Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history and an instantly recognizable icon for billions of people around the world, died yesterday. She was 96 years old.
Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, followed by 10 days of national mourning, and tributes to her longevity and record-breaking reign poured out.
“The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at 6:30 p.m. local time.
“The King and Queen will remain in Balmoral tonight and return to London tomorrow.”
The eldest of her four children, Prince Charles, at 73, is the oldest heir in British history and soon became king.
The Queen’s death came after the palace announced yesterday that doctors were “concerned” about the Queen’s health and recommended she remain under medical supervision.
All her children – Charles, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, flocked to her retreat, Balmoral, in the Scottish Highlands.
Prince Charles’ son, Prince William, and his younger brother, Prince Harry, were also in attendance.
Two days ago, the Queen appointed Liz Truss as the 15th Prime Minister of her reign.
One photo from the meeting set the alarm, with a deep purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand.
Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 after World War II at just 25 years old, joining a world stage dominated by politicians such as Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Her 70-year reign spanned two centuries of social, political and technological upheaval.
The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire have collapsed. In her home, Brexit shook the foundations of her kingdom and her family endured a string of scandals.
However, she remained consistently popular and was Queen and Head of State not only for the United Kingdom, but 14 former British colonies including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
She visited Hong Kong twice, in May 1975 and October 1976. When she visited her public works, she received an enthusiastic reception as only one or her two police officers guarded her.
She was also Head of the Commonwealth of 56 nations, which embraced a quarter of humanity, and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the Anglican Church worldwide.
But it raises questions as to whether the golden age of the British monarchy has passed, how the ancient system can survive in modern times, whether Charles will be treated with the same respect, or whether he will reign in his mother’s shadow. will be
Television and radio stations interrupted their regular programming to broadcast the news, and a long-rehearsed special schedule was set up to remember her long life and reign.
The national anthem “God Save the Queen” was played. Flags were lowered and church bells were rung in memory of the woman who was once called “the last world monarch.”
A nationwide mourning period culminates in a final public farewell at Westminster Abbey in central London.
The coronation of Prince Charles is an elaborate ceremony steeped in tradition and history, taking place in the same historic setting for centuries, though the date is yet to be determined.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was, to most of her subjects, the only monarch they ever knew, the immutable figurehead of stamps, banknotes, and coins.
A petite icon of popular culture, she was instantly recognizable in her brightly colored suits and matching hats, pearls, gloves and handbags.
During her reign, the royal family went from being a rigid and distant figure to tabloid fodder to newfound popularity in television dramas such as “The Crown” watched by tens of millions of people around the world.
Her tenure spanned a period of remarkable change, from the Cold War to the 9/11 attacks, from climate change to COVID-19 to “snail mail” to steamships, email and space exploration.
She is a living embodiment of post-war Britain, and has come to be seen as a bridge between the present and a bygone era.
The mother of one of the world’s most famous families, she continued to garner a huge following despite the backlash following the death of Charles’ first wife, Diana, in 1997.
Most recently, Prince Harry and his mixed-race wife, Meghan Markle, rocked the royal family by alleging royal racism.
She also endured a scandal involving her second son, Prince Andrew. Prince Andrew’s friendships with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell saw him settle a civil case for sexual assault in the United States.
Britons were shocked to recognize the beginning of the end of her reign when she lost her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in April 2021.
However, the palace had long been aware of her death, and the transition to Charles was already well underway.
He and his now-heir eldest son Prince William and wife Catherine began to take on more of the Queen’s official role.
The novel coronavirus pandemic and her aging have forced her into the splendid isolation of Windsor Castle, west of London.
But from behind that imposing wall, she remained a reassuring presence, showing up on video calls with the public.
In a rare televised speech during the first lockdown, she recalled the “Blitz spirit” of Britain under siege during World War II that defined her generation.
“See you later,” she said.
She shed the veil of Philip’s death and her forced confinement to resume her official duties, but age and illness forced her to slow down.
After spending an unscheduled night in the hospital following an undisclosed checkup in October 2021, her appearances became rare.
“None of us can live forever.
One of her last decisive acts was to settle an unanswered question of succession and to congratulate Charles’ second wife, Camilla, to be called “Queen Consort.”