This is heartbreaking news. Queen Elizabeth II, monarch of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has died at age 96. The historic and record-breaking 70-year reign came to an end on September 8. The news was confirmed by the Royal Family’s social media at 6:30 p.m. local time. “The Queen died peacefully at Belmoral this afternoon,” the statement read. “The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Queen Elizabeth’s death comes after Buckingham Palace released a statement revealing that her “doctors [were] concerned for Her Majesty’s health” on the morning of Sept. 8. She received further medical attention at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, until her passing. Her family members rushed to be by her side in the hours before she passed, with Prince William and Prince Harry both flying out immediately to be with her. William reportedly made it in time, but Harry was seen arriving hours after the announcement of her death.
In June 2022, the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee. Many members of the royal family came to celebrate her 70th anniversary as a British Monarch. Despite many festivities being planned, it was revealed that she would be skipping a Friday church service, because she wasn’t feeling well. “The Queen greatly enjoyed today’s Birthday Parade and Flypast but did experience some discomfort,” a spokesperson said on Thursday, June 2. “Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded that she will not attend.”
While the monarch has been in good health over the years, she was admitted to hospital in Oct. 2021 — but discharged in “good spirits,” reported the New York Times. She also tested positive for COVID-19 in February 2022, but only experienced “mild symptoms” as she continued to work.
Elizabeth was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926. Her father Prince Albert, later King George VI was the Duke of York and second in line to the throne behind his older brother Prince Edward, later King Edward VIII. After the death of King George V, King Edward ascended to the throne but abdicated in one the biggest royal scandals of all time. King Edward wished to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson, which is forbidden so King Edward relinquished his title. Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and made Elizabeth next in line.
During World War II, Elizabeth worked as a driver and mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In the meantime, Elizabeth had begun a romance with Philip Mountbatten, who had ties to the royal families of Denmark and Greece. The couple became engaged and married on November 20, 1947. Elizabeth soon had two children Prince Charles in 1948 and Princess Anne in 1950.
Her Majesty was predeceased by her husband of 73 years in April 2021. The Duke was 99 at the time of his passing, several weeks after he was admitted to the hospital for heart surgery. His funeral service was held later that month at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
King George VI died on February 6, 1962 while Elizabeth and Prince Phillip were in Kenya at the time of the King’s death. Elizabeth immediately became ruling monarch. She was coronated on June 2, 1953.
The monarchy was not without its’ scandals though. Following Prince Charles’ marriage to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, the couple divorced nine years later. Another of the Queen’s children Prince Andrew also divorced his wife Sarah Ferguson after a cheating scandal erupted in the press. The Queen then had to weather the storm of Princess Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris.
The new millennium brought several happy occasions for the monarch including the wedding of her grandson Prince William to Catherine Middleton, who became the Duchess of Cambridge. Soon after, the Duke and Duchess welcomed the arrival of their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, which marked 60 years on the throne.
Prince Charles succeeds his mother as the monarch and Prince William will assume his father’s title as Prince of Wales. Queen Elizabeth II lived an incredible life and we will keep you updated as this develops.