Queen Elizabeth II dead: Longest-reigning monarch of the UK dies at 96

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch, died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after 70 years on the throne.

Her eldest son, Charles, will ascend to the throne at 73. He will be the oldest king to be crowned in British history.


The news of the queen’s death comes after months of poor health. The queen, who liked to stay busy and active, had to cancel multiple appearances at important events this year and drastically reduce her participation in other key events, including missing portions of her Platinum Jubilee this summer. Her death comes a year after the death of her husband, Prince Philip.

The queen had suffered mobility troubles since November, when she was hospitalized, and had shifted a large portion of her responsibilities online instead. She survived COVID-19 in April and claimed the experience made her exhausted. Because of the global shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic, Elizabeth was forced to mourn her husband privately.

Britain Prince Philip Funeral Photo Gallery
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, on April 17, 2021. Prince Philip died on April 9 at the age of 99.

Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that the queen was placed under medical supervision at her Balmoral estate in Scotland. Members of the royal family have traveled to Scotland, including Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who are normally stationed in the United States.

The news comes after the queen received the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Tuesday, accepting an official transfer of power from former Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Truss. The transfer of power usually occurs at Buckingham Palace, but because of the queen’s health, the politicians flew to her instead.

Britain Queen
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving Liz Truss for an audience at Balmoral, in Scotland, on Sept. 6, 2022, where Truss was invited to become prime minister and form a new government. Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II is under medical supervision as doctors are “concerned for Her Majesty’s health.” The announcement comes a day after the 96-year-old monarch canceled a meeting of her Privy Council and was told to rest.

Since her coronation in 1953, Elizabeth had celebrated silver, golden, diamond, and platinum jubilees and became the first monarch to do so. She met 13 of the 14 American presidents who overlapped with her reign, beginning with Harry Truman. The only U.S. president she did not meet was Lyndon Johnson.

Britain Biden Queen
President Joe Biden offers his arm to Queen Elizabeth II as they leave the stand after a welcome ceremony at Windsor Castle near London, Sunday, June 13, 2021.

At 14, then-Princess Elizabeth II became a national voice of comfort and reassurance for children affected by World War II.

“We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers, and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our share of the danger and sadness of war. We know, every one of us, that in the end, all will be well,” she said in a 1940 BBC broadcast.

Years later, the queen said she would devote her life to the service of her country in a different speech at the age of 21, a promise she fulfilled.

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong,” Elizabeth said during a speech in 1947.

Britain Queen's Reign Photo Gallery
This is a June 2, 1953, photo of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, as they wave to supporters from the balcony at Buckingham Palace following her coronation at Westminster Abbey in London.

Five years later, she enlisted in the British Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming a mechanic and a military truck driver. According to the BBC, Elizabeth was the only female member of the royal family to have enlisted in Britain’s military.

“Her Majesty inspired her compatriots in that fight to support the troops, defend their homeland, and defeat the enemy at all cost,” President Donald Trump said during his first state dinner in the U.K.

Over the years, Elizabeth developed close relationships with several first families, most notably the Eisenhowers and the Reagans.

In 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower hosted Elizabeth in her first state visit to the United States as queen. Two years following her visit, the queen received Eisenhower as a guest at Balmoral. The two frequently communicated through letters, and at one point, the queen shared her recipe for grilled scones with the president.

“Seeing a picture of you in today’s newspaper standing in front of a barbecue grilling quail reminded me that I had never sent you the recipe of the drop scones which I promised you at Balmoral. I now hasten to do so,” the queen wrote. “We remember with such pleasure your visit to Balmoral, and I hope the photographs will be a reminder of the very happy day you spent with us.”

In 1983, she visited President Ronald Reagan’s California ranch, but bad weather forced the monarch and president to remain indoors. “I spent that evening with the queen, sitting on a sofa in the large living room, talking about our children like old friends,” recalled Nancy Reagan.

After Reagan left office in 1989, the queen awarded him an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath, an honor she also gave to Eisenhower and President George H.W. Bush.

Britain Queen's Jubilee
In this June 8, 1980, photo, Queen Elizabeth II and President Ronald Reagan walk into St. George’s Hall at Windsor Castle in England.

Elizabeth exercised her ceremonial role and powers as queen in momentous ways. In 1957, she was the first British sovereign to open the Canadian Parliament. In 1982, she welcomed Pope John Paul II to the U.K., becoming the first British head of state to welcome a pope in 450 years.

However, as her health declined this year, Charles began taking up the more pressing ceremonial roles, including leading the royal salute at the queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the ceremonial opening of the British Parliament.

During her lifetime, the royal family held weddings that were watched by people worldwide. Prince William’s marriage to Kate Middleton in 2011 drew nearly 23 million viewers, and Harry’s marriage to actress Meghan Markle drew over 29 million viewers.

Elizabeth has been noted as a unifying force in the country and a pillar of strength amid controversy and the unprecedented global health pandemic caused by COVID-19. She also remained a source of stability for the country following the tragic and unexpected death of Princess Diana in 1997 and Harry’s decision to leave royal life with Meghan. Although the royal family faced accusations of racism from the royal couple, Meghan and Harry said the queen was not at fault. Also, her legacy has been made into a dramatic series on Netflix.


Charles’s coronation is expected to be held at Westminster Abbey. Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will become the queen consort, and William and Kate will become the prince and princess of Wales. The U.K. is expected to enter a 10-day period of mourning.

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