Queen Elizabeth II has passed away
Queen Elizabeth II has passed away
Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch, died at the age of 96 at Balmoral, after reigning for 70 years.
Her family gathered at her Scottish estate after health concerns arose earlier in the day.
Since her accession to the throne in 1952, the Queen has witnessed enormous social change.
Charles, her eldest son, becomes King Charles III and the ruler of 14 Commonwealth realms. He said the death of his beloved mother was “a moment of great sadness”.
In a statement, His Majesty the King said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
He said during the period of mourning and change he and his family would be “comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held”.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
“The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.
Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen on Tuesday, said the monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built and she had “provided us with the stability and strength that we needed”.
Speaking about the new King, she said: “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long.
“And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign as head of state spanned postwar austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War, and the United Kingdom’s entry into – and exit from – the European Union.
Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1874 and ending with Ms Truss in 1975, 101 years later.
Throughout her reign, she met with her prime minister on a weekly basis.
Crowds waiting for updates on the Queen’s condition at Buckingham Palace in London began crying as they learned of her death. At 18:30 BST, the Union flag atop the palace was lowered to half-mast, and an official notice announcing the death was posted on an easel outside.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born on April 21, 1926, in Mayfair, London.
Few could have predicted she would become monarch, but in December 1936, her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American.
Elizabeth’s father became King George VI, and Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne at the age of ten.
Britain was at war with Nazi Germany within three years. After their parents rejected suggestions that they are evacuated to Canada, Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of the wartime at Windsor Castle.
Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service after turning 18 and learned basic motor mechanics and driving skills. “I began to understand the esprit de corps that thrives in the face of adversity,” she later recalled.
During the war, she corresponded with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who served in the Royal Navy.
Their romance blossomed, and the couple married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey, with the prince assuming the title of Duke of Edinburgh.
She would later refer to him as “my strength and stay” throughout their 74-year marriage, until his death in 2021, at the age of 99.
Charles, their first son, was born in 1948, Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960, and Prince Edward in 1964. They gave their parents eight grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren.
In 1952, Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya representing the ailing King when Philip informed her that her father had died. She returned to London as the new Queen right away.
“It was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can,” she later recalled.
Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, at the age of 27, in front of a then-record television audience of more than 20 million people.
With the end of the British Empire overseas and the swinging ’60s sweeping away social norms at home, the following decades would see significant change.
Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for a more deferential age, engaging the public through walkabouts, royal visits, and attendance at public events. Her dedication to the Commonwealth was unwavering; she visited each Commonwealth country at least once.
However, there were times of private and public anguish. In 1992, the Queen’s “annus horribilis” fire destroyed Windsor Castle, which served as both a private residence and a working palace, and three of her children’s marriages failed.
Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, the Queen was chastised for failing to respond publicly.
There were some who questioned the monarchy’s relevance in modern society.
“No institution… should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t,” she acknowledged.
Elizabeth, a 21-year-old princess, had vowed to devote her life to service.
During her Silver Jubilee in 1977, she declared, “Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret or retract one word of it.”
That same commitment to service was made 45 years later in a thank you letter to the nation during her Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.
The occasion was marked by a variety of state ceremonies, a colourful festival of all things British, and lively street parties.
Despite the fact that the Queen’s health prevented her from attending some events, she stated, “My heart has been with you all.”