Queen Elizabeth II ruled the United Kingdom for seven decades. Many people do not know that she wasn't meant to become a queen and that her father was never meant to become a king. It is interesting how both of them inherited their positions.
When Elizabeth was born in 1926, her grandfather King George V was reigning. At the time of his death, Elizabeth was third in the line of succession, but her place was expected to slip as other royal children were born. No one expected her to become queen, and Elizabeth never thought about it or dreamed to have that position.
After her grandfather's death, his oldest son Edward VIII became king. He was on the throne for less than a year from January 20 to December 11, 1936. His reign was so short because he intended to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was in the middle of her second divorce. This was not something neither the government nor the Church of England at that time condoned. Therefore, King Edward VIII chose love for a woman over love for a country.
King Edward VIII said, "I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love." Edward made it clear that the "decision was his and his alone."
After King Edward VIII officially abdicated, the crown was passed to his brother, George VI, Elizabeth's father who never expected to become king. He had no sons. His only children were Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
Princess Elizabeth becomes queen
On February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth was more than four thousand miles away, on a safari holiday in Kenya representing her ailing father when she received news that King George VI had died in his sleep. She had left London earlier as a princess, but she immediately returned as a queen. Her coronation took place 16 months later. Her reign lasted from February 6, 1952, at the age of 25 until her death on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96.
Never meant to reign
So you see, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were not originally meant to reign, but they did. King George VI reigned for 15 years and 57 days during the dark years of World War II. Queen Elizabeth reigned for 70 years. It was the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.