Queen Elizabeth’s service included training as a truck driver

Queen Elizabeth served many roles during her life of service in the royal family. She was head of the Commonwealth, defender of the faith … and truck driver.

During the Second World War, King George VI had ruled that then-Princess Elizabeth shouldn’t join the women’s auxiliaries. But as Life magazine reported, “‘Betts’ had other ideas”.

She signed up with the Auxiliary Territorial Service in February 1945 at the age of 18, and enrolled in a driving and vehicle maintenance course, learning how to service, maintain and drive heavy vehicles.

Queen Elizabeth
(Photo: iStock)

She invested seven hours a day training at the ATS Number 1 Mechanical Transport Training Centre but returned to Windsor Castle in the evenings during her training.

And while she was never allowed to ride a London bus or taxi, she still passed her driving course in two days less than the prescribed time, according to the Imperial War Museum.

“The young princess graduated as a fully qualified driver, but the war ended before she was able to make practical use of her new skills,” a museum video notes. “To pass her final test, she made a solo journey in a heavy vehicle from Camberley in Surrey into London.”

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