Remembering Queen Elizabeth II
The world has been mourning one of its longest-reigning monarchs.
By: GenZ Staff | September 19, 2022 | 716 Words
Queen Elizabeth II ruled over the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth for 70 years. After celebrating her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, the queen of England passed away on September 8. Her funeral was held on September 19, and people from around the world said goodbye to one of the world’s longest reigning monarchs. Even in the United States, which fought to gain independence from the British monarchy, people have been showing respect for a queen who many say demonstrated the qualities of dedication, fortitude, grace under pressure, and good manners.
French President Emanuel Macron described the feeling of people across the globe: “To you, she was your Queen. To us, she was THE Queen.”
The Life of Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth was born in 1926, in London. After her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated, her father rose to the position of King George VI and Elizabeth became heir to the throne.
She began public duties as a teenager during World War II, volunteering as a driver and mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, which was the women’s branch of the British Army at the time. After the war, she married Philip Mountbatten (a former prince of Greece and Denmark), and the couple had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.
When her father died in 1952, Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25. During her 70 years on the throne, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth experienced a lot of changes, including:
- Decolonization of Africa (several African countries left the British Empire). Several other countries have also left the empire in recent decades.
- “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland (a conflict from the 1960s-1990s in which some separatist groups wanted the region to leave Britain and rejoin the independent Republic of Ireland).
- The first female British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
- Britain joining and then leaving the European Union.
Several major global events also took place during her reign, including the Cold War and the COVID-19 pandemic. Over her years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II met with over 100 world leaders and visited 117 countries.
Some scandals have affected the royal family over the years, but Queen Elizabeth was generally seen to rise above those issues and retain the respect and admiration of the British public. She was also known for her personal love of horses and dogs, with her favorite canine breed being the Corgi.
The queen passed away quietly at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, aged 96. She was surrounded by close family members, including her son Prince Charles, who is now King Charles. After her death, the United Kingdom went into ten days of mourning. Flags have been flown at half-mast and public holidays were announced to commemorate the queen.
Mourning the Queen
Leaders from all over the world soon sent their condolences and remarked on the longevity and stability of her rule.
The queen’s coffin was transported to Westminster Hall in London, where it was viewed by members of the public. A long line formed of people hoping to pay their respects, with some people waiting over 25 hours. The line became known as “The Queue,” with some noting that the British are particularly well known for their ability to queue in a patient and orderly fashion.
Members of the public also visited Hyde Park to pay their respects, leaving tributes including flowers, letters, and toy Paddington Bears, as well as Paddington’s favorite snack of marmalade sandwiches.
Five hundred world leaders traveled to London to attend the queen’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey, and she was later laid to rest in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
After 70 years with Queen Elizabeth on the throne, many are unsure of what will come next. The British national anthem, passports, police uniforms, and even money need to be updated with the new monarch’s name or portrait. At age 73, the queen’s son Charles has become king – King Charles III – and his wife Camilla has become the “queen consort.”
Charles will eventually be coronated the new monarch, but the details have not yet been arranged.