Friday Jun 14, 2024
Friday Jun 14, 2024

Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96


Nepalnews
2022 Sep 09, 6:42, LONDON
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks up and waves to members of staff of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office as she ends an official visit which is part of her Jubilee celebrations in London. (AP Photo)

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and disarray in her own family, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.

The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.

A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known.

Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, it was announced. British monarchs in the past have selected new names upon taking the throne. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.

A funeral was to be held after 10 days of official mourning.

The BBC played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” over a portrait of Elizabeth in full regalia as her death was announced, and the flag over Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-staff as the second Elizabethan age came to a close.

Britain's Princess Elizabeth poses for a photo in a Girl Guides uniform, in Windsor Great Park, in Windsor, England. (AP Photo)
Britain's Princess Elizabeth poses for a photo in a Girl Guides uniform, in Windsor Great Park, in Windsor, England. (AP Photo)

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The impact of her loss will be huge and unpredictable, both for the nation and for the monarchy, an institution she helped stabilize and modernize across decades of enormous social change and family scandals, but whose relevance in the 21st century has often been called into question.

The public’s abiding affection for the queen has helped sustain support for the monarchy during the scandals. Charles is nowhere near as popular.


Princess of Wales, left, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smile to well-wishers outside Clarence House gathered on Elizabeth the Queen Mother's birthday, in London. (AP Photo)
Princess of Wales, left, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smile to well-wishers outside Clarence House gathered on Elizabeth the Queen Mother's birthday, in London. (AP Photo)

In a statement, Charles called his mother’s death “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” adding: “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

The changing of the guard comes at a fraught moment for Britain, which has a brand-new prime minister and is grappling with an energy crisis, double-digit inflation, the war in Ukraine and the fallout from Brexit.

Prime Minister Liz Truss, appointed by the queen just 48 hours earlier, pronounced the country “devastated” and called Elizabeth “the rock on which modern Britain was built.”

British subjects outside Buckingham Palace wept when officials carried a notice confirming the queen’s death to the wrought-iron gates of the queen’s London home. Hundreds soon gathered in the rain, and mourners laid dozens of colorful bouquets at the gates.

World leaders extended condolences and paid tribute to the queen.

Since Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth reigned over a Britain that rebuilt from a destructive and financially exhausting war and lost its empire; joined the European Union and then left it; and made the painful transition into the 21st century.

She endured through 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Truss, becoming an institution and an icon -- a reassuring presence even for those who ignored or loathed the monarchy.

She became less visible in her final years as age and frailty curtailed many public appearances. But she remained firmly in control of the monarchy and at the center of national life as Britain celebrated her Platinum Jubilee with days of parties and pageants in June.

That same month she became the second longest-reigning monarch in history, behind 17th-century French King Louis XIV, who took the throne at age 4. On Tuesday, she presided at a ceremony at Balmoral Castle to accept the resignation of Boris Johnson as prime minister and appoint Truss as his successor.

When Elizabeth was 21, almost five years before she became queen, she promised the people of Britain and the Commonwealth that “my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.”

It was a promise she kept across more than seven decades.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose for a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo via AP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose for a group photo at the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London. (Photo via AP)

Despite Britain’s complex and often fraught ties with its former colonies, Elizabeth was widely respected and remained head of state of more than a dozen countries, from Canada to Tuvalu. She headed the 54-nation Commonwealth, built around Britain and its former colonies.

Married for more than 73 years to Prince Philip, who died in 2021 at age 99, Elizabeth was matriarch to a royal family whose troubles were a subject of global fascination -- amplified by fictionalized accounts such as the TV series “The Crown.” She is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

Through countless public events, she probably met more people than anyone in history. Her image, which adorned stamps, coins and banknotes, was among the most reproduced in the world.

But her inner life and opinions remained mostly an enigma. Of her personality, the public saw relatively little. A horse owner, she rarely seemed happier than during the Royal Ascot racing week. She never tired of the companionship of her beloved Welsh corgi dogs.

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 -- her father’s elder brother, Prince Edward, was destined for the crown, to be followed by any children he had.

READ ALSO:

Queen Elizabeth II dead at 96 Britain’s longest-reigning monarch symbol of stability turbulent era decline of the British empire disarray in her own family 70 years on the throne Balmoral Castle BBC
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