21 APRIL 1926 – 8 SEPTEMBER 2022
Queen Elizabeth II was the Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms, Head of Commonwealth, and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion, for 70 years. She was the longest ever serving monarch in the United Kingdom and the second longest serving in the world.
Her Majesty was born in Mayfair, London, to the Duke and Duchess of York (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). In 1944, an 18 year old Princess Elizabeth insisted upon joining the army, where she trained as a truck driver and mechanic. She is the only female member of the royal family to have served in the army.
She was married to Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh on 20 November 1947, and had four children: Prince Charles of Wales, Anne Princess Royal, Prince Andrew Duke of York, and Prince Edward of Wessex.
Queen Elizabeth II had to cut short her tour to Kenya in 1952, as on 6 February she was informed of the death of her father, King George VI. She acceded to the throne that year. Her Majesty served the country as the head of state from 1952 to 2022. In her reign, she employed soft power as opposed to hard power, serving the nation as a constitutional monarch with grace and moral authority. As a head of state, she was served by 15 prime ministers, visited more than a hundred states, and met with more than a hundred world leaders. In 1991, she became the first British monarch to address the United States Congress, praising the strong economic and cultural ties between the two countries.
On her 21st birthday, Queen Elizabeth said: ‘‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’’ Her Majesty honoured the pledge until her death.
She will be remembered for many feats, including overseeing the end of the British Empire in Africa. The majority of African Nations were granted their self-determination during her early years in power. However, she still maintained cordial ties with the sovereign states in the Commonwealth, for which she headed in her tenure and held meetings. The Commonwealth continues to benefit both member states and the UK in economic and social sectors like the Commonwealth games, and Commonwealth scholarships, among other things.
Queen Elizabeth will be remembered for bending the royal rules and traditions during her reign to pave way for modernity. For example, in her quest to update the royal family and make it relevant to the nation, the monarch embraced the use of video addresses during Christmas and opened a Twitter account as a way of communicating to the wider public.
Queen Elizabeth dedicated her life to public service and helping others in need. She was an inspiration and pillar of strength to many, and her loss will deeply be felt throughout the entire world.
The United Kingdom will mourn for ten days, closed by a funeral and a national day of mourning.