Remembering Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s life leaves a lasting legacy over her 70 years on the throne.


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After reigning for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at 96.

Sarah Klosky , Staff Writer

After 70 dedicated years on the throne, the Royal Family announced earlier this month that UK’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, serenely passed away at the age of 96. She had been Queen of the United Kingdom since 1952.

The Queen peacefully died at Balmoral Castle, the summer home she once shared with Prince Phillip, who passed away in April 2021. 

With her health declining in the early hours of Thursday, September 8th, Elizabeth II was advised by palace officials to be situated into medical supervision. 

Members of the royal family were able to accompany her within her last moments at Balmoral Castle, including Prince Harry and Prince William, now heir apparent to the throne. 

The coronation of her son, 73-year-old King Charles III, is set to take her place as the primary monarch-power. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral is set to take place next week, on September 19th. 

The Queen may be seen by most as simply an extravagant figure within the United Kingdom, but she has made many contributions to society, some of which are relatively obscure. 

In 1945, at just 18 years old, Elizabeth II enlisted in World War II, doing service as a mechanic in an entirely-female Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS). Women in ATS were granted full military status and were in charge of fulfilling the demands of personnel as well as specific jobs such as cooks and drivers. 

The Queen also strengthened her position, becoming head of the Commonwealth, an alliance of 56 sovereign and equal countries. She traveled to each country within the association and devoted much time to the program. The Commonwealth mentions that, between 1971 and 2018, she was absent only from one Head of Government meeting.  

With Britain having previous monarchs, such as Mary I, or “Bloody Mary,” who are often described as brutal or overbearing, Elizabeth II brought a revitalized, modern look to the monarchy. With many previous monarchs living a more private, reserved life, Queen Elizabeth II made the royal family less intimidating and more open to the public. 

Elizabeth II also made an effort to embrace the use of technology, making much of her communication over television or on social media platforms like Twitter. The Queen used this outreach to achieve her goal of reducing global poverty, helping to benefit the educational system within poor communities.  In addition, Queen Elizabeth II did more charity work than any other monarch, funding over 600 charities within the United Kingdom. 

The royal expectations of marriage and divorce are usually heavy topics that are often hidden from the public. However, the Queen adjusted to societal norms, creating a more relaxed precedent for the palace. This means that divorce is more acceptable and personal marriage preferences are less strict. 

Elizabeth was able to mend the UK’s broken relationship with Ireland, despite not being a political official herself. The Queen’s demonstrated respect towards the fallen Irish veterans in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance allowed the country to embrace her after almost a century of Irish independence. Of all the members of the royal family, Queen Elizabeth II was also the first to address the US Congress, giving a speech that strengthened the already strong relationship between the two countries.

A trait that many admired about Elizabeth II was her willingness to conform to the needs of others, purely based on her attributes. Many leaders, from all over the world, are publicly mourning her passing. 

The Dalai Lama of Tibet stated, “Her reign, as Britain’s longest-serving monarch, represented celebration, inspiration and a reassuring sense of continuity for so many people alive today.”

United States President Joe Biden said, “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons.”

Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern contributed, “The Queen was a much-loved monarch, whose record reign of 70 years is a testament to her, and her commitment to us all. She was extraordinary.”

Before taking the throne at age 25, Elizabeth II promised the world that her “whole life, whether it be long or short, will be devoted in service.” The Queen was beloved by many and will surely have a lasting legacy among the lives in which she made a difference.