Queen Elizabeth II, the Second Longest-Reigning Monarch in History, Dies
Today, Thursday 8th of September, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Commonwealth has passed away peacefully at her country home, Balmoral.
The news comes just a few months after she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in June, commemorating seventy years since coming to the throne. On 12 June 2022, Queen Elizabeth II became the world’s second longest-reigning monarch, overtaking Thailand’s late King Bhumibol the Great.
Her son, Charles has now immediately become king.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
Having reigned for seven decades, Elizabeth II was a multiple Guinness World Record holder. In 2015 she took the title of longest-reigning monarch in the United Kingdom, overtaking the staunch Queen Victoria.
At 96 years of age Elizabeth II was the oldest living monarch, having been born on 21 April 1926, and had also been reigning for longer than any other current monarch with almost 20 years difference to the next contender, Hassanal Bolkiah from Brunei who came to the throne in 1946.
Outside her realm and era only the 17th century French King Luis the XIV has reigned longer.
Queen Elizabeth II in 2015, was the second longest-reigning monarch in history. (PolizeiBerlin / CC BY-SA 4.0)
At just 25 years of age, Elizabeth came to the throne on the 6th February 1952 when her father, George VI died unexpectedly. The official coronation of Elizabeth II, on the 2nd June 1953 in Westminster Abbey, was the first in history to be broadcast live on television to an estimated audience of 27 million. While the monarchy can seem outdated to the uninitiated, Queen Elizabeth II has overseen an era of extreme social change. She came to the throne during the aftermath of World War II, saw the end of the British Empire and has been served by 14 prime ministers, including Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.
Under her watch there were also many firsts. On a personal level there were several royal divorces, the most famous being that of Charles and Diana which stood out for the inordinate amount of attention it achieved from the press. More recently, in 2018 Meghan Markle went down in history as the first publicly biracial person to marry into the family.
Queen Elizabeth II waves from the palace balcony after her official Coronation in 1953. (National Media Museum)
Elizabeth II, and her husband Philip the late Duke of Edinburgh, came into the throne during a time of monarchical crisis. This prompted action hoping to modernize the royal institution, such as the broadcast in 1969 of a 105-minute BBC documentary aiming to humanize and strengthen the monarchy. The aptly titled “Royal Family” attracted 30 million viewers in Britain alone. Elizabeth also famously went against tradition when she began the “walkabout,” a term to describe greeting crowds on the street in person, during a royal tour in 1970.
She is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. The Royal Family will now enter a period of mourning. Official engagements will be cancelled and union flags will be flown at half-mast on royal residences, government buildings, across the Armed Forces and UK Posts overseas.
Top image: Queen Elizabeth II. Source: Open Government License
By Cecilia Bogaard
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