Queen Elizabeth: The world's greatest living monarch?

All About History magazines
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In All About History issue 113, on sale now, learn how Queen Elizabeth went from being an unlikely heir to the throne of Britain to one of nation's greatest monarchs. Raised in a time of crisis for the monarchy and through war, the young Elizabeth showed the bearing and fortitude that would come to epitomise her reign in later years, but how did these events impact her way of thinking and approach to her role on the throne? As the queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, marking 80 years on the throne, All About History looks to reveal more.

The magazine welcomes British historian and author Tracy Borman to guide you through the early life of Princess Elizabeth, how her relationship with her family helped her through the Second World War, what Winston Churchill first thought of the princess when he met her and how she forged her own path as queen when she inherited the throne.

Also in All About History 113, discover how Hitler used the levers of power in Germany to gradually dismantle democracy, learn about the life of the first pharaoh who shaped Ancient Egypt, and uncover forgotten LGBTQ+ history. 

Related: Read a free issues of All About History

You can also read All About History's interview with historian Greg Jenner and learn why he thinks history combined with humor makes things more memorable in his podcast and work on the Horrible Histories TV series.  You can also learn all about the Baroque art movement, see images from the rarest book in the world and learn what might have happened if Boudicca's rebellion against Rome had been successful.

Queen Elizabeth: Platinum Jubilee special

Princess Elizabeth meeting with President Harry S. Truman

The then Princess Elizabeth meeting with President Harry S. Truman in 1951, only a few months before she would become Queen of England. (Image credit: Public Domain)

Many times in its history the crown has been best served by those incumbents who were not supposed to inherit — the current Queen of the United Kingdom foremost among them. In February 2022, she will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. This is a feat achieved by no other British monarch before her. Her long reign has been characterized by the unwavering sense of duty that she showed from the moment she inherited the throne. But if it had not been for the amorous inclinations of her uncle, Elizabeth II would never have been queen at all.

"I pray to God my eldest son will never marry and have children, and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet and the throne," Elizabeth II's grandfather, George V, remarked shortly before his death in January 1936. He had always preferred his younger son, Albert, to his elder, Edward, and doted on Bertie’s daughter Elizabeth ('Lilibet'), who in turn called him 'Grandpa England'. By contrast, George V’s relationship with his eldest son and heir had never been easy. Edward was the ultimate playboy prince. His striking good looks, charm and unmarried status made him the darling of the press and high society, and he became the most photographed celebrity of the day. 

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All About History 113

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"After I am dead, the boy will ruin himself within 12 months," George V gloomily predicted. He was right. As soon as he ascended the throne in January 1936, his son Edward soon made it all too obvious that he found his new role "one of the most confining, the most frustrating, and over the duller stretches, the least stimulating jobs open to an educated, independent-minded person." Of greater concern to the new king's government was the fact that he showed no inclination to give up Simpson, even though the Church of England barred him from marrying a divorcee. By November 1936, he had resolved to give up the throne instead and he formally abdicated on Dec. 10.

Read more in All About History 113

How the Nazis took power

Adolf Hitler shaking hands with President Hindenburg

Adolf Hitler shaking hands with President Hindenburg, the man who appointed him chancellor of Germany in 1933. (Image credit: Public Domain)

It’s a common misconception that the Nazis and Adolf Hitler took power in Germany by force alone. It makes some logical and emotional sense to think this must be the case. How could anyone have elected such people to rule? Surely the populace wasn’t complicit in the making of the Third Reich? The truth is more complex than that, but it’s fair to say that the death of democracy in Germany was a gradual process that at many turns was given the (at least superficial) endorsement of the public at large.

While the Nazi Party’s takeover of German institutions was methodical, its rise to a position of influence, from the late 1920’s into the early 1930’s, was almost meteoric. In the 1928 Reichstag elections, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (the Nazi Party’s full title) got 2.6 percent of the vote, a drop from its 3 percent four years earlier. However, the Grand Coalition that resulted from the 1928 election proved ineffective against the economic onslaught of the Great Depression from 1929. It was in this environment that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party found fertile new ground.

Learn more about how Hitler and the Nazis dismantled democracy in All About History 113.

The first pharaoh

A limestone head thought to depict Narmer

A limestone head, thought to be a depiction of the first pharaoh of the unified kingdom of Egypt, Narmer. (Image credit: Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) (CC BY-SA 4.0))

Ancient Egypt remains one of the most storied, romantic and revered eras in all of world history. As the dominant force in North Africa for three millennia, the Egyptians cultivated a fascinating culture, constructed huge monuments to their rulers and gods, and left behind a rich collection of relics that enable us to engage with their story today. But every story must have a beginning, and in the first chapter of the ancient kingdom was King Narmer, the first king of unified Egypt.

Unlike the swathes of published histories, oratories, biographies and personal accounts left to us by more recent civilisations like the Roman Empire, our sources stretching as far back in time to King Narmer— who reigned approximately 5,000 years ago — are understandably scarce. But such was his importance that there is an array of recovered artefacts and relics that enable us to piece together a good account of his many achievements. 

Uncover more about the life of this mysterious pharaoh and how he unified the kingdom of Egypt in All About History 113.

Jonathan Gordon
Editor, All About History

Jonathan is the Editor of All About History magazine, running the day to day operations of the brand. He has a Bachelor's degree in History from the University of Leeds. He has previously worked as Editor of video game magazines games™ and X-ONE and tech magazines iCreate and Apps. He is currently based in Bournemouth, UK.