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PHOTOS: Queen Elizabeth's reign over the last six decades

The British monarch turns 90 today.
Apr 21st 2016, 6:15 AM 22,411 106

TODAY MARKS QUEEN Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.

The monarch has reigned for 64 years, during which time the British empire has changed dramatically.

There have been 12 prime ministers over the course of her reign.

baby The Duke and Duchess of York with their baby daughter Princess Elizabeth on 29 April 1926. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, known as Lilibet, was born on 21 April 1926, with no expectation of being queen.

Her fate dramatically changed when her childless uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American.

child Princess Elizabeth arriving at the 16th Century Church at Balcombe, Sussex, for the wedding of Lady May Cambridge and Captain Henry Abel Smith on 24 October 1931. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Princess Elizabeth’s father inherited the crown as George VI and she suddenly became heir to the throne.

On her 21st birthday, she vowed to spend her life serving her country, but this promise was put to the test sooner than she could have imagined.

Her father died suddenly in 1952 at the age of 56, making Elizabeth queen at the age of 25.

1953 The scene after the crowning ceremony on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey, showing the Queen wearing the St Edward Crown and carrying the Sceptre and the Rod. Source: orla

She was by then married to Philip, a distant cousin, whom she has described as “my strength and stay”.

They have four children: Charles (born in 1948) Anne (1950), Andrew (1960) and Edward (1964).

Here are photos from each of the six decades she has reigned in:

Charles (67) is increasingly taking her place at public engagements but experts agree she will most likely hold on to the end and not follow her Dutch and Spanish royal peers by abdicating.

To mark her milestone birthday, the Royal family posed for a four-generation portrait featuring the Queen, her son Prince Charles, her grandson William and her great-grandson George.

© AFP 2016

Watch: Britain’s biggest royal fans count down to the Queen’s birthday

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