Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at Balmoral Castle surrounded by the Royal Family at the age of 96 after a record 70 years on the throne. She wasn’t meant to be Queen when she was born in 1926, but became next in line after her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936, making her father the King. While she undoubtedly lived a very privileged life within the confines of Buckingham Palace, the future Queen needed to be educated to prepare her for her role in the Monarchy.
During her years as a princess, she was educated privately at home with her sister, Margaret, which was typically what wealthy families did at the time. Their governess, Marion Crawford, taught them the basics in education and manners in Buckingham Palace, and it is said Elizabeth was a natural learner and very analytical. The King and Queen Mother may have been ahead of the times, as it is said they wanted their girls to spend more time outdoors learning through play rather than being stuck inside a classroom for the majority of their days. They fostered a type of learning that came back into light over 80 years later (though, through necessity) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the official website of The Royal Family, Princess Elizabeth studied “constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role. She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also educated in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Princess Elizabeth learned French from a number of French and Belgian governesses. It is a skill which has stood The Queen in good stead, particularly on visits to French-speaking Canada and to French speaking countries.” Her private education afforded her the opportunity to learn art, music, swimming, and horseback riding. While their informal education served its purpose, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were notably the last members of the Royal Family to be homeschooled, as the future heirs went off to private, more traditional institutions.
Our thoughts are with The Royal Family while they mourn the loss of their beloved mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.