Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, world’s longest-serving monarch, dies at 96

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from the balcony at Buckingham Palace through the queen’s coronation celebrations June 2, 1953.

Keystone | Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-serving monarch who as a teen witnessed the horrors of World War II and as an aged sovereign noticed the agonies of a lethal pandemic and the non-public ache of her family’s turmoil, has died.

She was 96. The queen died “peacefully” at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the British royal household stated.

Under a long-standing plan referred to as “Operation London Bridge,” her loss of life ushers in 10 days of nationwide mourning. Her son Charles turned king upon her loss of life, and might be known as King Charles III.

With husband Prince Philip by her facet, Elizabeth turned queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand upon the loss of life of her father, George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952. Her coronation was June 2, 1953.

On Feb. 6, 2022, Elizabeth turned the primary British monarch to reign 70 years. In honor of the event, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth held a Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

The 96-year-old monarch made an look along with her household on the balcony of Buckingham Palace through the first day of the four-day-long Platinum Jubilee, waving to tens of hundreds of individuals gathered under and watching an aviation show in her honor. But she was unable to attend occasions afterward through the celebrations as a result of discomfort.

Queen Elizabeth II watches from the balcony of Buckingham Palace through the Trooping the Colour parade the Trooping the Colour parade on June 2, 2022 in London, England.

Wpa Pool | Getty Images

Elizabeth’s reign lined a interval of large social, financial, technological and political change. It noticed the transformation of the once-global British Empire right into a Commonwealth of 52 unbiased nations headed by the queen, and the nation’s entrance into and exit from the European Union. Fifteen prime ministers served beneath Elizabeth — from Winston Churchill on her accession to the throne in 1952 to Liz Truss, who was sworn in by the frail queen solely two days earlier than the monarch’s loss of life was introduced.

She additionally presided over a household that noticed tragedy, scandal and turmoil, together with the loss of life of former Princess Diana, the affiliation of son Prince Andrew with the late millionaire intercourse felony Jeffrey Epstein, and the choice by grandson Prince Harry to hunt a extra personal life together with his spouse, the previous Meghan Markle.  

‘Lilibet’ and the War

Then-Princess Elizabeth learns the best way to change a automobile tire as an auxiliary officer of the English Army, 1945.

Roger Viollet | Getty Images

Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth was the primary baby of the Duke and Duchess of York, who turned King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937 following the abdication of Edward VIII. She was the thirty second great-granddaughter of King Alfred the Great, England’s first monarch, who reigned from 871 to 899.

“Lilibet” and her youthful sister, Margaret, born in 1930, have been educated at residence by tutors, together with a governess.

Soon after the coronation of Elizabeth’s father, the U.Ok. was plunged into World War II. At 14, she made her first radio broadcast in 1940, addressing youngsters who had been evacuated to the countryside and overseas to keep away from the bombings of British cities.

“We know, every one of us, that in the end, all will be well,” she intoned in a fragile soprano to the BBC “Children’s Hour” viewers. “For God will care for us and give us victory and peace. When peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”

Later through the struggle, the teenage princess served as a driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) is greeted by crowds as she excursions the East End of London on the day after VE Day, ninth May 1945.

Chris Ware | Hulton Royals Collection | Getty Images

When VE Day arrived, she and Margaret sneaked out of Buckingham Palace to mingle with the crowds on the streets of London celebrating the Allied victory in Europe. “I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief,” she instructed a biographer.

Married to Philip

On Nov. 20, 2017, Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their seventieth marriage ceremony anniversary. Their 73½-year marriage was by far the longest for the monarchy, surpassing that of King George III and Queen Charlotte’s 57 years (1761-1818).

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands in 2017.

Fiona Hanson | PA Images | Getty Images

Princess Elizabeth met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1934 at the marriage of his first cousin, Princess Marina, to Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Thirteen years later, Elizabeth and Philip married at Westminster Abbey in an uplifting ceremony — two years after the tip of World War II. Hundreds of hundreds of individuals lined the streets alongside the route from Buckingham Palace.

“For a brief moment the pace of the strident terrible twentieth century was slowed to the trot of cavalry horses and the rumbling of coaches and pageantry evoked bitter sweet memories of this island’s old, heroic past,” The New York Times’ Drew Middleton wrote in a dispatch from London.

Philip, the princess’ third cousin, had served with the Royal Navy throughout World War II. His household identify was modified to Mountbatten from Battenberg throughout World War I as a result of of anti-German sentiment.

The union was not with out controversy. Philip was broke and foreign-born, however nonetheless they acquired 2,500 marriage ceremony items from around the globe. A son and inheritor, Charles, was born in 1948, adopted by Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Kenya, Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh are formally greeted by an Asian man who’s shaking the Princess’s hand. Beside him stands an Asian girl sporting conventional gown.

Bristol Archives | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

In 1952, Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, started a tour of Australia and New Zealand by stopping in Africa. While they have been in Kenya, the information reached them on Feb. 6 that King George had died. At age 25, Elizabeth ascended to the throne and was topped the next 12 months within the first stay tv coronation to be broadcast around the globe.

In May 2017, a month earlier than Philip’s 96th birthday, Buckingham Palace introduced that the duke was retiring from his royal duties as of September.

Philip died at age 99 on April 9, 2021, the sixteenth anniversary of the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla, and the duke’s funeral was 4 days earlier than Elizabeth’s ninety fifth birthday on April 21. On what would have been his a hundredth birthday on June 20, the queen planted a specifically bred rose named the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden.

Longest-reigning monarch

During her time on the throne, Elizabeth took her place on the worldwide stage together with elected leaders and dictators.

Her lengthy reign noticed her circling the globe many occasions: Following her coronation, Elizabeth and Philip took a seven-month tour, visiting 13 international locations and logging greater than 40,000 miles.

She had met with each U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Joe Biden, aside from Lyndon Johnson. She was entertained at the White House by 5 presidents — Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. She additionally met 5 popes, from Pius XII (in 1951 earlier than she was queen) to Francis in 2014.

The royal household appears on through the annual Trooping The Colour ceremony on June 13, 2015, in London. (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Prince George of Cambridge; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Harry; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

In 2015, Elizabeth overtook her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to develop into the oldest and longest-reigning British monarch. Upon the October 2016 loss of life of Thailand’s King (*96*) Adulyadej, ending his 70 years on the throne, she turned the world’s longest-reigning monarch and head of state.

She celebrated six jubilees, her twenty fifth, fortieth, fiftieth, sixtieth, sixty fifth and seventieth years on the throne, in addition to the marriages of her 4 youngsters and the births of eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

The storybook marriage ceremony of her son Charles to Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, was attended by 2,650 friends at St. Paul’s Cathedral and witnessed by almost a billion tv viewers around the globe.

Elizabeth’s reign was additionally marked by disaster, together with two assassinations makes an attempt, in 1970 and 1981 in Australia and New Zealand, respectively. In 1979, her artwork advisor, Anthony Blunt, was unmasked as a communist spy, and Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb.

‘Annus horribilis’

In 1969, the queen opened palace doorways to tv cameras for a candid look at the household in an try to humanize its members. The ensuing documentary, “Royal Family,” was seen by tens of millions of Britons on the BBC and ITV. Critics, nevertheless, claimed it debased the Windsors, and led to the frenzied movie star protection of members of “The Firm,” because the household is understood. It has not been aired since 1972.

The Royal Family standing exterior Clarence House on the 89th Birthday of the Queen Mother together with Prince Andrew the Duke of York, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York, Prince Edward and Zara Phillips. 4th August 1989.

Roger Allen | Mirrorpix | Getty Images

In 1992, the marriages of three of her youngsters collapsed. Andrew divorced Sarah Ferguson, Anne divorced Capt. Mark Phillips and Diana’s tell-all e-book revealed Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Charles and Diana quickly started a separation that resulted in divorce 4 years later.

During an October 1992 go to by the queen to Dresden, jap Germany, whose interior metropolis was largely destroyed by the 1945 British-American firestorm, she was pelted with eggs. Back residence the following month, on the forty fifth anniversary of her marriage to Philip, fireplace closely broken Windsor Castle, one of her official residences.

The queen with a firefighter inspecting harm at Windsor Castle.

Getty Images: Tim Graham | Corbis Historical/Tim Graham Photo Library

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure,” she stated within the speech, 40 years after she ascended to the throne and 4 days after the Windsor fireplace. “In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘annus horribilis.’ I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so.”

The 12 months 2002, wasn’t so good, both. She misplaced her sister, Princess Margaret, in February, and her mom, Queen Elizabeth, the 101-year-old Queen Mother, seven weeks later.

In spite of republican sentiments at residence and within the Commonwealth and criticism of the royal household’s way of life, Elizabeth seemingly managed to rise above the gossip and opprobrium, along with her private reputation typically remaining excessive.

To ensure, she was vilified for remaining at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for 5 days after the loss of life of Diana on Aug. 31, 1997. In the early morning hours, Buckingham Palace issued a quick assertion saying the queen and Charles have been “deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news.” But to the dismay of a lot of the nation, the royal household hunkered down at Balmoral quite than to right away return to London.

Many of her topics have been aghast that Buckingham Palace did not fly the flag at half workers. In truth, in accordance with protocol, no flag flew on the palace till she lastly returned there on Sept. 4. The household later stated they stayed at Balmoral to guard and put together her grieving grandsons, Princes William and Harry, then 15 and 12, for his or her mom’s funeral.

Royal Family, Balmoral Estate, Scotland, fifth September 1997. After attending a non-public service at Crathie Church, Royal household cease to look at floral tributes left for Princess Diana, at the gates of Balmoral Castle. They are: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips.

Robert Patterson | Mirrorpix | Getty Images

Still, Elizabeth’s silence was deafening. “Your people are suffering … SPEAK TO US MA’AM,” screamed the headline on The Mirror tabloid on Sept. 4.

A day later, on the eve of the funeral, the queen gave a stay televised speech, lamenting “from my heart” the “dreadful news” in regards to the Princess of Wales, and remembering her as an “exceptional and gifted human being” and devoted mom.

“No one who knew Diana will ever forget her,” the queen continued. “Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.”

A technology later, in an indication of simply how far the monarchy itself had come throughout her reign, the niece of the king who abdicated his throne in order that he might marry an American divorcee welcomed the November 2017 engagement and May 2018 marriage of Harry to Markle, a divorced biracial American actress.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex kisses his spouse Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as they depart from the West Door of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 after their marriage ceremony ceremony.

Ben Stansall | AFP | Getty Images

The queen expressed comparable pleasure upon the delivery of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie, on May 6, 2019.

But almost two years later, the House of Windsor was rocked by the self-exiled Sussexes’ costs of racism and insensitivity to an outsider.

In early 2020, Elizabeth convened an emergency assembly with Charles, William and Harry to debate the latter’s try to step again from royal duties and stay half time overseas. In usually diplomatic language, the queen’s post-meeting assertion stated:

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family. Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England.

Max Mumby | Indigo | Getty Images

A 12 months later, Harry and Meghan confirmed their resolution. “While all are saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much loved members of the family,” the queen stated in a press release.

Then in March 2021, the Sussexes aired their costs of racism throughout an interview with Oprah Winfrey from their residence in Santa Barbara, California. Meghan alleged {that a} member of “The Firm” had raised issues throughout her being pregnant with Archie about how “dark his skin might be when he’s born.” The couple did not establish who had raised the problem, however stated it wasn’t Elizabeth or Philip. The Sussexes additionally stated the household had withdrawn safety safety for them, and Meghan stated she had had “clear and real and frightening thought” about suicide.

In a press release after the interview aired, the queen responded with concern and sensitivity: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan. The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning, While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately. Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”

Three months later, in June 2021, Meghan gave delivery to the queen’s eleventh great-grandchild, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, named after Harry’s grandmother and mom.

Around that point, Elizabeth was criticized after reviews that she allowed Andrew to be interviewed in Buckingham Palace by the BBC in November 2019 about his relationship with Epstein. Days after the interview, Andrew introduced that the queen “has given her permission” for him to “step back from public duties for the foreseeable future.”

The announcement occurred to come back on the 72nd anniversary of the queen’s marriage to Philip.

An earlier instance of how the queen’s years of diplomacy and expertise managed to win over individuals was demonstrated within the 2011 state go to to Ireland, a rustic that spent the primary half of the twentieth century combating for independence from the U.Ok. and the second half concerned within the Northern Ireland “troubles” that noticed 3,600 individuals lifeless, together with Philip’s mentor, Lord Mountbatten. Her official go to to Ireland, the primary by a British monarch in a century, got here almost 13 years after the Good Friday peace settlement.

Queen Elizabeth II, then age 89, smiles as she arrives at Tweedbank Station in Scotland, Sept. 9, 2015.

Getty Images

Addressing a dinner in her honor at Dublin Castle, Elizabeth helped the 2 international locations put the earlier many years of strife behind them by starting her speech in Gaelic: “A Uachtarain, agus a chairde” — “president and friends.”

“It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss. … To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy,” she continued.

“With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all. But it is also true that no one who looked to the future over the past centuries could have imagined the strength of the bonds that are now in place between the governments and the people of our two nations. So ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to rise and join me in a toast to the president and people of Ireland.”

‘This one is totally different’

Later throughout her reign, the world shut down because the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe.

On an early April day in 2020, the queen appeared in a uncommon video speech from Windsor Castle to vow her topics that they are going to prevail over the coronavirus. The speech aired hours earlier than then Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized for Covid-19. 

“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different,” she stated. “This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal.”

During the pandemic, Elizabeth and Philip stayed at Windsor Castle, the place she carried out duties remotely and the place the couple acquired their first vaccinations in January 2021.

But Covid restrictions have been nonetheless in place throughout Philip’s funeral in April 2021. To adjust to the stringent pandemic-era social distancing protocols in impact throughout the nation, the queen sat alone in mourning, wearing black as an alternative of her traditional brilliant colours.

Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat through the funeral of Prince Philip at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England.

Victoria Jones | Reuters

A day after Philip’s loss of life, daughter-in-law Sophie Countess of Wessex instructed well-wishers exterior Windsor Castle that “the queen has been amazing.” On his casket, Elizabeth left a handwritten be aware signed “Lilibet,” and on her ninety fifth birthday 4 days later, she issued a press release saying she had been “deeply touched” by her topics’ shows of “support and kindness.”

In her televised speech on Palm Sunday 2020, the queen promised victory over Covid.

“We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

The Union flag is lowered on Windsor Castle as a rainbow covers the sky on September 08, 2022 in Windsor, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926.

Chris Jackson | Chris Jackson Collection | Getty Images

— Phillip Tutt, previously of CNBC.com, and Michele Luhn contributed to this story.

Correction: The queen visited Dresden in jap Germany in 1992. A earlier model of this story misidentified the area.


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