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Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, world’s longest-serving monarch, dies at 96

The Royal Family tweeted: The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral today. The King and The Queen Consort will stay at Balmoral tonite and will go back to London tomorrow.

Jane Bown | Camera Press | Redux

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-serving monarch who as a teenager witnessed the horrors of World War II so when an aged sovereign saw the agonies of a deadly pandemic and the non-public pain of her very own family’s turmoil, has died.

She was 96. The queen died “peacefully” at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the British royal family said.

Under a long-standing plan referred to as “Operation London Bridge,” her death ushers in 10 days of national mourning. Her son Charles became king upon her death, and you will be called King Charles III.

With husband Prince Philip by her side, Elizabeth became queen of the uk, Canada, Australia and New Zealand upon the death of her father, George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952. Her coronation was June 2, 1953.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes away at age 96

On Feb. 6, 2022, Elizabeth became the initial British monarch to reign 70 years. Honoring the occasion, the uk and the Commonwealth held a Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

The 96-year-old monarch came out with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace through the first day of the four-day-long Platinum Jubilee, waving to thousands of people gathered below and watching an aviation display in her honor. But she was struggling to attend events down the road through the celebrations because of discomfort.

Queen Elizabeth II watches from the balcony of Buckingham Palace through the Trooping the color parade the Trooping the color parade on June 2, 2022 in London, England.

Wpa Pool | Getty Images

Elizabeth’s reign covered an interval of massive social, economic, technological and political change. It saw the transformation of the once-global British Empire right into a Commonwealth of 52 independent nations headed by the queen, and the country’s entrance into and exit from europe. Fifteen prime ministers served under Elizabeth from Winston Churchill on her behalf accession to the throne in 1952 to Liz Truss, who was simply sworn in by the frail queen only two days prior to the monarch’s death was announced.

She also presided over a family group that saw tragedy, scandal and turmoil, like the death of former Princess Diana, the association of son Prince Andrew with the late millionaire sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein, and the decision by grandson Prince Harry to get a far more private life along with his wife, the former Meghan Markle.

‘Lilibet’ and the War

Then-Princess Elizabeth learns how exactly to change an automobile tire being an auxiliary officer of the English Army, 1945.

Roger Viollet | Getty Images

Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth was the initial child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937 following a abdication of Edward VIII. She was the 32nd great-granddaughter of King Alfred the fantastic, England’s first monarch, who reigned from 871 to 899.

“Lilibet” and her younger sister, Margaret, born in 1930, were educated in the home by tutors, including a governess.

Immediately after the coronation of Elizabeth’s father, the U.K. was plunged into World War II. At 14, she made her first radio broadcast in 1940, addressing children who was simply evacuated to the countryside and abroad in order to avoid the bombings of British cities.

“We realize, all of us, that ultimately, all will undoubtedly be well,” she intoned in a delicate soprano to the BBC “Children’s Hour” audience. “For God will look after us and present us victory and peace. When peace comes, remember it’ll be for us, the kids of today, to help make the world of tomorrow an improved and happier place.”

Later through the war, the teenage princess served as a driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) is greeted by crowds as she tours the East End of London on your day after VE Day, 9th May 1945.

Chris Ware | Hulton Royals Collection | Getty Images

When VE Day arrived, she and Margaret sneaked out of Buckingham Palace to mingle with the crowds on the streets of London celebrating the Allied victory in Europe. “I recall lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, most of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief,” she told a biographer.

Married to Philip

On Nov. 20, 2017, Elizabeth and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th loved-one’s birthday. Their 73-year marriage was undoubtedly the longest for the monarchy, surpassing that of King George III and Queen Charlotte’s 57 years (1761-1818).

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands in 2017.

Fiona Hanson | PA Images | Getty Images

Princess Elizabeth met Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in 1934 at the marriage of his first cousin, Princess Marina, to Prince George, Duke of Kent.

Thirteen years later, Elizabeth and Philip married at Westminster Abbey within an uplifting ceremony 2 yrs following the end of World War II. Thousands of individuals lined the streets along the way from Buckingham Palace.

“For a short moment the pace of the strident terrible twentieth century was slowed to the trot of cavalry horses and the rumbling of coaches and pageantry evoked bitter sweet memories of the island’s old, heroic past,” THE BRAND NEW York Times’ Drew Middleton wrote in a dispatch from London.

Philip, the princess’ third cousin, had served with the Royal Navy during World War II. His family name was changed to Mountbatten from Battenberg during World War I due to anti-German sentiment.

The union had not been without controversy. Philip was broke and foreign-born, however they received 2,500 wedding gifts from all over the world. A son and heir, Charles, was created in 1948, accompanied by Anne, Andrew and Edward.

Kenya, Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh are formally greeted by an Asian man who’s shaking the Princess’s hand. Beside him stands an Asian woman wearing traditional dress.

Bristol Archives | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

In 1952, Elizabeth and Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, began a tour of Australia and New Zealand by stopping in Africa. While these were in Kenya, the news headlines reached them on Feb. 6 that King George had died. At age 25, Elizabeth ascended to the throne and was crowned the next year in the initial live television coronation to be broadcast all over the world.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh wave from the balcony at Buckingham Palace through the queen’s coronation celebrations June 2, 1953.

Keystone | Getty Images

IN-MAY 2017, per month before Philip’s 96th birthday, Buckingham Palace announced that the duke was retiring from his royal duties by September.

Philip died at age 99 on April 9, 2021, the 16th anniversary of the marriage of Prince Charles and Camilla, and the duke’s funeral was four days before Elizabeth’s 95th birthday on April 21. On which could have been his 100th birthday on June 20, the queen planted a specially bred rose named the Duke of Edinburgh in Windsor Castle’s East Terrace Garden.

Longest-reigning monarch

During her time on the throne, Elizabeth took her put on the global stage alongside elected leaders and dictators.

Her long reign saw her circling the world often: Following her coronation, Elizabeth and Philip took a seven-month tour, visiting 13 countries and logging a lot more than 40,000 miles.

She had met with every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Joe Biden, aside from Lyndon Johnson. She was entertained at the White House by five presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. She also met five popes, from Pius XII (in 1951 before she was queen) to Francis in 2014.

The royal family looks on through the annual Trooping THE COLOR ceremony on June 13, 2015, in London. (L-R) Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Prince George of Cambridge; Prince William, Duke of Cambridge; Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Queen Elizabeth II; Prince Harry; Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

In 2015, Elizabeth overtook her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to end up being the oldest and longest-reigning British monarch. Upon the October 2016 death of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, ending his 70 years on the throne, she became the world’s longest-reigning monarch and head of state.

She celebrated six jubilees, her 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 65th and 70th years on the throne, along with the marriages of her four children and the births of eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

The storybook wedding of her son Charles to Lady Diana Spencer on July 29, 1981, was attended by 2,650 guests at St. Paul’s Cathedral and witnessed by nearly a billion television viewers all over the world.

Elizabeth’s reign was also marked by crisis, including two assassinations attempts, in 1970 and 1981 in Australia and New Zealand, respectively. In 1979, her art advisor, Anthony Blunt, was unmasked as a communist spy, and Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, was killed by an Irish Republican Army bomb.

‘Annus horribilis’

In 1969, the queen opened palace doors to television cameras for a candid consider the family so that they can humanize its members. The resulting documentary, “Royal Family,” was seen by an incredible number of Britons on the BBC and ITV. Critics, however, claimed it debased the Windsors, and resulted in the frenzied celebrity coverage of members of “The Firm,” because the family is well known. It is not aired since 1972.

The Royal Family standing outside Clarence House on the 89th Birthday of the Queen Mother including Prince Andrew the Duke of York, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson the Duchess of York, Prince Edward and Zara Phillips. 4th August 1989.

Roger Allen | Mirrorpix | Getty Images

In 1992, the marriages of three of her children collapsed. Andrew divorced Sarah Ferguson, Anne divorced Capt. Mark Phillips and Diana’s tell-all book revealed Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Charles and Diana soon began a separation that ended in divorce four years later.

During an October 1992 visit by the queen to Dresden, eastern Germany, whose inner city was largely destroyed by the 1945 British-American firestorm, she was pelted with eggs. Back another month, on the 45th anniversary of her marriage to Philip, fire heavily damaged Windsor Castle, among her official residences.

The queen with a firefighter inspecting damage at Windsor Castle.

Getty Images: Tim Graham | Corbis Historical/Tim Graham Photo Library

“1992 isn’t a year which I will look back with undiluted pleasure,” she said in the speech, 40 years after she ascended to the throne and four days following the Windsor fire. “In what of 1 of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has ended up being an ‘annus horribilis.’ I suspect that I’m not by yourself in thinking it so.”

The entire year 2002, wasn’t so excellent, either. She lost her sister, Princess Margaret, in February, and her mother, Queen Elizabeth, the 101-year-old Queen Mother, seven weeks later.

Regardless of republican sentiments in the home and in the Commonwealth and criticism of the royal family’s lifestyle, Elizabeth seemingly were able to go above the gossip and opprobrium, with her personal popularity generally remaining high.

To be certain, she was vilified for remaining at Balmoral Castle in Scotland for five days following the death of Diana on Aug. 31, 1997. In the first early morning, Buckingham Palace issued a short statement saying the queen and Charles were “deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news.” But to the dismay of a lot of the country, the royal family hunkered down at Balmoral instead of to immediately go back to London.

A lot of her subjects were aghast that Buckingham Palace didn’t fly the flag at half staff. Actually, relative to protocol, no flag flew on the palace until she finally returned there on Sept. 4. The household later said they stayed at Balmoral to safeguard and prepare her grieving grandsons, Princes William and Harry, then 15 and 12, because of their mother’s funeral.

Royal Family, Balmoral Estate, Scotland, 5th September 1997. After attending an exclusive service at Crathie Church, Royal family stop to check out floral tributes left for Princess Diana, at the gates of Balmoral Castle. They’re: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Peter Phillips.

Robert Patterson | Mirrorpix | Getty Images

Still, Elizabeth’s silence was deafening. “Your folks are suffering … TALK WITH US MA’AM,” screamed the headline on The Mirror tabloid on Sept. 4.

The next day, on the eve of the funeral, the queen gave a live televised speech, lamenting “from my heart” the “dreadful news” concerning the Princess of Wales, and remembering her being an “exceptional and gifted individual” and devoted mother.

“Nobody who knew Diana will ever forget her,” the queen continued. “An incredible number of other people who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I for just one believe you can find lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving a reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.”

A generation later, in an indicator of precisely how far the monarchy itself had come during her reign, the niece of the king who abdicated his throne in order that he could marry an American divorcee welcomed the November 2017 engagement and could 2018 marriage of Harry to Markle, a divorced biracial American actress.

Britain’s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex kisses his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex because they leave from the West Door of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on, may 19, 2018 after their marriage ceremony.

Ben Stansall | AFP | Getty Images

The queen expressed similar joy upon the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie, on, may 6, 2019.

But nearly 2 yrs later, the home of Windsor was rocked by the self-exiled Sussexes’ charges of racism and insensitivity to an outsider.

In early 2020, Elizabeth convened a crisis ending up in Charles, William and Harry to go over the latter’s try to step back from royal duties and live in your free time abroad. In typically diplomatic language, the queen’s post-meeting statement said:

“My children and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s need to create a new lease of life as a family. Although we’d have preferred them to stay full-time working Members of the Royal Family, we respect and understand their desire to live a far more independent life as a family group while remaining a valued section of my children.”

Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch a flypast to mark the centenary of the Royal Air Force from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on July 10, 2018 in London, England.

Max Mumby | Indigo | Getty Images

Per year later, Harry and Meghan confirmed their decision. “While each is saddened by their decision, The Duke and Duchess remain much lovedmembers of the household,” the queen said in a statement.

Then in March 2021, the Sussexes aired their charges of racism during an interview with Oprah Winfrey from their house in Santa Barbara, California. Meghan alleged a person in “The Firm” had raised concerns during her pregnancy with Archie about how exactly “dark his skin may be when he’s born.” The couple didn’t identify who had raised the problem, but said it wasn’t Elizabeth or Philip. The Sussexes also said the household had withdrawn security protection for them, and Meghan said she had had “clear and real and frightening thought” about suicide.

In a statement following the interview aired, the queen responded with concern and sensitivity: “Everyone is saddened to understand the entire extent of how challenging the previous few years have already been for Harry and Meghan. The problems raised, particularly that of race, are concerning, Although some recollections can vary greatly, they’re taken very seriously and you will be addressed by the household privately.Harry, Meghan and Archie will be much loved family.”

90 days later, in June 2021, Meghan gave birth to the queen’s 11th great-grandchild, Lilibet “Lili” Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, named after Harry’s grandmother and mother.

Around that point, Elizabeth was criticizedafter reports that she allowed Andrew to be interviewed in Buckingham Palace by the BBC in November 2019 about his relationship with Epstein. Days following the interview, Andrew announced that the queen “has given her permission” for him to “step back from public duties for the near future.”

The announcement happened ahead on the 72nd anniversary of the queen’s marriage to Philip.

A youthful example of the way the queen’s years of diplomacy and experience were able to make an impression on people was demonstrated in the 2011 state stop by at Ireland, a country that spent the initial 1 / 2 of the 20th century fighting for independence from the U.K. and the next half mixed up in Northern Ireland “troubles” that saw 3,600 people dead, including Philip’s mentor, Lord Mountbatten. Her official stop by at Ireland, the initial by way of a British monarch in a hundred years, came nearly 13 years following the Good Friday peace agreement.

Queen Elizabeth II, then age 89, smiles as she finds Tweedbank Station in Scotland, Sept. 9, 2015.

Getty Images

Addressing a dinner in her honor at Dublin Castle, Elizabeth helped both countries put the prior decades of strife in it by beginning her speech in Gaelic: “A Uachtarain, agus a chairde” “president and friends.”

“This is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have observed a lot more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss. … To all or any anyone who has suffered because of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy,” she continued.

“With the advantage of historical hindsight we are able to all see things which we’d wish have been done differently or never. But it can be true that nobody who looked to the near future in the last centuries may have imagined the effectiveness of the bonds which are now set up between your governments and individuals of our two nations. So ladies and gentlemen, I request you to rise and join me in a toast to the president and folks of Ireland.”

‘This one is different’

Later during her reign, the planet shut down because the coronavirus pandemic swept the world.

On an early on April day in 2020, the queen appeared in a rare video speech from Windsor Castle to promise her subjects that they can prevail on the coronavirus. The speech airedhours before then Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized for Covid-19.

“While we’ve faced challenges before, that one differs,” she said. “This time around we join with all nations around the world in a standard endeavor, utilizing the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal.”

Through the pandemic, Elizabeth and Philip stayed at Windsor Castle, where she performed duties remotely and where in fact the couple received their first vaccinations in January 2021.

But Covid restrictions were still set up during Philip’s funeral in April 2021. To adhere to the stringent pandemic-era social distancing protocols in place in the united states, the queen sat alone in mourning, dressed up in black rather than her usual bright colors.

Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat through the funeral of Prince Philip at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021 in Windsor, England.

Victoria Jones | Reuters

Each day after Philip’s death, daughter-in-law Sophie Countess of Wessex told well-wishers outside Windsor Castle that “the queen has been amazing.” On his casket, Elizabeth left a handwritten note signed “Lilibet,” and on her behalf 95th birthday four days later, she issued a statement saying she have been “deeply touched” by her subjects’ displays of “support and kindness.”

In her televised speech on Palm Sunday 2020, the queen promised victory over Covid.

“We shall succeed and that success will participate in each one of us.We have to take comfort that while we might have significantly more still to endure, better days will return: We are with this friends again; we are with this families again; we shall meet again.”

The Union flag is lowered on Windsor Castle as a rainbow covers the sky on September 08, 2022 in Windsor, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was created in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926.

Chris Jackson | Chris Jackson Collection | Getty Images

Phillip Tutt, formerly of CNBC.com, and Michele Luhn contributed to the story.

Correction: The queen visited Dresden in eastern Germany in 1992. A previous version of the story misidentified the spot.

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