Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch who provided stability to a changing nation,
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, Buckingham Palace said Thursday. She served as Britain’s constitutional monarch for 70 years, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history.
His reign spanned a remarkable arc in British history and was defined by duty to the country and considerable family pain. His death is an important milestone for the country, which has sparked a wave of national love and grief.
It also comes at a time when the UK is transitioning from a deeply controversial prime minister, Boris Johnson, to a new prime minister, Liz Truss, who just took office this week. The country is facing the challenge of skyrocketing inflation and the biggest war in Europe since 1945.
Elizabeth was born into an empire in which the sun never set and was the country’s last major figure in World War II, a dramatic, ultimately triumphant experience that, for some, defined the nation. On V-E Day in 1945, Elizabeth, then 19, described walking out of Buckingham Palace to join the cheering crowd.
“I recall lines of strangers locking arms and meandering along Whitehall, and we were all swept away in an exhilarating feeling of relief,” he recalled.
Later, Elizabeth saw Britain lose most of its colonies and its power. Three of his four children had many personal setbacks, including divorce. The deaths of his former daughter-in-law Diana and a sex scandal involving her son Prince Andrew At the end of her reign, her grandson Prince Harry left the family and England to join his American wife, Meghan Markle, in California.
Through it all, though, the Queen worked to fulfill a vow she had made when she was just 21: “I declare to you that all my life, be it long or short, will be at your service.” and will be devoted to the service of our noble people. The royal family, to which we all belong. “
Through the ups and downs of his tenure, his hard work and longevity earned him deep admiration throughout Britain.
Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in London in 1926, her accession to the throne was an accident of history. In 1936, his uncle, King Edward VIII, refused to marry Wallace Simpson, a divorced American woman. Elizabeth’s shy, rambunctious father took the throne as George VI, putting her in the front row.
When World War II broke out three years later, Princess Elizabeth began performing official royal duties and gave the first of many broadcasts, billed as an address to the children of the British Empire.
In 1947, aged 25, she married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, a dashing naval officer and distant cousin with whom she had fallen in love as a teenager.
Five years later, during a trip to Kenya, Elizabeth received the devastating news at home that her father, who had been suffering from heart disease and cancer, had died in his sleep. A year later, his spectacular coronation at Westminster Abbey attracted a global TV audience.
Elizabeth made a glamorous young queen in the grey, post-war years-but also an aloof one. Occasionally, she appeared to let her guard down and allow TV cameras into her home. She spoke about her embrace of the predictability of royal life and how the younger family members hid in her strictures.
“You live too much by tradition and continuity if you live a life that people don’t like so much,” he laughed. That, in my opinion, is a sad thing.
Given the nature of her work, Elizabeth said she knows exactly what she will be doing in the next two months or the coming year.
Difficulties involving the younger royals led to some of the most painful periods in the Queen’s life.
In just one year—1992—the marriages of her three eldest children broke up. That November, a fire destroyed Windsor Castle, his childhood home on the banks of the River Thames outside London.
“It turned out to be an ‘annus horribilis,'” the Queen continued, quoting another sympathetic letter.
“I think the sovereign felt profoundly injured by her family’s absence of progress,” says Sarah Bradford, creator of a few life stories of Elizabeth. “She simply felt humiliated and probably guilty.”
Five years later, things got worse when paparazzi on motorcycles chased Diana, Princess of Wales, through Paris. The Mercedes she was traveling in crashed into a pillar in a tunnel on the banks of the Seine and she was killed.
Diana had recently divorced Prince Charles but remained a sympathetic figure for many.
Instead of returning to London to lead her people in mourning, the Queen remained at her palace in Balmoral, comforting her grandsons, Diana’s sons, Princes William and Harry. Many Britons were furious and saw the Queen as uncaring and uncaring.
“The week before Diana’s entombment was seemingly the absolute bottom in the Sovereign’s life since she was chastised without precedent for her life,” Bradford adds. Under pressure from the public, the Sovereign got back to London and ultimately answered what she called “a surprising and contacting reaction to [Diana’s] demise.”
With this tribute to Diana, the crisis was over. By 2012, when the Queen celebrated her 60th year on the throne, she had regained her popularity. A few weeks later came the London Olympics, where he delighted a global TV audience by pretending to skydive in the Olympic Stadium alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond.
More recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, the Queen gave a rare national speech in which she illustrated the unique role she plays in Britain. She soothed the British people and stressed the country’s historic traditions as head of state and national matriarch.
“We are fighting this disease together, and I want to assure you that if we stay united and determined, we will overcome it,” she told Windsor Castle. “I hope that in the years to come, everyone may be proud of how they responded to this challenge,” she says, adding that those who follow after us will remark that this generation of Britons was as strong as any.”This country values self-control, relaxed assurance, and individuality.”
Still, recent years have seen additional family turmoil and crises that have dogged the monarchy, including allegations that a 17-year-old girl was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, whom she interviewed on the BBC. Denied while giving
In 2021, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, said they experienced racism within the royal family. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Meghan, who is racist, said that her son Archie has been discriminated against. “There have been debates and concerns about how dark his skin would be when he is born,” she explained.
Buckingham Palace issued a statement calling the charges “concerning” and stating that the family would handle them individually.
About a month later, Prince Philip, whom the Queen called “my strength and savior”, died aged 99 after more than seven decades of marriage.
With the death of the Queen, her son Charles becomes King.
The Queen was immensely popular, even among Britons who were not keen on the monarchy. Charles, however, is not. This year’s survey showed that only a third of the people here want him to be king. Many people are unhappy with Charles because of how he handled his first marriage.
The legacy of the whole Diana disaster goes deep.” “The image that Diana gave to the world of the Prince of Wales is not a very attractive one. It was a picture of a very selfish, eccentric, strange man.”
Royal observers say the monarchy poses a serious challenge going forward because of Charles’s declining popularity and connection with many Britons.
Elizabeth became Queen when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain and Harry Truman was President of the United States. He has worked with 15 British Prime Ministers and met 13 of the last 14 US Presidents.
Queen Elizabeth is the only monarch the majority of Britons have ever known. Bradford believes that history will rank her with Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria as one of the country’s greatest monarchs.
“I accept Sovereign’s heritage will hold the whole thing together, connected to the world through great and awful,” Bradford says. “I expect her to appear committed, capable, and gracious in a variety of ways.”
A quarter of a century after assuming the throne, Queen Elizabeth II summed up her role and her relationship with her subjects: “I dedicated my life to the service of my people when I was 21 years old,” she stated.”I make no apologies or retreat from this obligation I took in my plate of mixed greens days when I was green in judgment.”
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