April 21 ~  Gentleness and Care Queen & Country

"It has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the hard progress of mankind." ~ Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II

Breathing care into the world, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926-) was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on this day in London, England, the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

True to her calling, the beloved leader trained as a driver during World War II and has dedicated her life to the service of her country. "It's a question of just maturing into what you're doing and accepting that here you are and it's your fate," she said. "I think continuity is very important. It is a job for life."

Her "job for life" has been a celebration of self-discipline, dignity, and duty. She succeeded to the throne upon the death of her father in 1952, as monarch of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada, and Australia.

"Grief is the price we pay for love," she once said.

Wed to Phillip, the duke of Edinburgh in 1947, the queen has kept a "stiff upper lip" through the adverse publicity generated by her four children--Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward--through the years.

She explained: "Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements," she said.

With a love for horseback riding and corgis, she owns perhaps the world's largest private collections of postage stamps and is one of the wealthiest women in the world.

She observed: "I sometimes sense the world is changing almost too fast for its inhabitants, at least for us older ones."

Every woman has the heart of a Queen.