Queen Elizabeth II passed away only a few months ago, ending her reign as the longest-serving monarch of modern times. Not only was she the longest serving, but she was appreciated, and by some loved, throughout her reign.
From her stylish and simple outfits to designer jewellery and, of course, the corgis, Queen Elizabeth had a long and brilliant life.
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Birth & Early Life
Elizabeth was born on the 21st of April, 1926 to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, or the Queen Mother as she was known. She was born in Mayfair, and ten years after her birth, her uncle and king, Edward VIII, abdicated, making her father the new reigning king and Elizabeth the heir presumptive.
She was homeschooled, like many royals around the world. When Britain entered World War 2 in 1939, it was suggested that she and her sister be moved to Canada to avoid the constant bombing by the Luftwaffe.
Her mother famously said they would not leave, as she would never let them go without her, she would never leave the king, and the king didn’t have any plans to leave the country. They spent time at Balmoral Castle as well as Sandringham, and finally, Windsor Castle.
In 1943, Elizabeth undertook her first solo outing as Princess when she visited the Grenadier Guards, as she was appointed their colonel a year before. When she turned 18, she was given the position of honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
She then trained and worked as a driver and mechanic in the unit and was finally awarded the title of Honorary Junior Commander, which was the female equivalent of Captain at the time.
Elizabeth had met her future husband three times before they became engaged; in 1934, 1937, and 1939. Though she was young, she had already expressed her love for Prince Phillip, and in July 1947, their engagement was officially announced.
She gave birth to her first child, Charles, a year later, in 1948. Two years later saw the birth of their second child and first daughter, Anne.
The health of her father, King George VI, began to decline in 1951. During trips to Canada and the United States, Elizabeth’s secretary would carry a draft accession declaration in the event that King George passed away while Elizabeth wasn’t at home.
In early 1952, during a tour of Kenya, Australia, and New Zealand, word arrived that King George had passed away. She was subsequently and quickly announced as Queen, and the royal party rushed back to the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth II reigned during a time that saw a mass change within the Commonwealth. She became the head of multiple independent nations and, during a round-the-world tour, became the first monarch to visit Australia and New Zealand as their Queen.
During her reign, the United Kingdom saw multiple countries across Africa and the Caribbean declaring their independence from the UK. While this sent shockwaves through the Commonwealth, the royal family worked with these countries to ensure the smoothest transition.
Fast forward to 2012, the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years on the throne. The jubilee saw the Queen, her husband, children, and grandchildren tour the UK and multiple Commonwealth countries celebrating the anniversary.
Ten years later, in February of this year, the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, a remarkable achievement marking an extraordinary 70 years on the throne. The streets of London and Commonwealth cities around the world lit up to celebrate the occasion.
It was during this time that her health began to wane, and she began to cancel more and more appearances and wasn’t seen in public as often as she once was. The distress and grief caused by the death of Prince Phillip last year only added to her decline.
On the 8th of September this year, a release stated the Queen was struggling but was comfortable in her home at Balmoral. A little later in the day, it was announced that she had passed away, with Prince Charles and Princess Anne by her side. Her funeral and service were broadcast to millions of people on the 19th of September.
Considering how long she was on the throne, it is no surprise that generations of Brits and people aboard had a soft spot for her. She had been the face of the Commonwealth for decades and saw her people make it through difficulty after difficulty.
Her insightful and often fun and cute speeches put a smile on many people’s faces, as well as her interactions with other beloved celebrities. Her discussion with Sir David Attenborough about a sundial in one of her gardens is widely regarded as one of the best and funniest moments on TV.