- When World War II began in 1939, her majesty was just 13 years old, and was known as Princess Elizabeth.
- The Queen Mother refused to leave the UK, and the family stayed and supported their country, even as their home, Buckingham Palace, was bombed repeatedly.
- When she turned 18, at her own insistence, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), where she trained as a truck driver and mechanic.
- Now 94, she remains the only woman in the royal family to have served in the military.
World War II began when the Queen was just teenager. Back then, her mother, also named Elizabeth, was known as the Queen consort and the Queen was Princess Elizabeth.
Though many urged the Queen consort to evacuate her children, Elizabeth and Margaret, to Canada, she refused. “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave,” she said.
The family, like their country, endured hardship. Buckingham Palace was reportedly bombed nine times throughout the war. One of the worst bombings was in 1940, and happened while King George VI and his wife were in residence.
When Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, she insisted upon joining the Army, where she trained as a truck driver and mechanic. She remains the only female member of the royal family to have served in the Army.