Queen Elizabeth II died at 96, at Balmoral, after 70 years of reign. She was anointed in 1953 and has become England’s longest-serving monarch. 

During this time, the Royal Family matriarch saw several significant historical events including England’s transformation from an empire to a commonwealth. At the time of her death, the queen was also the last ruler to have served in World War II

Elizabeth joined the British army at the age of 19, as part of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). This, along with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) or the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS), is how women were conscripted into the army at that time. The ATS was formed in 1938 and Elizabeth trained as a driver and mechanic after she joined. 

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Initially, the Royal Family member held the position of Second Subaltern. She was promoted to Junior Commander five months later, which is the equivalent rank of a Captain. 

She began training for her job as a mechanic in 1945 and took a driving and vehicle maintenance course at Aldershot, managing to qualify on April 14. 

While ATS conscripts did face dangers during the war, the queen often returned to Windsor Castle to sleep at night. Before the more active help in war efforts, Elizabeth tried to boost people’s morale as a princess. 

She said, “Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you, as we know from experience what it means to be away from those you love most of all. To you living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.”

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Elizabeth also was part of a campaign urging people to garden so as to avoid food shortages during the war. 

Princess Elizabeth first examined a military regiment during a parade at Windsor Castle, when she was 16. The late monarch also held the role of honorary colonel of the Grenadier Guards, showing her involvement in the war efforts.