How Old Was Elizabeth When She Became Queen? 'The Crown' Features This Pivotal Life Moment

Premiering on Nov. 4, the new original Netflix series The Crown gives viewers the fictionalized intriguing tale of Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the longest reign in the British monarchy. Aside from being iconic (those corgis!), Elizabeth is the perfect person to base a historical drama on. After all, not only is she still going strong at 90, but her early life is full of exploits and setbacks that make the whole series worthy of modern-day celebrity storytelling. But, just how old was Elizabeth when she became queen?

Elizabeth was only 25 when her father, King George VI, passed away and left her heir to the throne in 1952. While she didn't expect the throne would be hers for a number of years, she was forced to grow up fast after the death of her father. If that wasn't enough, Elizabeth also had to learn how to govern a kingdom — all while cultivating her brand-new marriage to Prince Philip, who she had wed in 1947. In the Netflix series, Claire Foy (Wolf Hall) plays the role of young Elizabeth and Doctor Who's Matt Smith plays her husband, Philip. In preparing for the world to see Elizabeth at such a young age, Foy expressed her feelings to Telegraph about playing a character whose personal life was thrust into the limelight before she was ready.

"When you’re a British citizen, you just accept that they’re there and take them for granted. And then you stop and realise, hang on, this was a young couple with two young children who didn’t think this [their accession to the throne] would happen for another 20 years. Their lives change in an instant, while they’re still grieving and going through something terrible personally. I don't know how anyone can't sympathize with that."
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The drama comes at a point where people are craving more stories about girl power and strong women, especially in history. As The Crown tells it, part of Elizabeth's legacy is that for as much as she was thrust into ruling, she was able to be clear-headed enough to take on her monarchy by sliding into her public persona fairly easily, thanks to help from some friends. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Foy talked about how the show features Elizabeth's history with Winston Churchill, played by John Lithgow. "She was massively underprepared, I think, and really needed someone to help her," said Foy. "But what she really found in Churchill was what someone's agenda is, as well." (In a statement to Bustle from the royal press office, a rep said, "The Crown is a fictional drama. The Royal Household has had no involvement.")

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There's much that can be explored about Elizabeth's early life. For the most part, The Crown seems intent on preserving the historical accuracy of the Queen's beginnings, so much so that Netflix is planning on airing six seasons of 10-hour episodes. Viewers will no doubt learn even more about Elizabeth's life after she became Queen, and I can't wait to see where this series goes as it embarks on Elizabeth's journey.

Image: Alex Bailey/Netflix