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After nearly 70 years of reign, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom passed away at age 96. Medical supervision was brought to Balmoral Castle on Thursday, September 8, but her passing occurred in the late afternoon of the same day. Her reign was the longest of any British monarch, creating a profound legacy for her. This tragedy now makes the Queen’s firstborn child, Prince Charles, the king.
Concern for The Queen’s health was apparent days before her death when she appointed the new prime minister, Liz Truss, at her Scottish Estate. This ceremonial act typically occurs at Buckingham Palace Deviation from tradition was not typical behavior for The Queen. Her longstanding as monarch made her a global figure of poise and continuity. She remained an integral part of the United Kingdom’s society despite scandals and societal pressures about the monarchy.
The Queen was planning succession as Prince Charles slowly took on her royal duties. On the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed her blessing to Prince Charles that his wife Camilla may be known as queen consort when he becomes king. However, Queen Elizabeth II leaves large shoes for her son Charles to fill. Her guiding hand navigated the British government quietly and diligently for seven decades without fault.
As heir presumptive, Princess Elizabeth was groomed into being a public figure from a young age. Her childhood guardian and private instructor, Marion Crawford, wrote in her 1950 memoir The Little Princesses that as a child Princess Elizabeth emanated an “orderliness and attitude of responsibility.”
Even during the Second World War, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret remained in the United Kingdom as aerial bombings took place. This courageous act set Elizabeth’s role in government in stone. Parliament changed laws for the future Queen before her 18th birthday, allowing her to act as one of five Counselors of State in her father’s place if necessary. Her capabilities as a leader were apparent.
However, the Queen’s early adult life was still subject to controversy due to her engagement with Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. His lack of financial standing and foreign background led to questioning of the Princess’s priorities. Their love prevailed as Philip renounced his Greek and Danish titles and converted to Anglicism for the royal family. The couple was showered with gifts worldwide; Elizabeth received ration coupons for her luxurious dress to be made in struggling post-war Britain.
Queen Elizabeth II took the throne at just 25 years old in 1952. This accession was following the death of her father, King George VI. This crowned her queen of seven independent countries. The princess had been standing in for her father for a year as his health declined, so her immediate accession was not a surprise.
Her legacy is marked by tradition, longevity, and power. She was the head of state of 32 countries during her 70-year reign. In 1991, she became the first British monarch to address the US Congress, urging European and American politicians to cultivate a harmonious relationship between the two. Queen Elizabeth II remained a leading philanthropist supporting and raising money for over 600 organizations.
Her ability to connect with the public as a personable figure created a global fondness for her. The Queen collected love from standing alongside James Bond at the London Olympics 2012 to simple public appearances adorned with pearls and bold colored dresses.
All eyes are on Prince Charles as he assumes his role as King Charles III. In Buckingham Palace’s formal statement, he said, “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
At her death, Queen Elizabeth II was head of state of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the UK.
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