The future Queen Elizabeth was barely a teenager when World War II threatened her nation, but she was determined to do what she could for her country — and she soon became the first female member of the royal family to enlist in the British Army.
Princess Elizabeth was the first woman in the British royal family to join the military. In her role as a mechanic, the future queen took apart engines, changed tires, and learned to drive trucks and ambulances.
According to the National World War II Museum, women in Britain who were under the age of 30 and unmarried at the time were required to enlist in the armed forces, work on the land, or join an industry. Elizabeth didn’t want special treatment due to her royal status — she simply wanted to do her part.
Less than seven years after the war ended, “Princess Auto Mechanic” was coronated as Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms at age 25. In many ways, the service of Queen Elizabeth during World War II helped prepare her for a lifetime of service to her country.
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