (son)
Elizabeth has reigned for more than fifty years, and has celebrated both Silver and Golden Jubilees.
There have been scientific advances during her reign, and people have become more prosperous and can buy different technical goods. Now people expect to use freezers, video recorders, computers, mobile phones and the internet. In some ways the advances have slowed. Concorde (see right) was the world's only supersonic passenger transport, developed jointly by Britain and France. It was both developed and phased out during Elizabeth's reign.
During Victorian times, Britain had a world-wide empire. This started to be broken up after World War II and the different countries became independent. Many joined the Commonwealth of Nations. The Queen is head of the Commonwealth, but neither she nor Britain has any political power over the other members. In 1973, Britain joined the Common Market (now the EU), an economic and political grouping of European countries. Britain has also stayed close to the United States of America. This is sometimes called the Special Relationship.
Wikipedia (external site) for further information
Kings and Queens index