It was 60 years ago yesterday that a 25-year-old mum of two, her children aged just one and three, was thrust into the Top Job.
Princess Elizabeth was up a tree in Kenya, gazing at the wildlife below at the exact moment her father, King George VI, died in London.
You can’t help but wonder; grief-stricken at the death of her dad and probably terrified at the prospect of being Queen of the realm, did she secretly dread the thought of coming home from holiday to a life changed evermore?
Did she actually want the job? One suspects that, after her family’s destiny was changed by the abdication of her uncle, she wouldn’t have allowed herself to think of anything other than fulfilling the duty she was destined for.
But what about before? As a little girl, while others of her generation wanted to be wives and mothers, nurses or hairdressers, or in their wildest dreams, princesses with crowns and jewels and palaces, did she harbour a secret yearning to become another Amy Johnson, or launch her own line in Highland-style hand-knits and Royal-iced cupcakes? You never know.
Course, the thought of being Queen could well have thrilled her right down to her Harrods ankle socks.
It would have me. Untold riches, all that travel on your own yacht and train. Never having to ruin your fingernails in a bowl of washing up, or peg out your husband’s smalls. And all without having to pass so much as a single O-level.
Maybe she was hungry for the power; wanted to see her face all over bank notes and stamps (it being pre-paparazzi times).
Certainly, knowing what you want to grow up to be is a precursor to success. Most high-flyers I’ve interviewed told me they always had a dream to aspire to. Which gave me a stab of envy because I never did.
When pushed, I contemplated being a bank clerk because I quite fancied sitting at one of those little windows, lipstick-smiled and Harmony-hairsprayed, chatting to customers and stamping things.
Then someone - probably my maths teacher -pointed out that my hopelessness with numbers would make the rest of the job - the bit which had never crossed the right side of my tiny mind - pretty tricky.
So I considered becoming an air-hostess, then realised it was just drudgery at 35,000 feet. And that was before trolley dollies had to flog scratch cards.
I discovered from her obituary that my friend who died last month had once wanted to become a tax inspector, but was told she was too nice. Why on earth would any young girl, her in particular, set her cap at a job like that?
TBH, though, none of the girls I grew up with had huge aspirations; a sign of the times, perhaps. Or of the comprehensive school system’s rubbish attitude to female careers in the Seventies.
Most of the girls I’ve kept track of did OK, though, but mainly because, long after they’d left school, they discovered they could aim much higher than had ever occurred to them. Those who did become bank clerks went on to be bank managers.
It’s different now. Male-dominated professions are few and far between.
Take out the star-struck, wanna get rich from being on a reality TV show brigade and most girls want to be all sorts of amazing things. And more importantly, they believe they can do it.
Which does make me wonder whether we’ll end up running out of hairdressers and nurses and air hostesses.