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At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, many close to the British royal family wanted the Queen Mother and her daughters, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, then 13 and 9 years old respectively, to evacuate to Canada.

But the Queen Mother refused. She rode out the war in Buckingham Palace, though it was bombed repeatedly, and shuffled the princesses around several palaces before settling them into Windsor Castle.

By February 1945, the war was still raging, and Elizabeth had turned 18. At her own insistence, according to the Royal Collection Trust, she requested to personally contribute to the war effort.

Princess Elizabeth, heiress presumptive to the throne, was commissioned as an honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service — basically the equivalent of a second lieutenant — and began training in March of 1945.
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