Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, after a total of 70 years on the throne and as the UK’s longest reigning monarch.
Her Majesty the Queen passed away at her home in Balmoral, Scotland surrounded by her family including Prince William, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, who is the country’s new King.
The Life of Queen Elizabeth II
Born on April 21, 1926, she was the eldest daughter of the then Duke and Duchess of York – the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later the Queen Mother) – during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King George V.
Princess Elizabeth was the heir presumptive for some years as her uncle, the soon-to-be King Edward VIII, wasn’t married nor did he have any children. When her uncle abdicated just under a year into his ascension to the throne, in 1936, Elizabeth became the direct heir to the British throne.
During her life, the Queen developed a great love of horses and dogs – especially her famous Corgis – and was later described as “a jolly little girl, but fundamentally sensible and well-behaved” by her cousin Margaret Rhodes.
As she reached her teen years the UK was plunged into the Second World War and Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret stayed with their parents in London as the Queen Mother famously declared: ‘The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave.’
When she was old enough the Princess joined Auxiliary Territorial Service where she trained as a driver and mechanic – she was even given the rank of honorary junior commander (female equivalent of captain at the time).
After the war, the Princess got engaged to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the pair married in 1947. They would go on to have four children between 1948 and 1964 and subsequently have eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Reign of Queen Elizabeth II
Following the untimely death of her father in 1952, the Queen ascended the throne and celebrated her Platinum Jubilee – 70 years on the throne – this year.
During her reign, the Queen has been the patron of more than 600 charities and organisations across the UK and the Commonwealth and carried out more than 21,000 engagements over that time, as well as giving Royal Assent to approximately 4,000 Acts of Parliament.
In her 70 years on the throne, the Queen changed alongside the changing world around her – she made her first radio broadcast in October 1940, during the Second World War and even sent her first email in 1976, then posted to Instagram for the first time in 2019.
Queen Elizabeth worked with 15 Prime Ministers, including the country’s first female PM, Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
Queen Elizabeth II Dies
In her 1947 broadcast to the Commonwealth, the Queen said: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’ Her Majesty has now spent her whole life in service to her country and worked up to the week of her death when she asked her 15th PM to form a government.
The Queen had previously had health issues over the previous year and had to cancel several commitments during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Then the morning of her death Buckingham Palace announced her doctors were ‘deeply concerned’ with her health and several heads of state, including President Joe Biden, sent messages of their thoughts and prayers.
Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96 and after 70 years on the throne.