Museum Collection: Princess Elizabeth in ATS Uniform, 1944-45


In February 1945, Princess Elizabeth was appointed an honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) and given the rank of honorary junior commander by war’s end (female equivalent of captain at the time). The ATS was formed in 1938 as a women’s voluntary service and became the Army’s official women’s branch during the war. Elizabeth wore the regulation army uniform and was treated the same as the rest of her company. She trained and worked as a lorry and ambulance driver and was taught map reading and to service and maintain a fleet of vehicles. Her most important lesson came from her interaction with such a diverse range of people. It gave her a practical acumen and appreciation of the citizens over whom she would one day be asked to reign.



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