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A Look at the Life and Reign of Queen Elizabeth II

After 70-years, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign came to an end with her passing away on Sept. 8, 2022.

According to PBS, Britain’s longest monarch died peacefully at her Scottish estate after being placed under medical supervision for failing health.

In a statement, her son, now King Charles III, said his mother’s death was “a moment of great sadness” for him and her loss will be “deeply felt” around the world.

Charles will return to London on Friday, where it is said he will officially address the nation as King.

Elizabeth Alexandria Mary Windsor was born on April 21, 1926, in Mayfair, London. After her uncle, Edward VIII, relinquished the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson, her father became King George VI.

Shortly after her 18th birthday, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. Here, she learned basic motor mechanics and driving skills.

Throughout the war, she and her third Cousin Philip, who was at the time Prince of Greece, exchanged letters and would eventually marry on November 20, 1947. Together, the couple had four children- Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Philip was married to Elizabeth until his death in 2021, making him the longest-serving consort in British history.

Elizabeth discovered King George VI had died in 1952 while she was representing him in Kenya. She was officially crowned on June 2, 1953, at 27 years old.

According to the BBC, Queen Elizabeth reformed the monarchy during her reign, making herself accessible to the general public through “walkabouts,” which she started in 1970. She would also attend public events.

In 1965, the Queen participated in a diplomatic 10-day trip to West Germany, the first time a British royal had been there since 1913. The visit marked the 20-year anniversary of World War II, and cemented reconciliation between the two countries.

However, Queen Elizabeth’s reign was not without turmoil.

In 1992, multiple royal family marriages were beginning to deteriorate. Most notably, the union between Prince Charles and Princess Diana was strained and they announced their decision to separate. Prince Andrew also separated from his wife and Anne, the Queen’s only daughter, divorced her husband.

Later in the year, a fire broke out in Windsor Castle and destroyed 100 rooms in the process. In a speech, the Queen said 1992 was a “Annus Horribilis,” which is Latin for a “horrible year.”

Additionally, the Queen and entire royal family were criticized after Charles’ split from Lady Diana, and this criticism only grew after Diana was killed in a Paris car crash in the summer of 1997. 

The Queen originally remained at her Scotland estate and refused to allow the flags to fly at half-mast to honor Diana. She also refused to address the nation regarding the young princess’ death, although after the encouragement of her advisors, she went ahead and changed her stance on the flag and delivered a televised address.

In 2002, during what otherwise would have been a happy time for Queen Elizabeth as it was her 50-year Golden Jubilee, she was scarred with two losses. Within weeks of each other, her mother and sister Princess Margaret died.

Despite these losses, Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee since Queen Victoria in 1887 and traveled over 40,000 miles, visiting various places like the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

When Queen Elizabeth inherited the throne, the position of British monarch was already reduced in terms of power and authority. Despite not having much authoritative power compared to parliament, Queen Elizabeth was still an important part of British history.

Elizabeth brought stability to what was a hectic time in Britain, especially after her uncle’s sudden abdication of the throne, causing her father to take charge, albeit reluctantly.

Additionally, Elizabeth helped modernize the monarchy simply by being open to change and new technologies. She was the first monarch to use the power of television to communicate directly to the public.

Finally, according to The Guardian, Queen Elizabeth is the most charitable monarch by far, giving to more charities than any other monarch in history.

Regardless of opinion when it comes to the Queen or the monarchy in general, it is undeniable Queen Elizabeth was hugely impactful on the world stage for the past 70 years. With her passing, the world is bound to look different from this point forward.

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