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These Photos of Young Queen Elizabeth II Tell a Crazy Story About Her Time in the Armed Services

Today is Victory in Europe Day (commonly referred to as VE Day) and it’s a celebration across Europe commemorating Germany’s surrender and the end of WWII. The royal family is paying special tribute on this day to 94-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, who was known as Princess Elizabeth at the time of WWII. In honor of the Queen’s service to her country, the palace revealed new photos of a young Queen Elizabeth II when she was in the Armed Services, driving a truck and laughing with crowds like anyone else. We’d totally forgotten about how much the monarch accomplished before taking the throne (and yes, the young Queen is a stunner).

After taking a moment to pay their respects to the historic nature of VE Day and the moment of celebration is marked for millions, the royal family Instagram delved deeper into young Queen Elizabeth II’s life.

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Today marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day — 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe. On this day millions of people took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved ones, and to hope for the future. During the war Her Majesty The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a mechanic, becoming the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time active member. When the guns fell silent on this day in 1945, Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret joined the jubilant crowds in central London — the future Queen attempted to stay anonymous during the celebrations by pulling her cap down over her eyes. On #VEDay75 Members of The Royal Family, including The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will mark the day — keep an eye on our feed, and on @TheRoyalFamily for more later today.

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“During the war Her Majesty The Queen — then Princess Elizabeth — joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a mechanic, becoming the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time active member,” they wrote. “When the guns fell silent on this day in 1945, Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret joined the jubilant crowds in central London — the future Queen attempted to stay anonymous during the celebrations by pulling her cap down over her eyes.”

While the Queen has now been on the throne for over 60 years, these photos of her smiling proudly from the driver’s seat of a truck and laughing as she reaches for her friend’s hand show a rare peek of her life before she became Queen. Once, she could simply pull her cap over her eyes and blend in with the crowd. And it’s exciting to see how eager she once was to be a part of it all.

Before you go, check out the 100 best photos of the royal family from the last 20 years.

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