Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon was Queen of the United Kingdom and the Dominions from 1936 to 1952 as the wife of King George VI. She was the last Empress of India from 1936 until India gained independence from Britain in 1947. After her husband died, she was known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, to avoid confusion with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II.
Born into a family of British nobility, Elizabeth came to prominence in 1923 when she married the Duke of York, the second son of King George V and Queen Mary. The couple and their daughters Elizabeth and Margaret embodied traditional ideas of family and public service. The Duchess undertook a variety of public engagements and became known for her consistently cheerful countenance.
In 1936, Elizabeth's husband unexpectedly became king when his older brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in order to marry the American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Elizabeth then became queen. She accompanied her husband on diplomatic tours to France and North America before the start of the Second World War. During the war, her seemingly indomitable spirit provided moral support to the British public.