German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to delegates from her political party, the Christian Democratic Union, in 2018.
Merkel was born in Hamburg, West Germany in 1954 but grew up in East Germany. Her father, Horst Kasner, was a Lutheran minister, and her mother, Herlind, taught English.
Merkel (left) at a New Year’s Eve celebration with friends in Berlin in 1972 In 1977, at the age of 23, she married her first husband, Ulrich Merkel. They divorced in 1982, but she kept her last name.
Merkel poses with her siblings Markus and Irene Kasner.
Merkel visits an orphanage during her campaign for election to the Bundestag, the German parliament, in 1990. Before entering politics, Merkel received a medical degree. She was also a spokesperson for the Democratic Awakening, an East German opposition movement before reunification.
A month after being elected to the Bundestag, Merkel was appointed to the German cabinet in January 1991. Chancellor Helmut Kohl appointed her Minister for Women and Youth.
Merkel looks at Kohl during a conference of the Christian Democratic Union, their political party, in 1991. At that time, Merkel was the deputy chairman of the party.
In 1994, Merkel changed her post in the Cabinet, becoming Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. Here she visits a water treatment plant in Bad Honnef, Germany in 1995.
Merkel, the country’s environmental leader, irons wrapping paper to show how it can be recycled.
Merkel and Health Minister Horst Seehofer attended a cabinet meeting in 1995.
Merkel is seated in a “beach basket” or beach basket in an undated photograph. In 2000, Merkel became the first female chairman of the Christian Democratic Union. At that time it was an opposition party.
Merkel (left) at the opening of the Wagner Festival, an annual music festival in Bayreuth, Germany, 2001.
Merkel spends part of her summer in Langballig, Germany in 2002.
Merkel meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2002, one of many meetings they have had over the years. Merkel speaks fluent Russian and Putin speaks German.
Merkel speaks in Nuremberg, Germany ahead of the 2005 federal election.
Merkel was sworn in as Germany’s first female chancellor in November 2005.
Merkel visited the White House in January 2006. A few days later, she also visited the Kremlin in Russia.
US President George W. Bush displays a barrel of pickled herring he was given as a gift after arriving in Stralsund, Germany in July 2006.
Merkel visits troops stationed in Turkey in February 2013. Later that year, she was re-elected for a third term.
Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer walk with US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama before dinner in Berlin in June 2013. Merkel and Sauer have been married since 1998.
Merkel speaks with Obama on the sidelines of a G7 summit near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, in June 2015.
Merkel was named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2015. Time Editor-in-Chief Carl Wieck called her “the de facto leader of the European Union” by virtue of being the leader of the EU’s largest and most economically powerful member state. In the same year, he said, the EU twice faced “existential crises” in which Merkel took the lead: first the Greek debt crisis faced by the eurozone, and then the ongoing migration crisis.
Merkel and Obama test a virtual reality headset at a trade fair in Hannover, Germany, in April 2016.
Merkel and US President Donald Trump hold a joint press conference at the White House in March 2017.
Merkel raises her glass during a toast at the Trudering Festival in Munich, Germany, May 2017.
Merkel recording her annual televised New Year’s address in December 2017.
In this handout photo provided by the German government press office in July 2018, Merkel welcomes a newborn calf during a visit to the Trede family dairy farm in Nienborstel, Germany.
Merkel lays flowers to Volker Bouffier, prime minister of Hesse and deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, before a party leadership meeting in October 2018. The day before, her coalition government suffered heavy losses in key regional elections in Hesse.
Merkel speaks at a debate on the future of Europe during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, in November 2018. continent.
Merkel touches the Carnival Prince’s scepter during the annual carnival reception in Berlin in February 2019.
Merkel is photographed with students during a visit to a high school in Berlin in April 2019.
Merkel speaks with European Council President Donald Tusk and British Prime Minister Theresa May at a round table meeting in Brussels, Belgium in April 2019. May was in Brussels to formally present her case for a short Brexit delay.
Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by Prime Minister Theresa May, greets Merkel in Portsmouth, England, in June 2019. This preceded an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.
Raindrops coat a car window as Merkel arrives for the opening of the James-Simon Gallery in Berlin in July 2019.
In March 2020, Merkel delivered a rare televised address telling the German people that the coronavirus pandemic is the country’s worst crisis since World War II.
Merkel attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Neue Wache memorial in Berlin in May 2020. It was the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, also known as Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
Merkel meets with US President Joe Biden at the White House in July 2021.
Merkel receives a medal from Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, during the September 2021 opening of the WHO Pandemic and Epidemic Information Center in Berlin. The goal of the new center is to better monitor global health threats and help prevent future ones.
Merkel feeds Australian lorikeets at the Marlow Bird Park in Marlow, Germany in September 2021.