The Life And Times Of A Great Monarch
The Life And Times Of A Great Monarch
The Life And Times Of A Great Monarch - Detail

There has never been a better example of a selfless and devoted public servant than the late Queen Elizabeth II

With more years at the throne than any other British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II was regarded as a person of great significance. In her role as Head of the Commonwealth, which she served for 70 years, Her Majesty connected more than two billion people around the world. Born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on 21 April 1926, her life transformed abruptly from that of a young mother and naval wife to one of a busy Head of State when she succeeded to the throne at the age of 25.

She would come to be known for her sense of responsibility and commitment to a life of service, and she was a crucial head for the UK and the Commonwealth. She was also the first female royal family member to enlist in the armed forces and serve in World War II. Starting with Winston Churchill in 1952, 15 different British prime ministers and numerous other prime ministers served the Queen during her reign. As Head of State, she was also a diplomat and a hostess. Over 110 Presidents and Prime Ministers came to the UK on official visits, and she was there to welcome them.

Among her many duties, the Queen regarded public and voluntary service as among the most important. In her capacity as Royal Patron or President, Her Majesty maintained relationships with more than 500 charities, professional bodies, and public service organisations. These organisations ranged from large, well-known charities operating on a global scale to more modest entities operating in specialised fields or on a purely local scale.

From youth empowerment to animal and environmental preservation, the Queen’s patronages and charities spanned it all. Her Platinum Jubilee began on 6 February 2022, marking 70 years since she ascended to the throne upon the death of her father. On the night before the event, she hosted a reception at Sandringham House for pensioners, members of the local Women’s Institute and volunteers for charitable organisations. In the statement that she delivered on the occasion of her ascension, she reaffirmed the promise that she had made in 1947 to devote her entire life to serving the people.

Later that month, she experienced “mild cold-like symptoms” and tested positive for COVID-19, as did some members of her household and employees. She later recovered and resumed “light duties”, ending concerns for her health. Her Majesty never intended to abdicate, though she engaged in fewer public appearances as she aged and Prince Charles (now King Charles) assumed
more of her duties. In a meeting with Canadian governor general Adrienne Clarkson in 2002, the Queen firmly stated that she would never abdicate, saying “It is not our tradition. Although, I suppose if I became completely gaga, one would have to do something.”

In June 2022, Her Majesty met with Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury,  who “came away thinking there is someone who has no fear of death, has hope in the future, knows the rock on which she stands and that gives her strength.” On 8 September 2022, Buckingham Palace issued this statement: “Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral Castle (in Scotland).” She passed away on that day at the age of 96 at 3.10 pm, with two of her children Prince Charles and Princess Anne by her side. Her Majesty’s death certificate stated that she died of old age.

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