Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne of Great Britain on Feb. 6, 1952, upon the death of her father King George VI. Sixty years later, Queen Elizabeth has become the only second monarch after Queen Victoria to celebrate diamond jubilee of her reign.

Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth was not expected to become queen, for she was third in line of succession after her father and his brother King Edward VIII.

However, her accession to the throne at a very young age of 26 was destined to happen through some unexpected series of events in the royal family following the death of the queen’s grandfather King George V in 1936. King Edward VIII abdicated the throne for love within a year of his coronation, and the queen’s father eventually became the king in the same year making the then Princess Elizabeth first in line of succession.

King George VI could not serve for long because of his deteriorating health conditions and illness that took his life on Feb. 6, 1952. Princess Elizabeth, who was by then already married to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, now His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and was a mother of two, acceded to the throne the same day. Her coronation took place at Westminster Abbey in London on June 2, 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II has remained as a pillar of British royal family for the last 60 years of her reign, and she is still going strong.

Snubbing rumors of her stepping down from the throne to crown her son Prince Charles, the heir apparent, Queen Elizabeth vowed to serve her country throughout her lifetime.

In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighborliness,” the queen said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

“I hope also that this jubilee year will be a time to give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952 and to look forward to the future with clear head and warm heart as we join together in our celebrations.”

As Queen Elizabeth II marks the start of her milestone 60th year on the British throne on Monday, here’s is a look back at her life as Queen through the years…