At the age of 96, the Queen has passed away. It’s the end of an era for Britain, who had seen her Highness reigning for the past seven decades. She passed on at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, and the entire family rushed to be with her during her final moments on Thursday. She was the country’s longest-reining monarch, and her eldest son Charles read out the following statement to the public:
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
After news broke that the Queen’s health was deteriorating, thousands of people started to gather outside Buckingham Palace. She had been experiencing “episodic mobility problems” which caused her to stop attending public events. When the flag was lowered to half-mast, there was somber energy in the air, and crowds charged the gates as the official announcement was posted to the black gates. Shortly before the Queen’s death was announced, a rainbow appeared over Buckingham palace.
Although she lived a long and happy life, her passing was still a shock to people from Britain and those all over who were affected by her legacy. Countries around the world paid tribute as the mayor of Paris announced the lights of the Eiffel Tower would be turned off, and the Brazilian government declared three days of mourning. Meanwhile, the Empire State Building in New York City would be illuminated in purple and silver as a tribute.
When Queen Elizabeth passed away, Charles automatically became the monarch of the UK and head state of 14 other realms, which includes New Zealand, Canada and Australia. Queen Elizabeth II first entered her role at the young age of 25, when her father King George VI passed away. Her ascension was a surprise, as her father passed away unexpectedly from illness and left the throne vacant for his daughter.
She would go on to reign through the space race, the British Invasion, and the establishment of the European Union. Even as a teenager her passion for her land showed — it’s said that when Europe went to war and Elizabeth was still a teen, she begged her father to let her help.
Know for her vibrant outfits and the huge political and social change that she enacted, Elizabeth tried to tailor the traditional monarchy to the demands of the modern world the best that she could. As a result, she’s broken several records for British rulers.
Of course, there was also the dark period when Princess Diana passed away. Emotionally, the queen has always been elusive. She was known for her wit and sense of humor, but still didn’t do interviews or share personal views, making her a mysterious person given how high profile she was. She was anything but extravagant — instead, the Queen was all about frugality, keeping her cereal in Tupperware containers and always making sure the lights were off in the palace.
In 2006, Helen Mirren portrayed her in the 2006 film “The Queen” and the series “The Crown” on Netflix also explores her reign. During the coronavirus pandemic, she was praised for her calm strength and sense of duty, making a televised address. Although people are devastated by her loss, the fact that she reigned for a staggering 70 years is no small feat.
Now, people are wondering what’s next — they’re not sure if we’ll start seeing Charles on the Canadian $20 bill. Since coins with King George VI’s face circulated decades after his death, this probably won’t happen any time soon. Regardless, this is a loss that will be felt not just in the Royal Family, but all over the world.