40+ Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth Young

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Lisa SheridanGetty Images

Elizabeth II was never meant to be Queen. When she was born in April of 1926, she was unlikely to ever rule, as her father was the second son of the monarch. But when Edward VIII abdicated the throne and her father became King, Princess Elizabeth became the heir presumptive to the British throne.

Now, she’s the longest-reigning British monarch in history. In honor of this summer’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, take a look back at Princess Elizabeth’s childhood through rare vintage photographs, family portraits, and candid snapshots.

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1926

A newborn Princess Elizabeth is seen here in the arms of her mother, the then-Duchess of York.

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1926

A colorized version of that same portrait.

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1926

The future King George V enters the frame here, holding his first child’s hand.

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1926

Elizabeth’s grandmother, Queen Mary cradles the weeks-old Princess in this black-and-white portrait.

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1927

Even as a toddler, Princess Elizabeth enjoyed her jewels. Here she is posing in a necklace just a few weeks after her first birthday.

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1928

Another family portrait of the Duke and Duchess of York with their oldest daughter.

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1931

Here’s Elizabeth at the wedding of Lady May Cambridge and Captain Henry Abel Smith in a plush coat befitting her royal title.

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1932

The future Queen had a confident stride, even in her youth. Her she is walking in London in May of 1932.

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Circa 1932

How sweet is this portrait of royal siblings? Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister Princess Margaret was born in 1930, and this portrait was taken at some point when she was a toddler.

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1932

Queen Elizabeth’s favorite residence is widely believed to be Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she’s been going since she was a small child. In this photo, she’s seated in a horse-drawn carriage with her grandparents on the way back to Balmoral from church services.

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Circa 1932

Elizabeth out for a ride with her nanny.

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1933

Life as a royal child isn’t all pomp and ceremony. Here’s Princess Elizabeth playing with a doll in a toy pram on the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

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1933

Trooping the Colour has been one of the most significant celebrations on the royal calendar for years. Here, Elizabeth made an early appearance at the annual birthday parade, along with her grandmother, Queen Mary, aunt Princess Mary, and mother, Elizabeth the Duchess of York.

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1934

Princess Elizabeth was all smiles at the dress rehearsal of the Aldershot Tattoo, a military presentation.

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1935

Members of the royal family may seem the epitome of decorum, but even they have trouble getting children to pose for photos. Here is Elizabeth’s family at King George V’s Jubilee in 1935.

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1936

As much as the Queen loves horses, she also loves dogs. Here she is with her sister Margaret playing with a pup.

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1936

And here’s one more solo shot of Elizabeth with a corgi.

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1936

Here’s Princess Elizabeth, continuing to practice riding with her pony.

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1937

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret leaving Westminster Abbey in their matching outfits, after a rehearsal for the coronation of their father, King Goerge VI.

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1937

Here, King George VI’s family posed for an official coronation portrait.

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Circa 1938

The royals take a trip to the London Zoo to see the penguins.

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1940

Princess Elizabeth looks lovingly at her mother.

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1940

Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth address the children of the British Empire during WWII in a radio broadcast.

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1940

A family portrait (with the dogs, of course) on the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

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1940

A future monarch practicing her piano at Windsor Castle.

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1940

A family portrait taken in honor of the future Queen’s birthday.

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Circa 1940

Princess Elizabeth walking a Corgi in London’s Hyde Park.

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