The UK’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has passed away at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
On a tranquil Thursday afternoon, the queen breathed her last at her Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer. Her son King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” around the world. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother,” He said.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” He added.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in London on April 21, 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. She was not born to be Queen as her father’s elder brother, Prince Edward, was destined for the crown, to be followed by any children he had.
However, due to some unexpected turn of events in 1936, when she was 10, Elizabeth’s father became King George VI which made her the heir to the throne.
In February 1952, when George VI died in his sleep at the age of 56 after years of ill health, Elizabeth was told that she was now the Queen. Her private secretary, Martin Charteris, later recalled finding the new monarch at her desk, “sitting erect, no tears, colour up a little, fully accepting her destiny.”
During that time, Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s first reaction to the King’s death was to complain that the new Queen was “only a child” and who would have thought that several decades later, in 2015 she would be overtaking her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s reign of 63 years, seven months and two days to become the longest-serving monarch in British history. She kept working into her 10th decade, though Prince Charles and his elder son, Prince William, increasingly took over the visits, ribbon-cuttings and investitures that form the bulk of royal duties.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen on Tuesday said, “The monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built, who had provided us with the stability and strength that we needed.”
Speaking about the new King, she stated, “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long.”
“And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.” She further added.
The King and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort, will return to London on Friday where he is expected to address the nation.
- Staff Reporter