When Winston Churchill met a two-year-old princess, the future Queen Elizabeth II, in 1928, he observed in the child a remarkable quality. She had, the future Prime Minister said, an “air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant.” There is much about the Queen, who was born 90 years ago on April 21, 1926, that remains unchanged since her early days: She is and always has been sensible, serious in her duties and steadfast in her love of her Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

Long before she married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended to the throne in 1952, the future queen was a child called “Lilibet” who played and studied alongside her younger sister Margaret, adored her grandfather, King George V, and loved to ride horses and spend time with her dogs. In honor of her birthday, TIME commissioned freelance photo editor Sanna Dullaway to colorize several photos of the little girl who would be queen.

Sanna Dullaway is a photo editor based in Sweden. See more of her work here.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com.

You May Also Like