Queen Elizabeth II leaves behind a legacy of grace, dignity and dedication
Queen Elizabeth II, born as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on April 21, 1926, the longest serving monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 other sovereign countries, passed away at the Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in the afternoon on Thursday (September 8), at the age of 96.
The Queen lived a fulfilling life and was blessed by four children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Queen Elizabeth II ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history, and was a much loved and respected figure across the globe. She was an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous change.
The Queen was christened on May 29 in the private chapel at Buckingham Palace.
Her family did not expect that she would become monarch one day and was expected to live a normal, if privileged, life. But everything changed in December 1936 when her uncle – King Edward VIII – decided to give up the throne to marry the woman he loved, twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson, leaving her father as King, and her as next in line to the throne when she was 10 years old.
Princess Elizabeth’s father acceded to the throne as King George VI, and in 1937 she attended her parents’ coronation in Westminster Abbey.
She was educated at home and after her father became King in 1936 and she became heir presumptive (first in line to the throne), she started to study constitutional history and law as preparation for her future role.
She received tuition from her father, as well as sessions with Henry Marten, the Vice-Provost of Eton. She was also instructed in religion by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
She also learned French that later helped her in interaction with ambassadors and heads of state from French-speaking countries.
Elizabeth also studied art and music, learned to ride, and became a strong swimmer. She enrolled as a Girl Guide when she was 11, and later became a Sea Ranger.
She married navy lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, a Greek prince, at London's Westminster Abbey on Nov. 20, 1947.
The Queen had an enduring marriage with The Duke of Edinburgh and they supported each other and produced four children, eight grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
Prince Charles, now The Prince of Wales, heir apparent to the throne, was born in 1948, and his sister, Princess Anne, now The Princess Royal, two years later.
After Princess Elizabeth became Queen, their third child, Prince Andrew, arrived in 1960 and the fourth, Prince Edward, in 1964. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.
She ascended the throne on the death of her father on Feb. 6, 1952 and was crowned on June 2, 1953 at Westminster Abbey, the first ever coronation to be televised.
At the time of her ascension, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong and Harry Truman were leading the Soviet Union, China and the United States, while Winston Churchill was British prime minister.
She has since been served by 15 prime ministers and saw 14 U.S. presidents in her reign.
On Sept. 9, 2015, she surpassed the 63 years, 7 months, 2 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes that her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria had spent on the throne to become the country's longest-reigning monarch.
She was queen of United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu.
She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee — the 70th anniversary of her accession — on Feb. 6, 2022.
She was Royal Patron or President of over 600 charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organisations and provided them vital publicity for their work.
In 2007 The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh became the first couple in the Royal Family to celebrate their Diamond Wedding anniversary (60 years).
Philip died in April 2021, aged 99.
Despite her busy programme and engagements as Head of State, she maintained hobbies and interests and being an animal lover since childhood, horses and dogs were her greatest passions.
An owner and breeder of thoroughbreds, she annually attends the Derby at Epsom, one of the classic flat races in Britain, and the Summer Race Meeting at Ascot, and other equestrian events.
She also enjoyed walking in the countryside and spending time with her dogs, Corgis and Dorgis.