Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96, 10 things to know about her - The People's Voice


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II Dies At 96, 10 things to know about her

By Our Correspondent

Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since 1952, has died, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday. She was 96.

As a long-serving and well-travelled monarch, and the head of the Commonwealth, she was widely considered the most famous person in the world.

Queen Elizabeth Under Medical Care, Doctors ‘Concerned For Her Health’
Pipeline Surveillance Contract To Tompolo Unsettles Northern Group

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 90th birthday in 2016, and later that year became the world’s oldest reigning monarch as well as the longest-serving British monarch, surpassing the reign of Queen Victoria. More recently, she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee marking her 70-year reign with huge crowds and appointed a new U.K. prime minister.

After ascending to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth steered the House of Windsor through some of its most challenging times, fulfilling her royal duties and maintaining a quiet dignity while those around her contended with scandal and divorces.

Dedicated coverage of the Royal Family
Latest news on the death of Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II dead at 96 after 70 years on the throne
What happens now that Queen Elizabeth II has died? Here are the changes Canadians will see
Read the first full statement from King Charles III following the death of his mother
In Pictures: Queen Elizabeth II over the years
What the scene outside Buckingham Palace looks like
A modern monarch: Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96
‘She was one of my favourite people’: PM Trudeau, other Canadian leaders mourn Queen’s death
This is the moment when the U.K. found out the Queen had died
‘A stalwart’: World mourns Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II
Is Prince Charles now the King? What we know after Queen Elizabeth II’s death
10 fascinating details from the Queen’s life and reign
Will Camilla become a queen now that Charles is King?
Key milestones in Queen Elizabeth II’s life
Diana’s death stunned the world – and changed the Royal Family
25 years after Diana’s death, has the public accepted Camilla?

During the Queen’s seven-decade reign, Britain itself underwent dramatic social change, with a shrinking of the aristocracy and the hereditary peers sitting in the House of Lords. The very institution the Queen represented faced repeated calls for its dissolution during her lifetime, but Queen Elizabeth II managed to turn the public back into her favour in her final years.


Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor’s life was lived entirely in the glare of the spotlight. Born on April 21, 1926, she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York — later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I, the Queen Mother.

Although third in the royal succession line at the time of her birth, it was never expected that Elizabeth would ascend to the throne. But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated his duties in 1936 to marry an American divorcee, her father George VI succeeded and Elizabeth’s fate was sealed. She was now the heir-presumptive.

Royal Dispatch newsletter: Sign up for exclusive insights on the monarchy
Affectionately nicknamed Lilibet, Elizabeth’s early years were spent at her family’s homes in central London, Richmond Park and Windsor. A close-knit family, Elizabeth and her younger sister, the late Princess Margaret Rose, were both educated at home.

The King and Queen remained in London during much of the Second World War, living at Buckingham Palace. Their girls were sent to Windsor Palace, about 50 km away. Towards the end of the war, at the age of 18, Princess Elizabeth’s more sheltered life ended, and she was allowed to join the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. She was proud of her service as a mechanic and military truck driver. Collier’s Magazine reported in 1947 that one of Elizabeth’s “major joys was to get dirt under her nails and grease stains in her hands, and display these signs of labor to her friends.”

When the princess was 21 in 1947, she married her fourth-cousin, the dashing Lt. Philip Mountbatten, great-great grandson of Queen Victoria.

The pair had met when Elizabeth was just 13 and, in a storybook romance of love at first sight, the future queen has said she decided then and there that Philip would be her husband. Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage endured for 73 years, until his death at age 99 on April 9, 2021.

Elizabeth began a family almost as soon as she married, bearing two children, Charles and Anne, while still a princess. The couple’s carefree life came to an end in February 1952, when her father died in his sleep at age 56 of what was later revealed to be lung cancer. George’s death sent Elizabeth to the throne and ended Philip’s naval career.

While Elizabeth may have been nervous about her new role, the British public was delighted. The young and beautiful Elizabeth offered the British people a glamourous distraction from their post-war doldrums and she was named Time magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 1952.

When her coronation took place on June 2, 1953, the ceremony was broadcast on radio around the world and for the first time — and at the Queen’s insistence — on television.

Queen Elizabeth II mostly embraced the medium of television as a way to connect with her public and show the world her family was like any other. When Elizabeth had two more children — Andrew in 1960 and Edward 1964 — it was television that brought the images of the baby princes into homes around the world. She even allowed BBC cameramen into Buckingham Palace in 1969 to film a documentary, which was watched by a full two-thirds of English viewers.

But, like her father who had speech therapy for a stammer, Elizabeth was no natural orator and often faced criticism for what some saw as a cold delivery. Reports suggested that the live Christmas message in 1957 — the crown’s first on television — was stressful for the then 31-year-old monarch. Elizabeth told a courtier at the time that the family’s Christmas “was upset by the television which was quite nerve-wracking,” according to royal biographer Sarah Bradford. The next year’s Christmas message was the last to be recorded live.

Like her father before her, Elizabeth took her responsibilities seriously throughout her reign. Although her public duties were largely ceremonial, Elizabeth knew the joy her tours and ceremonial investitures brought. She maintained a continuously busy schedule throughout her reign, and became the most widely traveled head of state in the world, including 22 official tours to Canada — more than any other Commonwealth country.

Her last visit to Canada was in 2010, a nine-day tour through three provinces that saw the Queen and Prince Philip celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa.

On her royal tours, many would remark they were struck her warmth, disarming wit and the genuine pleasure she showed in meeting new people. She was fluent in French, fascinated with military history, loved her horses and dogs, and enjoyed her regular audiences with the British prime ministers of her day — of which there were 13 during her long reign.

Yet while many adored her, plenty of others questioned her role, wondering whether a place still existed in modern times for a taxpayer-funded monarchy. The calls often grew loudest during recessions, such as when then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s economic reforms led to widespread belt-tightening in the late 1980s.

Elizabeth, ever aware of the family’s public image, responded by announcing in 1992 she would begin paying income and capital gains taxes, just like any citizen.

Elizabeth’s role was questioned again in Australia in 1999, when the country held a national referendum on whether she should remain as head of state. In the end, Australians voted to maintain the role of the Crown. But the victory may have had as much to do with political in-fighting on the Republican side rather than any great affection for the monarchy.

With the television age came an increasingly competitive tabloid news media that probed relentlessly into the personal lives of the Queen and her family. Though Elizabeth worked to maintain the monarchy’s image of dignity, her own spotless image was largely overshadowed in later years by the numerous scandals involving her children.

Much has been written about the failed marriages of three of her four children. Elizabeth offered little public reaction to any of these events except, notably, in a speech in November 1992, when she called the year her annus horribilis (horrible year). In that one year, Elizabeth endured Princess Anne’s divorce, the separation of Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, the fire at Windsor Castle, and — perhaps most damaging to the family’s image — the Andrew Morton book on Princess Diana that revealed the salacious details of Prince Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.

The Queen’s maintenance of a stiff upper lip through crisis backfired in 1997 when Diana was suddenly killed in a car accident and the nation fell into mourning. The Queen insisted the Palace remain silent on the death of Diana, who was no longer a member of the Royal Family. But the British public — and much of the world — interpreted the silence as apathy and demanded a reaction from a monarchy that had shut Diana out.

Elizabeth responded by offering her first live public address to Britain’s people in 38 years. She spoke with composure, remembering Diana as “an exceptional and gifted human being.” The public’s anger dissipated soon after.

But Diana’s untimely death was far from the last scandal the Queen would have to contend with. Both her son and grandson would create media spectacles of their own over the last several years of her reign.

In November 2019, following days of turmoil that severely damaged the family’s reputation, Prince Andrew made the unprecedented announcement that he would step back from public duties because of his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. This followed allegations from one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, who claimed she was sexually abused by the prince. The duke has denied any form of sexual contact or relationship with her.

The scandal followed the Queen well into 2021 after Giuffre sued the prince in a U.S. court.With the Queen’s approval and agreement, he was stripped of his military titles, royal charities, and the use of “His Royal Highness” in January 2022, as a result of the lawsuit. The following month, just weeks before Prince Andrew was expected to be questioned under oath by Giuffre’s lawyers, the case was settled for an undisclosed amount and without any admission of guilt.

In 2020, the Queen saw another royal exit with the departure of grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan. The couple stepped away from full-time royal life in March 2020, unhappy at media scrutiny and the strictures of their roles.

“My family and I are entirely supportive of Harry and Meghan’s desire to create a new life as a young family,” the Queen said in a statement shortly after the couple’s announcement.

But months later, in March, relations would be further strained when the couple painted a deeply unflattering picture of life inside the royal household during a two-hour soul-baring interview with Oprah Winfrey, which included allegations of racism and revelations of Meghan’s struggle with suicidal thoughts.

A statement issued on behalf the Queen, released 36 hours after the interview aired, failed to put an end to public outrage over the allegations, sparking renewed controversy over the monarch’s stance on issues like race.Still, unlike Harry’s strained relationship with his father and brother, the Queen continues to have a relationship with the couple, who visited her at Windsor Castle in April 2022.

Following several public relations blunders, it wasn’t long before the Queen enlisted a more sophisticated media operation, eventually opening a Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts to update the public about the family’s many activities.

Her popularity has grown steadily over the last two decades, a time that has seen the wedding of her son, Prince Charles, to his longtime love Camilla, as well as the wildly popular weddings of Prince William — second heir to the throne — to Kate Middleton in 2011 and Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in 2018.

Estimated billions tuned in around the world for coverage of the weddings, which demonstrated the Queen’s success in reviving the Royal Family’s image. Subsequent enthusiasm for both couples’ children and the Queen’s great-grandchildren — George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet — has sealed that success.

Remarks of a more modern monarchy have only increased over the years, particularly surrounding the marriage of Harry and Meghan, which bucked a number of royal conventions. But Elizabeth appeared to embrace the transition to a more contemporary crown — at least within the realm of pop culture. In 2012, she simulated jumping out of a helicopter with James Bond actor Daniel Craig for a bit at the Olympic Games in London, and, in 2016, she got playfully competitive with U.S. President Barack Obama in an Invictus Games promo alongside Prince Harry. She also instilled a sense of calm and resolve in the British people amid one of the most serious public health emergencies of her time, the COVID-19 pandemic.

While those moments of levity were rare glimpses of Elizabeth’s interior life and personality, some reports suggested she had a good sense of humour. When former Canadian politician Michael Ignatieff met her in 2010, he told reporters that she had a “wonderful sense of the absurd.” “What is astounding about her is how that sense of humour, that sense of the absurd, that sense of the comedy of life has survived 60 years of grueling public service,” he said at the time.

More than her wit, there was an apparent admiration for her perceived sense of responsibility, further emphasized by fictional portrayals that often depicted her as honorable and loyal, such as Stephen Frear’s The Queen and Peter Morgan’s Netflix series The Crown.

Indeed, her sense of responsibility to the commonwealth was admired throughout much of her public life. During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, marking her 60th anniversary as monarch, polls in Britain revealed the Queen remained much-loved and enormously popular with Britons. An ICM poll conducted for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022 found that one in four Britons took part in celebratory community events. British market research and polling firm YouGov has consistently ranked the Queen as the most popular member of the royal family in recent years.

It remains to be seen what her death will mean for the monarchy as a whole, however, with polls showing support for the institution – which can be traced back nearly a thousand years — diminishing, particularly among the younger generation. A 2021 YouGov poll found that 41 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 preferred an elected head of state compared to 31 per cent who preferred the monarchy.

In her final years, Queen Elizabeth II continued to make public appearances, but her schedule slowed down significantly. Her son Prince Charles took on much of her travels to Commonwealth nations, but she attended more than 400 official engagements in 2012, 393 in 2014, and 341 in 2015. 2015 also marked her last visit to a Commonwealth country, when she attended a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta Increasingly after that, official events were more often scheduled at home at the Palace.

More recently, public events took on a new look due to the pandemic, forcing the Queen to sit alone during many occasions, including the funeral of her late husband.

In October 2021, the Queen reluctantly accepted medical advice to rest for a few days, cancelling a trip to Northern Ireland and sparking renewed speculation about her health. She became infected with COVID-19 in February 2022, shortly after marking her 70 years on the throne. At the time, the palace described her illness as “mild cold-like symptoms,” but she later revealed the infection left her “very tired and exhausted.”In the months leading up to her death,she missed a number of engagements including the Royal Family’s traditional Easter Sunday church service, the royal garden party season, and a beloved Highland Games event, amid what the palace only described as “episodic mobility problems.”

The succession line calls for her eldest son, Charles, the Prince of Wales, to ascend to the throne.

No comments:

Post a Comment