Queen Elizabeth II, looking at her life and reign

Queen Elizabeth II had the longest reign of any monarch in the United Kingdom and wasn’t even born to be the queen.

On Sept. 8, the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch passed away at the age of 96. Queen Elizabeth II, having ruled the UK for more than 70 years, died peacefully at her Balmoral Castle, widely considered by the press to have been her favorite of the royal properties. She is preceded in death by her husband, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, whom she was married to for almost seventy five years. Queen Elizabeth II has long been lauded as one of the greatest British monarchs in history, but she was not even born to be queen.

In 1936, Queen Elizabeth’s uncle became king following the death of his father. King Edward VIII reigned for less than a year before abdicating the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Following his abdication, he was given the title Duke of Windsor and moved to Paris with his new wife. Queen Elizabeth’s father then became King George VI, making Elizabeth the heir-apparent to the throne. Then in 1952, when her father died at age 57 of a heart attack, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at only 25.

As a princess, Queen Elizabeth served as a mechanic in World War II, and celebrated incognito in a crowd when Allied forces achieved victory in Europe. At age 21, she became engaged to then-Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, coincidentally a distant cousin of hers. Almost a year after their wedding, the now-King Charles III was born, and three more children followed: Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Queen Elizabeth’s time as regnant was not without its controversies, however. After a very publicly tumultuous marriage, then-Prince Charles divorced his beloved wife, Princess Diana, in 1996, causing a media firestorm to descend upon the royals. The pressure became even greater when Diana died, as two billion sets of eyes watched every royal move during her funeral. More recently, the queen had come under fire for the actions of her son, Prince Andrew, who had been a known friend of Jeffrey Epstein and settled a sexual abuse case out of court in Feb. 2022. In recent years, particularly since the death of Prince Philip, the late queen took a step back from some of her royal duties.

The body of the late monarch is currently lying in state at the Palace of Westminster. Queen Elizabeth’s funeral is scheduled to be held Monday, Sept. 19, at 11 a.m. local time, which is 5 a.m. Central Daylight Time. At the end of the funeral, a two-minute nationwide silence will be observed before her body is buried in Windsor Castle, alongside her parents and late husband. The former Prince Charles immediately ascended to the throne upon the death of his mother, and has decided to keep his birth name upon becoming monarch, making him King Charles III. Queen Elizabeth is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren and countless corgis.

Post Author: Victoria Grossman