Photos That Capture Queen Elizabeth As A Mom

Historians say the queen grew "warmer and more flexible" as a parent as the years went on.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth turns 95 on Wednesday ― her first birthday in over seven decades without her husband, the late Prince Philip, by her side.

The Duke of Edinburgh, who died at age 99 earlier this month, may have been the queen’s “strength and stay,” but she’ll no doubt find strength in her adult children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. (Not to mention her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.)

The queen’s devotion to a life of service is only rivaled by her devotion to her family and children, a group that has certainly seen its fair share of drama through the years. The queen once pointed out that her family is like every other if you look beyond the royal titles.

“Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters, and of family disagreements,” she said, according to The Telegraph.

But the queen’s handling of those “wayward youngsters” wasn’t one-size-fits-all. As many a royal biographer will tell you, how Elizabeth (and to a lesser extent, Philip) parented their first two children ― Charles, born in 1948, and Anne, born in 1950 ― was quite different from how they raised their youngest children ― Andrew, born in 1960, and Edward, born in 1964.

Queen Elizabeth II helps Prince Charles take a picture of his sister, Princess Anne, in Balmoral, Scotland, in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II helps Prince Charles take a picture of his sister, Princess Anne, in Balmoral, Scotland, in 1952.

Sally Bedell Smith, a royal biographer and author of “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life,” writes that the queen “depended on the nannies to supervise the daily lives” of her kids during Charles and Anne’s early years.

That said, Princess Anne herself has dismissed the reputation the queen has in the press as being a somewhat cold, emotionally distant mother.

“We as children may have not been too demanding in the sense that we understand what the limitations were in time and the responsibilities placed on her as monarch in the things she had to do and the travels she had to make,” she told the BBC in 2002.

Still, many royal historians hold that Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, who were born a decade after their older siblings, had notably different experiences with their mother. It makes sense, given the circumstance: Elizabeth was only 25 and a relatively new mother when she acceded to the throne in the wake of her father’s 1952 death. Personally and professionally, there was much to balance and much to learn.

By 1960, when Andrew was born, the queen had had ample time to settle into a life of royal duties. As royal historian Robert Lacey told Town & Country, the queen was finally able to take a step back and prioritize family time — and as a result, became “warmer and more flexible” as a mother.

Below, we take a look back at what Queen Elizabeth was like as a mom.

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Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) with her newborn son, Prince Charles, in 1949.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles in 1948.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh in an informal photo with their young son, Charles.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth and Charles, on the eve of his first birthday.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth smiles as she holds her daughter Princess Anne, born Aug. 18, 1950.
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Four generations of the royal family gather: then-Princess Elizabeth holds Anne while sitting next to her mother, Queen Elizabeth (right), and her grandmother, Queen Mary.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth with Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne in August 1951.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and Anne on the grounds of Clarence House, their London residence.
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Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Princess Anne on the grounds of Balmoral Castle, Scotland. Charles was celebrating his 4th birthday.
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Then-Princess Elizabeth watching Prince Charles play in a toy car while at Balmoral in September 1952.
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Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne wave from the balcony at Buckingham Palace after Elizabeth's coronation ceremony in London on June 2, 1953.
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Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles during a polo match at Windsor Great Park in 1956.
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Queen Elizabeth with Anne, Charles and Philip, circa 1956.
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Queen Elizabeth driving Prince Charles and Princess Anne at Windsor in 1957.
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A portrait of Queen Elizabeth with her two oldest children.
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One of the first pictures of the newborn Prince Andrew. The prince was born Feb. 19, 1960.
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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with Princess Anne, Prince Charles (right) and Prince Andrew in September 1960. It was Andrew's first holiday to Balmoral.
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The family at Balmoral Castle in September 1960.
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Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne after a day of riding.
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Queen Elizabeth II poses with Prince Andrew and newborn Prince Edward in London in June 1964.
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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip with Prince Edward on the balcony at Buckingham Palace on June 13, 1964.
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Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward waving to the crowds during the Trooping of the Color at Buckingham Palace.
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Queen Elizabeth plays with Princes Edward and Andrew at Windsor Castle in June 1965.
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Queen Elizabeth awarding Philip and Charles with trophies after a polo match on April 30, 1967.
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The royal family on the grounds of Frogmore House in 1968.
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Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Prince Edward in an undated photo.
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The royal family at Windsor in 1969.
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The royal family relaxing in a drawing room at Sandringham House in Norfolk in April 1969.
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Queen Elizabeth lunches with Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Prince Charles at Windsor Castle in Berkshire, circa 1969. A camera (left) is set up to film for Richard Cawston's BBC documentary "Royal Family," which followed the royals over a period of a year and was broadcast in June 1969.
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The Investiture of The Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle on July 1,1969. Prince Charles kneels before Queen Elizabeth as she places the coronet on his head.
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Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne attend a function at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna on May 7, 1969.
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Charles riding a go-kart with Edward in 1969 while Queen Elizabeth looks on.
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Queen Elizabeth looking at a photo album with Prince Andrew (left) and Prince Edward in December 1971. Footage of this scene was used in the queen's Christmas broadcast of 1971, to illustrate the theme of family.
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The queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Andrew (left, in red) and Prince Edward visit the kennels at Balmoral in 1972.
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The royal family at Buckingham Palace in London in 1972. Left to right: Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Edward and Prince Charles.
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The Queen and Princess Anne in the Irish State Coach as they drive to Westminster for the ceremonial opening of the new session of Parliament in 1973.
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Queen Elizabeth with Prince Phillip and their three sons on holiday in Balmoral in 1975.
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Prince Edward with his mother at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1976.
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Queen Elizabeth with Princes Andrew and Edward watch Princess Anne compete in the equestrian event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, on July 23, 1976.
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Queen Elizabeth kisses Princess Anne.
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The queen with Prince Edward on his Skewbald horse at the royal Windsor horse show in 1994.
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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are joined at Clarence House by their immediate family on Nov. 18, 2007.
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