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Queen Elizabeth’s ascension to the British throne was anything but predictable. Originally intended to serve as a wing of the royal family, the trajectory of her life unexpectedly changed forever.
Fox Nation’s new special “An Unlikely Bond: Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill” delves into Queen Elizabeth’s unorthodox rise to the throne and her close professional relationship with Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
After King Edward VIII abdicated from the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson, Queen Elizabeth’s father Prince Albert was crowned King George VI, immediately putting Elizabeth in line for the crown.
Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, ruled during World War II with Winston Churchill as prime minister. During this time, Elizabeth showed her strength and devotion to the British people by joining the Women’s Branch of the British Army.
She was the first member of the royal family to be a full-time military woman.
“It is something Winston Churchill would have seen and greatly appreciated, with the royal family being such examples to the nation during our darkest hour,” said Katherine Carter, curator of Churchill’s house at Chartwell.
Fox Nation’s new special reveals how Churchill got to know Elizabeth during wartime, and the two shared many viewpoints as well as a love of horses.
Shortly after the war Churchill attended the wedding of Queen Elizabeth where she married Prince Philip in 1947. Within five years their marriage became a monarchy.
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In 1952, King George VI died after battling health complications while Elizabeth was on a royal visit to Kenya. Elizabeth traveled to Africa as a princess but returned to London as a queen.
“She was actually in a treehouse in Kenya when the news broke,” historian Michael Bishop said on the Fox Nation special. “She’s probably the only person in the world to have gone up a tree as a princess and come down as a queen.”
With a 25-year-old ascending to the throne, many feared what the future held. However, his devotion to duty and love of country, coupled with the strength and wisdom of Prime Minister Churchill, was more than enough to sustain the country.
During Winston Churchill’s tenure as Prime Minister, the two became close confidants and relied heavily on each other as friends and leaders. They were both dedicated to their duty to Britain and wanted to make sure they served the people well.
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When Churchill was forced to resign in April 1955, Queen Elizabeth remained close to the legendary WWII leader and gave him and his family the utmost respect.
“I will always consider myself lucky that you were my Prime Minister at the beginning of my reign, and that I was able to receive the sage advice and also the friendship, which I know my father valued so much,” Elizabeth wrote in a letter to Churchill.
Queen Elizabeth remained affectionate and grateful to Churchill throughout her life, honoring him with a state funeral upon his death in 1965.
“There are very few non-royals who have ever had a state funeral, so that in itself is a big statement about how important the Queen was to Winston Churchill,” Carter said.
‘An Unlikely Bond’ shows that these two legendary leaders of Britain belonged to very different times in history, their shared values and love of country forging a connection that no one could have foreseen. It was also a connection the country desperately needed.
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