Called a symbol of Britain's "decency and courage" by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002) was born a commoner, the ninth of 10 children and daughter of a Scottish earl.
"Work is the rent we pay for life," said the woman who had the role of Queen thrust upon her unexpectedly in 1936. Her husband, George VI took over as King of England when Edward VIII abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Charming, with an ever-present smile, wide-brimmed hats, and gracious manners, she helped rally the country through World War II, reigning as Queen Consort for 16 years. After the death of her husband in 1952, she became the beloved "Queen Mum," mother to Queen Elizabeth II and grandmother to Prince Charles.
"Do not, in today's tumult, lose sight of the ancient virtues of service, truth, and vision," she believed.
Admired for her dignity and sense of duty, she celebrated life with passion. Devoted to her royal duties, she was the patron or president of about 350 organizations.
"I would not want it to be though that I had lived for all these years without having anything to show for it," she once said.
Nobly do and dare.