Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 91st birthday Friday

Tom Hinde

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 91st birthday on Friday, April 21. The Queen has ruled longer than any other monarch in British history. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth during periods of enormous social and historical change.

As a young girl, Elizabeth never expected to be Queen. She was born in London on April 21, 1926, the eldest child of the Duke and Duchess of York. Her father became King George VI after his brother Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936 to marry divorced socialite Wallis Simpson. Upon her father's death in 1953, she became Queen Elizabeth II. On February 6, 2017 she became the first British monarch to commemorate a Sapphire Jubilee marking sixty-five years on the throne.