Written By: Ben Cosgrove

Elizabeth II has enjoyed a remarkably long reign, ascending to the throne in 1952. TIME’s Belinda Luscombe once noted, deep into Her Majesty’s rule, that this particular Queen of England “is very likely the most portrayed woman on the planet. Billions of stamps, millions of coins and notes and hundreds of thousands of postcards bear her likeness. Her face, especially in profile, is recognized in every English-speaking land and is ubiquitous in several. Hers is not the exotic, come-hither face of a Marilyn or an Angelina. It’s the face of distant historic authority, a literal figurehead, having no real power but oodles of symbolic supremacy.”

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The portrayals in this gallery come from between 1953 and 1966, and most are quite informal. And while some images do convey “oodles of symbolic supremacy,” it’s also worth noting that, in at least a few of these shots, there’s also a welcome flicker of something that one hardly ever associates with Elizabeth: namely, a quite self-aware and yet wry sense of fun.

Princess Margaret (left), Princess Elizabeth (third from left) and the Queen (third from right) with the Grenadier guards on the occasion of Princess Elizabeth's birthday, 1942.

Princess Margaret (left), the future Queen Elizabeth II (third from left) and the Queen Mother (third from right) with the Grenadier guards on the occasion of Princess Elizabeth’s birthday, 1942.

David E. Scherman The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth, University of the West Indies, Jamaica, 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II (“a little fagged after four days of royal touring,” as LIFE put it in its Dec. 7, 1953, issue) prepared to speak at University of the West Indies, Jamaica, 1953.

Cornell Capa The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II watches a University of Maryland vs. University of North Carolina football game at Maryland's Byrd Stadium during her 1957 official visit to the United States.

Queen Elizabeth II watched Maryland vs. North Carolina college football game at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium during her 1957 official visit to the United States.

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth with Prince Charles and Elizabeth II at Princess Margaret's wedding, 1960.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles at Princess Margaret’s wedding in 1960

Loomis Dean The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II speaking at a State Dinner in Ghana, 1961.

Queen Elizabeth II speaking at a State Dinner in Ghana, 1961.

Paul Schutzer The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II shakes hands with a well-wisher while standing next to the General and Governor of Bermuda, Sir Alexander Hood, 1961.

Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with a well-wisher while standing next to the General and Governor of Bermuda, Sir Alexander Hood, 1961.

Lisa Larsen The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival in India in 1961, the first British monarch to visit since George V in 1911.

Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival in India in 1961; she was the first British monarch to visit since George V in 1911.

Hank Walker The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Sudan, 1964.

Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Sudan, 1964.

John Loengard The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965.

Queen Elizabeth in Ethiopia in 1965.

John Loengard The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965.

Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965.

John Loengard The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965.

Queen Elizabeth II in Ethiopia, 1965.

John Loengard The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II (right) and Prince Philip on a tour of Trinidad and Tobago, 1966.

Queen Elizabeth II (right) and Prince Philip on a tour of Trinidad and Tobago, 1966.

Michael Rougier The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II during her 1966 tour of the Caribbean.

Queen Elizabeth II during her 1966 tour of the Caribbean.

Michael Rougier The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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