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YouTube Gold: The Young Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth lived such a long life that it’s hard to think of her as a young woman.

Princess Elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth, aged 10, with her pet dog, London.
Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

As a young man, Paul McCartney, like many young men in the UK, had a bit of a crush on the late Queen Elizabeth. He wrote a song about her called Her Majesty that kind of catches how he saw her, like a sort of far-off movie star.

She knighted the Beatles and later, at her Golden Jubilee, he played his cheeky song for her, which is kind of sweet.

She also had a nice sense of humor, which was illustrated in a recent video she did with Paddington Bear where he congratulated her for her Jubilee and thanked her for all that she had done. She clearly had fun with the project and her people loved that she did it.

She wasn’t born to be queen - her rat uncle abdicated and later people understood that he had been a Nazi sympathizer. His brother was far more admirable on the throne and when he passed away, Elizabeth became queen at 26 and pledged to always put duty first and always did. Very few people have a job for 70 years and for anyone else who might have had a job for 70 years, we can’t imagine that they handled it better. Moreover, she was always a friend to the U.S.

She had many talents and interests, but the most surprising perhaps is that she was an excellent mechanic, capable of repairing her own car. She learned that during World War II, when she did her bit helping to repair vehicles for the British army.

We see her as an older woman of course, as in the Paddington video, but as McCartney knew, she was once a vivacious and interesting young woman.

We thought therefore that it would be nice to look back at young Elizabeth. When she made her vow to serve her people, she was just a few years removed from being a teenager. Knowing what we know now, much like her legendary namesake, there was a certain amount of steel in her spine. Monarchs have never made much sense to Americans, much less in a post-colonial world, but character and devotion to duty certainly do. We will not see the likes of her again.