Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: 1926-2022 


With a simple message fastened to the Buckingham Palace gate stating that she died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the world was told that a sense of stability for the last 70 years has left us.

Queen Elizabeth II — born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor in Mayfair, London, on April 21, 1926 — ascended the throne in 1952 and witnessed decades of change, both good and bad, around the world. All the while, she kept to the mantra of British royalty: “Keep calm and carry on.”

Her eldest son, Charles, the Prince of Wales, will now become king and his wife Camilla will be queen consort. Charles will lead the country and 14 commonwealth realms in mourning for the long-reigning monarch.

Prince William will now become second in line to the throne, with his young son Prince George third in succession.

Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure began after World War II after her uncle Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson and her father King George VI died in February 1952.

The Queen’s reign saw 15 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill (born in 1874) and ending with the latest, Liz Truss (born in 1975). Truss just met with Elizabeth II, days before her death, when the Queen invited her to form a government after Truss was confirmed as the new leader of the Conservative Party.

One of the senses of stability in her own life was Elizabeth’s 74-year marriage to her love, Philip, Prince of Greece. The two married at Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947, with the prince taking on the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen described Philip as “my strength and stay” through their nearly 75-year marriage before his death in the spring of 2021. The two welcomed son Charles (now King Charles III), Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.

Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, at just 27 years old. The coverage of her coronation pulled in a then-record 20 million people.

“It was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can,” she said.

During her time as Queen, Elizabeth saw the end of the British Empire overseas, the turbulent, sexually provocative 1960s and ’70s and social norms changing. Also, despite setbacks like the 1992 Windsor Castle fire, dubbed the “annus horribilis,” and the death of Princess Diana in 1997, the Queen carried on.

Personally, as an older millennial born in 1985, it is quite sad for me to see such a sense of stability in our lives leave us. Throughout the turbulence, the rough times and the happiest of news, Queen Elizabeth II reigned. It feels as if we’ve all lost our much-loved granny who had a penchant for dressing colorfully (and a rumored naughty sense of humor behind closed doors!).

The Queen is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

If there is one thing Queen Elizabeth II has taught us, it’s a sense of duty, responsibility, family, God and country. Her stiff upper lip while she went about ceremonial duties, awards ceremonies and meeting every U.S. president from Truman (except LBJ) to Biden ended up forming a bond with the British people, and many others around the world.

The condolence book at the British Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Ave. NW will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, Sept. 9, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 12.

“It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.” — Queen Elizabeth II 

 

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