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Queen Elizabeth II’s humble beginnings as a truck driver and diesel mechanic

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Queen Elizabeth II, a Truck Driver, Diesel Mechanic and longest-reigning monarch died on September 8, 2022 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, at the age of 96. SA Trucker notes with great admiration the humble beginnings of the last monarch to have served in World War II.

Fun facts

Queen Elizabeth II never had a driver’s license, because, in the UK, all driver’s licenses are issued in her name and, as such, she could not issue herself one. She was also exempt from certain rules that commoners have to follow, such as wearing a seatbelt.

She was a public figure beloved both in the UK and internationally, a role model and a notable example of serving with grace, a matriarch and an outstanding diplomat.

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Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, and she did so with grace and diplomacy, and an unerring sense of duty. In recent years, as the monarchy failed to adapt to some of the quickest societal changes, some of her decisions have come under fire for a variety of reasons. But she always remained consistent – and consistency is a rare virtue these days.

She was a female pioneer and remains the only female Royal to have served in the Army where she drove army trucks and also served as a diesel mechanic.

The Queen’s coming of age was marked and deeply influenced by WWII, which started just as she was entering her teenage years.

Read also: Meet the women behind Seabourne Logistics’ success in South Africa

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By 1942, learning from her father, King George VI, and her mother, Queen Consort Elizabeth, then-Princess Elizabeth had already started building a public presence by doing her first solo assignments. That year, she was named Honorary Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, and she’d started showing an interest in women’s involvement in the war effort.

King George would not hear of it: the very idea of sending the heir to the throne, who was just 16 at the time, to war was wrong. The Royal Family had already made the decision to maintain their public profile with frequent morale-boosting appearances, even though Buckingham Palace was being bombed repeatedly.

Princess Elizabeth remained steadfast in her decision and, on turning 18 and still very much against her father’s wishes, enrolled in the Auxiliary Territorial Services.

She began training at Camberley as an auto mechanic, taking classes in mechanics theory, map reading, and servicing, maintaining and driving heavy armored vehicles.

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Women in ATS were soldiers, but they weren’t allowed in combat or, for that matter, to shoot guns. Their main responsibilities consisted of desk duties (postal workers, telephone dispatchers, secretaries), but they also worked as mechanics, drivers, and spotters for the anti-aircraft unit, even though they weren’t allowed to shoot the anti-aircraft guns. The ATS aimed to free up the men, so they could fight on the frontlines.

No. 230873 Elizabeth Windsor enlisted in February 1945 and, by the time she completed her training, the war had ended, so she never got the chance to “do her bit” for the war effort.

She graduated as Honorary Junior Commander, and the mere fact that she was there for the training, working with the other ATS trainees for seven hours a day, helped raise awareness and bring more female volunteers for the unit.

She was dubbed Princess Auto Mechanic, and she lived up to that name until her final years.

Throughout her time as monarch, Elizabeth II was a competent and cool driver, and a passionate car collector with a soft spot for Land Rover and Rolls-Royce. Rest in power Queen Elizabeth II.

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