After reigning for more than six decades, Queen Elizabeth II is perhaps the most recognizable monarch in the world today. But in her younger years, she never could have imagined that she would one day ascend the throne and become queen.

It was Elizabeth’s uncle Edward VIII and not his father, George VI, who was the heir apparent at that time. Thus, everyone expected that George VI’s family, including Elizabeth, wouldn’t have a shot at the throne.

But that all changed with the entry of Wallis Simpson into the picture. The Parliament wouldn’t budge an inch and would not allow the recently crowned King Edward VIII to marry the American divorcee, resulting in the monarch’s abdication and placing Elizabeth’s father to the throne.

The young Elizabeth was not really aware of the momentous event that just happened. In fact, the first episode of the documentary “Elizabeth: Our Queen” told the story of how the ten-year-old would-be queen just came from her swimming lesson that day when she heard shouts of “God Save The King” from outside their home.

Curious, she asked the footman what happened, who then explained that her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated. But it was Elizabeth’s younger sister, Princess Margaret, who spelled out for her what the event could mean for her future.

Elizabeth went to find her younger sister to tell her the news. “Well, does that mean you're going to be Queen now? Poor you!” was Margaret’s first response.

Edward VIII’s abdication catapulted her father, George VI, to the throne and then Princess Elizabeth to the role of Heir Presumptive. But this new status was a shaky one, and it’s not a hundred percent certain that she would one day become queen.

“Because of the succession laws in place at the time, then Princess Elizabeth was only ever Heiress Presumptive, compared to her son, The Prince of Wales who is Heir Apparent,” Danny Philp explained on Quora. “Had King George VI and Queen Elizabeth had a male son at any point before his death, she would have been set aside for him.”

While she learned of her new role as Heir Presumptive right after Edward VIII abdicated, she was actually clueless for around 12 hours that she had actually ascended the throne in 1952. While everyone in England was already aware that Elizabeth had become the new monarch, it would take her half a day to learn of the news because she was in Africa at that time.

King George VI was already ill to travel at that time, so he sent Elizabeth to Kenya on a royal tour. Sometime in the wee hours of Feb. 5, 1952, the monarch passed away, but his death would only be discovered in the morning when his valet, who thought it odd that he hadn’t heard from the king, decided to check on him.

News about the king’s passing eventually spread to the rest of the world, and a local Kenyan reporter told Prince Philip, who was traveling with his wife, about his father-in-law’s death. He then took his young wife for a riverside stroll and told Elizabeth what happened.

Queen Elizabeth Queen Elizabeth II attends a State Banquet at the Philharmonic Hall on the first day of a tour of Slovakia on October 23, 2008, in Bratislava, Slovakia. Chris Jackson/Getty Images