Penny Thornton can recall the first and only time she met Queen Elizabeth II, who died Sept. 8 at the age of 96 after 70 years on the British throne.
When she was 12 years old, Thornton said she was one of eight pupils at the Royal Ballet School who met the queen after performing at a gala event. “I remember being introduced to her and she was so wonderful to each one of us,” she said.
Thornton since grew up to be an astrologer, and one who has worked with several members of the royal family, including Princess Diana. She has become intimately acquainted with the queen’s birth chart — to the point where she practically has it memorized.
For Thornton, whose speciality is studying the intersection of world events and astrology, the queen’s chart has been a reference point and a constant, just as many in the U.K. have perceived her long reign.
Below, Thornton interprets Elizabeth’s natal chart, or the placement of the stars and planets at the exact moment of her birth. Here’s how Thornton said aspects of her chart, from her Taurus sun to her Leo moon, may have contributed to the queen she became.
A chart destined for royalty
Elizabeth was born on April 21, 1926. Called the “accidental queen,” Elizabeth was not born believing she would take the throne. But when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated, she was thrust into a higher position in the line of succession.
While queendom wasn’t initially in the cards, Thornton said she was destined for leadership, based on her chart. Essentially, Thornton said, the queen's destiny was no accident. “This really is a chart that reflects everything she was," she said.
'A life of service': Saturn and earth signs rule Elizabeth's chart
Thornton said that Elizabeth's commitment to a life of service is made evident by three aspects of her chart: The sun in Taurus, the ascendant in Capricorn, and Saturn ruling her chart, positioned high overhead.
Sun in Taurus
The queen was born with the sun at zero degrees of Taurus, meaning that she was the purest expression of the sign, according to Thornton.
“Taurus is very much a sign of steadfastness and solidity, but also continuity and constancy, all words that have been used to describe the queen,” she said.
Her sun sign may also explain why Elizabeth was drawn to nature. The queen had a long-established love of dogs (those corgis!), horses and animals in general. She was also said to be happiest at her Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle, where she died.
“I wouldn’t say Taurus and horses necessarily go together, but animals are all part of the outdoor life, which is a quintessentially Taurean thing,” she said.
Thornton does have an astrological explanation for Elizabeth’s love of horses, though. She points to the conjunction (or close proximity) between Elizabeth’s Mars, the planet of aggression and action, and larger-than-life Jupiter, which happens to rule horses.
“That she had her planet Mars neck-and-neck with Jupiter really emphasizes why she was such a skilled horsewoman,” she said.
Equally important to Elizabeth’s steadfast image, Thornton said, is her Capricorn ascendant. Rising signs are the persona we project to the outside world, our dispositions. And Capricorn is the “rock of ages,” Thornton said. Capricorns are known for their enduring and unwavering qualities.
Thornton invoked British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who called the queen the “rock that modern Britain was built on,” which Thornton said is “so true of this Capricorn rising feature.”
Saturn on the midheaven
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which is found on her midheaven, or at the top of her chart.
“Saturn becomes a planet of huge importance and significance in her life. With Saturn, we get responsibility. We get duty. We get a strong sense of tradition,” Thornton said.
'A natural performer': The queen's moon in Leo and her fun-loving private side
In his first address as monarch, King Charles III pointed out his mother’s sense of humor. While the queen was often stalwart, glimmers of her privately playful self were visible, especially during pop culture appearances in her later years.
For this, Thornton points to Elizabeth’s moon sign. “The moon in astrology symbolizes your emotions, your childhood, your private life,” Thornton explained.
Elizabeth’s moon sign fell in the fixed fire sign of Leo. “This (is a) very outgoing, colorful, regal sign. Many occasions recently in the coverage about the queen’s life, we’ve seen this extraordinary sense of humor, this great sense of timing,” she said.
This placement, Thornton said, made Elizabeth a natural performer. As children, Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, used to write and perform plays. Thornton also pointed to the sketch at the 2012 London Olympics, which she said the queen “insisted” on being in after she caught wind of the concept. (She and Daniel Craig’s James Bond teamed up.)
“And of course, her life has been a performance in many regards,” Thornton said.
Thornton said another aspect lent to her mischievous side: Mars being close to Jupiter. “That’s really exuberant, that’s fun loving,” she said.
A sense of compassion
The close proximity of the moon and Neptune in Elizabeth's chart, Thornton said, made her a compassionate person. "She had great empathy, whether she was dealing with world leaders or ordinary people. She had compassion and empathy for their positions," she said.
Thornton also said this gave Elizabeth her strong sense of faith, with the moon — her interior self — being close to Neptune, the planet of the divine.
"At the time of her passing, Neptune had progressed to her midheaven, which was a clear sign that she was transitioning from the physical to the spiritual," Thornton said.
Echoes of the queen's chart in her family members
According to Thornton, families often have astrological similarities, natal charts that are in conversation with one another. The Windsors are no exception.
“Senior members of the royal family share some of these important ingredients, what we call degree areas, which means they have planets in the same place,” she said.
Thornton also pointed out that many of the members of the royal family have planets in the four fixed signs: Taurus, Scorpio, Leo and Aquarius. For example, Charles is a Scorpio sun and Leo rising. These similarities mean that current astrological transits — like the eclipses of 2021 and 2022 along the Scorpio-Taurus axis — affect them all.
She also sees echoes of Elizabeth’s natal chart through the generations of her family, including Charles, the eldest of her four children, in their own natal charts.
Charles’ natal moon is in Taurus, on the same degree as Elizabeth’s sun in Taurus. Further, the position of the moon — which represents interior life and relationships with the mother — holds even more significance for Charles.
“The moon is elevated, which was almost like showing you the importance of his mother and the honor and respect he held for her,” Thornton said.
As for the similarities between Charles and his mother beyond that? Thornton said she’s still focused on the queen, but will eventually turn her attention to the new king’s chart. “It remains to be seen what the future will hold under Charles’ hands. It’s a wait and see, at this point,” she said.