Photos: Queen Elizabeth II through the years

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away Thursday at the age of 96. She was a life-long public figure, even before she assumed the throne on Feb. 6, 1952.

She has served as a symbol of stability as Britain negotiated the end of its empire, the dawn of the information age, and the mass migration that transformed the country into a multicultural society.

Throughout it all, the queen built a bond with the nation through a seemingly endless series of public appearance as she opened libraries, dedicated hospitals and bestowed honors on deserving citizens.

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, dies at 96

Here's a look at her life throughout the years. 

Elizabeth's early years


Princess Elizabeth of York, future Queen Elizabeth II, was born in 1926, seen here in 1928 at age 2 with her nanny, Clara Knight, known as "Allah." (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)


The Duchess of York arriving at the Royal Tournament at Olympia in 1935 with her daughters Princess Margaret, left and Princess Elizabeth, right. Duchess of York, future Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal


April 1940: Princess Elizabeth out riding at the Royal Lodge, Windsor. (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images)


Princess Elizabeth makes a broadcast from the gardens of Government House in Cape Town, South Africa, on the occasion of her 21st birthday, 21st April 1947. In it, she pledged her service to the British Commonwealth and Empire. (Photo by Topical Pres


20th November 1947: Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, waving to a crowd from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London shortly after their wedding at Westminster Abbey. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)


Playful Portrait of the Royal Family on Aug. 1, 1951.

Queen Elizabeth in Garden with Dog

Queen Elizabeth II of England at Balmoral Castle with one of her Corgis, 28th September 1952. UPI color slide.

Queen Elizabeth II's coronation


Queen Elizabeth II arrives for her coronation on June 2, 1953, in London. (Photo by -/INTERCONTINENTALE/AFP via Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II, sitting on the St Edward's chair, holds the Sceptres, on June 2, 1953, at the Westminster Abbey, during her coronation, in London. (Photo by -/INTERCONTINENTALE/AFP via Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II poses on her Coronation day, June 2, 1953, in London. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign


Queen Elizabeth II pictured during two-day visit to the welsh capital, Cardiff, Wales, 5th August 1960. Picture shows the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. (Photo by Western Mail Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)


The Royal family at Balmoral Castle during a visit in October 1960. Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Andrew, Prince Phillip, and Princess Anne.


At Buckingham Palace during a banquest held in his honor, American President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) (right) and his wife, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929 - 1994) (second left), pose with Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain (second right) a


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (1892 - 1975) upon their arrival in Addis Ababa, during a State Visit to Ethiopia, February 1965. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip with Jackie Kennedy and her children John Jr. (1960 - 1999) and Caroline during the inauguration of Britain's Kennedy memorial at Runnymede. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II on walkabout in Launceston, Tasmania, during her tour of Australia, 1970. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II with a group of local children during her state visit to Mexico, February-March 1975. (Photo by Serge Lemoine/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


A royal family group at Buckingham Palace in London, UK, 15th July 1980. From left to right (back row) Viscount Linley, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Prince Andrew, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Captain Mark Phillips; (front row) Pri


The Prince and Princess of Wales pose on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on their wedding day, with the Queen and some of the bridesmaids, 29th July 1981. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)


US President Ronald W. Reagan and his wife chatting with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace on June 1, 1988. (Photo by Diana Walker/Getty Images)


South African President Nelson Mandela pictured with her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, during his state visit to Great Britain in 1996. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II attends the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) at Westminster Abbey, London, England, 6th September 1997. (Photo by Princess Diana Archive/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


British Queen Elizabeth II receiving Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2000. (Photo by Ken Goff/Getty Images)


Clarence House official handout photo of the Prince of Wales and his new bride Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, with their families (L-R back row) Prince Harry, Prince William, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles (L-R front row) Duke of Edinburgh, Britain's Que


Queen Elizabeth II records the Commonwealth Day Message in the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace on February 11, 2010, in London, England. During her speech, the Queen warned that the internet remains an "unaffordable option" for too many people acro


Prince William and his bride Catherine Middleton sit close to members of the royal family in the congregation during their wedding ceremony at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011, in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II is pictured wearing yellow. (Ph


(L-R) Queen Elizabeth II poses with U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle Obama and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace ahead of a State Banquet on May 24, 2011, in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackso


(L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Harry and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (R) watch the f


(L-R) Queen Elizabeth II (C), poses for a photo with U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and First Lady Melania Trump (R) ahead of a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace on June 3, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


A picture shows a family in Birkenhead, northwest England on April 5, 2020, watching Britain's Queen Elizabeth II deliver a special address to the UK and Commonwealth recorded at Windsor Castle in relation to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by PAUL


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle, during a virtual audience to receive Chad's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kedella Younous Hamidi, at Buckingham Palace in London on March 1, 2022, during the COV


 Queen Elizabeth II watches from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Trooping the Colour parade on June 2, 2022, in London, England. (Photo by Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images)


Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government on September 6, 20