Elizabeth Karlson was born in 1958, the daughter of Imperial Navy Commander Brian Karlson and school teacher Janet Karlson. As the daughter of a naval officer, the young Elizabeth moved frequently and changed schools every few years. In 1975, Elizabeth graduate high school and enrolled at the University of Landing. That same year Elizabeth’s father was assigned to the Imperial Naval Academy at New Boston, where one of his students was Prince David, the grandson of then-Empress Mary II.
Elizabeth and David met during one of Elizabeth’s school breaks and the couple quickly became inseparable. David graduated from the Academy in 1978 and was commissioned as an active duty Ensign. Elizabeth graduated in 1979 with a degree in psychology. The couple married in 1980. In 1981, the Empress died and Elizabeth’s father-in-law ascended the throne as David III.
While David pursued his naval career, the now-Princess Elizabeth worked as a school counselor. Their first child, Prince Joseph, was born in 1983, and their second, Princess Rebecca, was born in 1990. Their youngest child, Prince James, was born in 1995.
In 1997, when her brother-in-law Prince Paul – who was the heir apparent – died in a tragic accident, David became the new heir apparent, forcing Elizabeth and her family to move to the capital and take on new duties in the Imperial Court. She and David also took on responsibility, along with her sister-in-law – Princess Christiana, for raising her orphaned nephew, Prince Peter.
In 1998, David ascended the throne as Emperor David IV, making the former Elizabeth Karlson, the commoner daughter of a career naval officer, the Empress Elizabeth.