31 vintage photos of a young Queen Elizabeth before she became Queen

Before Queen Elizabeth became the longest-reigning British monarch in history, she was Princess Elizabeth – a truck mechanic in the women’s branch of the British Army, avid horseback rider, and lover of corgis.

Here are vintage photos of Queen Elizabeth before she ascended the throne in 1952.


Queen Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926.

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Queen Elizabeth as a baby.

Her full name is Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor.


Queen Elizabeth grew up riding around royal grounds.

In 1927, when Queen Elizabeth was just a baby, she rode around Windsor Castle with her cousin Gerald Lascelles.


She attended the Royal Tournament at Olympia London in 1930 with her grandmother, Queen Mary.

The Royal Tournament was a pageant-style celebration of the armed forces.


The young princess attended the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 1931.

She rode with Queen Mary (left) and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, the Duchess of York (right).


She had a strong fashion sense even at a young age.

Then-Princess Elizabeth adjusted her stockings upon arriving at Olympia station in London in 1933.


She even dressed up for dentist appointments.

Princess Elizabeth was photographed leaving a dentist’s office in West End after an appointment in 1934.


At the marriage of the Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece, Queen Elizabeth was part of the wedding party.

From left to right standing: King George V, Princess Nicholas of Greece, Princess Marina, the Duke of Kent, Queen Mary and Prince Nicholas of Greece. Seated front left is Queen Elizabeth, front right is Lady Mary Cambridge.


She sat in the Duchess’ box at the Lyceum Theater to see a pantomime called “Dick Whittington.”

She attended with her little sister, Princess Margaret Rose, and her mother, Elizabeth, the Duchess of York.


Queen Elizabeth has always enjoyed horseback riding.

She rode horses with a riding master in Windsor Great Park in 1935.


On her 13th birthday, Queen Elizabeth went riding in Great Windsor Park and held a tea party.

Her birthday presents included a diamond bracelet and silk stockings.


And of course, Queen Elizabeth has always been fond of her corgis.

She took them along to Scotland in 1935.


She took them for walks in London’s Hyde Park when she was 9 years old.

Queen Elizabeth has had more than 30 corgis since 1945.


She and her sister, Princess Margaret, enjoyed playing with them and feeding them treats.

Queen Elizabeth held the Pembrokeshire Corgi while Princess Margaret fed the dog a biscuit.


She mastered the art of the royal wave by age 11.

A young Elizabeth waved to the crowd while leaving Buckingham Palace in 1937.


She joined King George V and Queen Mary on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in 1935.

They waved to the crowd after attending a Jubilee service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.


At 15, she got involved in public service.

She knitted garments for the poor, contributed funds to purchase cigarettes for the armed forces, and attended dances and programs of evacuated children.


She also became a first aid patrol leader in Girl Guides, the UK version of Girl Scouts.

She wore the uniform of a first aid patrol leader in Windsor Great Park in 1943.


Queen Elizabeth was a truck mechanic and driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service, a women’s branch of the British army.

She took a driving course at the ATS Center to become an officer.


She achieved the rank of Junior Commander.

She received a clock as a gift from the camp where she trained in 1945.


She attended a rally for the Women’s Land Army in 1945.

The Women’s Land Army helped women work in agriculture when men joined the armed forces during both World Wars.


She received an honorary Bachelor’s degree in music from London University in 1946.

The Earl of Athlone, Chancellor of London University, was her great uncle.


She had a private sitting room in Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms.


There, she could sit and admire her stamp collection.

Her books contained stamps sent from around the world.


She celebrated her 21st birthday in Natal National Park in South Africa.

In the background are the Drakensberg mountains.


She got engaged to Philip Mountbatten in 1947.

They first met at a wedding when they were children.


They married on November 20, 1947.

The ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey.


The two shared a loving look in their first official photo as newlyweds.

They honeymooned at the Broadlands House in Hampshire.


She opened a church army hotel for young women in London in 1948.

She wore a hat trimmed with a veil for the occasion.


She gave birth to Prince Charles that same year.

The couple lived in Malta for the first few years of their marriage, where Prince Philip was stationed with the Royal Navy.


She was photographed wearing a silver dress with a diamond tiara and pearl necklace in 1949.

Only married members of the royal family are allowed to wear crowns or tiaras.


She and her growing family sat for an informal portrait at Clarence House in 1951.

She’s pictured with Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne.

The following year, following the death of her father, she became Queen.