It’s likely a surprise to you but yes these are the images of Queen Elizabeth II training on a motorcycle. This Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (since 1952) is also Head of the Commonwealth and the queen of 12 countries today. The image above shows her riding a BSA C10 250cc through a training course of fuel cans.
Known then as Princess Elizabeth, today’s Queen Elizabeth II was just 19 years old when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in February 1945. She trained as a driver and mechanic. Although she slept at home and not in barracks with her fellow recruits, she shared the camaraderie the ATS created with the women who attended. Princes Elizabeth reached the rank of Junior Commander.
Queen Elizabeth II Became the Queen of the Royal Family to Operate a Motorcycle
She not only became the first female member of the Royal Family to be a full-time active member of the services but also the first Queen to operate a motorcycle. During her military training scheme ATS (Auxiliary Training Service) she was accompanied by Mary Churchill, Winston Churchill’s youngest daughter who was also a member of the ATS.
Alongside learning how to operate a motorcycle, women of the ATS learned vehicle maintenance. They learned such tasks as how to change truck tires, adjust spark plugs, and more!
The photo of Queen Elizabeth II was taken by journalist and motorcycle enthusiast Prosper Keating. He heard of Elizabeth’s motorcycling skills and managed to source the photos. He supplied the negatives to the Queen, who wrote back in her own hand, that she was grateful that she could show these to her grandchildren. And as we all know her recently married grandson Prince William and brother Prince Harry have been a motorcyclists for years.