Obituary: Queen Elizabeth II

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By Creative Media News

Queen Elizabeth II’s long reign was distinguished by her strong sense of responsibility and her commitment to devoting her life to her kingdom and her subjects.

As British power faded, society transformed beyond recognition, and the monarchy’s function itself was called into question, she became for many the only constant in a world undergoing fast change.

Given that, at the time of her birth, no one could have imagined that the throne would be her destiny, her accomplishment in retaining the monarchy during such volatile times is even more amazing.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in a mansion in Berkeley Square in London on April 21, 1926. She was the first child of Albert, Duke of York, the second son of George V, and his duchess, the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

Elizabeth and her sister Margaret Rose, who was born in 1930, were both schooled and raised in a loving family environment at home. Elizabeth had a good relationship with both her father and her grandfather, George V.

Elizabeth told her riding instructor at the age of six that she wanted to become a “country woman with many horses and dogs.”

She was said to have demonstrated an exceptional sense of responsibility at a very young age. The future prime minister Winston Churchill was cited as remarking that she displayed “an air of authority that was remarkable in a newborn.”

Despite not having attended school, Elizabeth demonstrated proficiency in languages and conducted extensive research on constitutional history.

So that she might socialize with girls her age, a unique Girl Guides company, the 1st Buckingham Palace, was established.

Escalating stress

When King George V died in 1936, his eldest son, David, became Edward VIII.

On political and religious grounds, his choice of wife, the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson, was thought undesirable. He abdicated at the end of the calendar year.

The coronation of the hesitant Duke of York as King George VI provided Elizabeth a glimpse of what was to come, and she subsequently described the service as “very, very lovely.”

Against the backdrop of rising tensions in Europe, the new King and his wife, Queen Elizabeth, endeavored to restore public faith in the monarchy. Their oldest daughter did not miss their example.

The 13-year-old princess joined the King and Queen at Dartmouth’s Royal Naval College in 1939.

Prince Philip of Greece, her third cousin, and a cadet, escorted her together with her sister Margaret.


They had met previously, but this was the first time she expressed an interest in him.

Prince Philip visited his royal relatives while on leave from the navy, and by 1944, when Elizabeth was 18 years old, it was evident that she was in love with him. She kept his photograph in her chamber, and they corresponded through letters.

Towards the end of the war, the young princess briefly joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), where she learned to drive and maintain a vehicle. On VE Day, she joined the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace as tens of thousands gathered on The Mall to commemorate the end of World War II in Europe.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii
Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

“We asked my parents for permission to go see for ourselves,” she recounted later. I recall lines of unidentified people locking arms and strolling down Whitehall, all of us swept along by a wave of elation and relief.

Her ambition to marry Prince Philip faced numerous barriers after the war.

Philip had to overcome the prejudice of an establishment that refused to accept his alien ancestry.

However, the couple’s desires triumphed, and on November 20, 1947, they were married at Westminster Abbey.

As the Duke of Edinburgh, Philip continued to serve as a naval officer. A brief assignment to Malta allowed the young couple to live a somewhat normal existence.

Charles, their first child, was born in 1948, followed by Anne, his sister, in 1950.

But the King, who had endured significant stress throughout the war years, was dying of lung cancer brought on by a lifetime of heavy smoking.

In January 1952, Elizabeth, at 25 years old, embarked on an international tour with Philip. Contrary to medical advice, the King went to the airport to see the newlyweds off. It would be Elizabeth’s final encounter with her father.

Elizabeth learned of the death of the King while living in a game lodge in Kenya, and she returned to London immediately.

She subsequently said, “I didn’t have an apprenticeship in the traditional sense.” “My father died much too early, so it was a very fast process of assuming responsibility and doing the best job possible.”

Personal attack

Despite the resistance of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, her Coronation in June 1953 was televised, and millions gathered around televisions, many for the first time, to see Queen Elizabeth II take her oath.

Commentators viewed the Coronation as the dawn of a new Elizabethan era in a post-war Britain still facing privation.

By the time the new Queen embarked on a lengthy tour of the Commonwealth in November 1953, several former British holdings, including India, had attained independence due to the effects of World War II.

Elizabeth was the first reigning monarch to visit New Zealand and Australia. Three-quarters of Australians reportedly showed up to see her in person.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii
Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

Throughout the 1950s, an increasing number of nations lowered the union flag, and the former colonies and dominions formed a voluntary family of states.

Numerous politicians believed that the new Commonwealth could serve as a balance to the newly forming European Economic Community, and British policy shifted away from the Continent as a result.

However, the 1956 Suez tragedy accelerated the fall of British power, when it became evident that the Commonwealth lacked the will to act collectively in times of crisis. Prime Minister Anthony Eden resigned because the decision to send British troops to Egypt to avert the feared nationalization of the Suez Canal resulted in an ignominious withdrawal.

This resulted in a political problem for the Queen. The Conservative Party had no procedure for electing a new leader, therefore the Queen invited Harold Macmillan to form a new administration following a series of discussions.

The Queen was also the target of a personal attack from the author Lord Altrincham. In a magazine article, he claimed her court was “too British” and “upper-class” and accused her of being unable to give a simple statement without a written text.

Lord Altrincham was physically attacked in the street by a member of the League of Empire Loyalists after his words sparked a media uproar.

Nevertheless, the incident revealed that British culture and attitudes to the monarchy were changing swiftly and old certainties were being questioned.

From the term “the Monarchy” to “the Royal Family”

Encouraged by her husband, who was notoriously impatient with the stuffiness of the court, the Queen adapted to the new order.

The habit of entertaining debutantes at court was discontinued, and “the Monarchy” was eventually replaced by “the Royal Family.”

In 1963, when Harold Macmillan resigned as prime minister, the Queen was again at the center of political controversy. Because the Conservative Party had not yet established a method for selecting a new leader, she took his suggestion and appointed the Earl of Home in his place.

Roal family
Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

It was a time of difficulty for the Queen. Constitutional correctness and increasing independence of the monarchy from the government of the day were hallmarks of her reign. She took her rights to be informed, to advise, and to warn seriously, but did not attempt to exceed them.

It was the last time she would be placed in such a predicament. The Conservatives ultimately abandoned the tradition of new party leaders simply “emerging” and implemented a real mechanism.

Buckingham Palace determined in the late 1960s that the Royal Family ought to be presented in a significantly less formal and more approachable manner.

Royal Family was the resultant ground-breaking documentary. There were photographs of the family having a BBQ, decorating the Christmas tree, and taking their children for a drive – all typical events that had never been captured on film.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

Critics asserted that Richard Cawston’s video undermined the mystique of the royals by depicting them as ordinary people, including footage of the Duke of Edinburgh grilling sausages on the Balmoral grounds.

However, the picture reflected the more easygoing atmosphere of the era and did much to revive support for the monarchy among the population.

In 1977, the Silver Jubilee was commemorated with true zeal in street parties and ceremonies throughout the entire kingdom. The monarchy felt secure in the public’s regard and much of that was down to the Queen herself.

Two years later, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister. Relationships between the female head of state and the female head of government have been described as awkward on occasion.

scandals and catastrophes

The Queen’s loyalty to the Commonwealth, of which she was the head, posed a challenge. The Queen was familiar with the African leaders and was sympathetic to their cause.

She reportedly considered Thatcher’s attitude and aggressive demeanor “puzzling,” particularly her resistance to sanctions against apartheid-era South Africa.

The Queen’s public obligations continued year after year. After the Gulf War in 1991, Elizabeth went to the United States to become the first British queen to address a joint session of Congress. President George H.W. Bush stated that she has been a friend of freedom for as long as anyone can remember.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

A year later, however, a string of scandals and catastrophes began to impact the Royal Family.

The second son of the Queen, the Duke of York, and his wife Sarah split, and Princess Anne and Mark Phillips divorced. Then it was reported that the Prince and Princess of Wales were profoundly unhappy and eventually separated.

The year concluded with a massive fire at Windsor Castle, the Queen’s favorite residence. It seemed a fitting symbol of a royal house in difficulty. A public dispute over whether the taxpayer or the Queen should pay for the renovations did not help.

The Queen referred to 1992 as her “year from hell” and appeared to concede the necessity for a more transparent monarchy in exchange for a less hostile media in a speech in the City of London.

“No institution, city, monarchy, or anything else, should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t. However, we are all part of the same fabric of our national society, and scrutiny can be just as effective if conducted with a measure of gentleness, good humor, and understanding.”

The monarchical institution was very much on the defensive. Buckingham Palace was opened to the public to collect funds for the repairs at Windsor, and it was declared that the Queen and Prince of Wales would pay investment income tax.

Early in her reign, there were great expectations for the Commonwealth abroad, but they had not been realized. With new arrangements in Europe, Britain turned its back on its former partners.

The Queen nevertheless valued the Commonwealth and was ecstatic when South Africa, where she had grown up, finally abolished apartheid. In March 1995, she commemorated by paying a visit.

At home, the Queen endeavored to retain the monarchy’s dignity as the public debated the institution’s viability.

Diana, Princess of Wales, passed away

As Britain fought to discover a new future, she attempted to maintain a soothing demeanor and could brighten a somber moment with a spontaneous smile. The role she treasured the most was that of national symbol.

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in August 1997, however, shook the monarchy, and the Queen herself faced extraordinary criticism.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

As the public flocked to the palaces in London with floral tributes, the Queen appeared reluctant to offer the center of attention that she had usually attempted to do during significant national events.

Many of her detractors failed to recognize that she belonged to a generation that was repulsed by the nearly frantic displays of public grieving that characterized the aftermath of the princess’s death.

As a concerned grandma, she also felt compelled to console Diana’s sons in the privacy of the family circle.

Eventually, she made a live broadcast in which she paid tribute to her son-in-law and pledged that the monarchy will adapt.

Losses and festivities

In 2002, the year of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the deaths of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret cast a pall on nationwide celebrations of her reign.

On the evening of the jubilee, despite this and the ongoing discussion about the future of the monarchy, one million people jammed The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

On her 80th birthday in April 2006, hundreds of well-wishers lined the streets of Windsor as the Queen undertook an informal walkabout.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

In November 2007, she and Prince Philip celebrated 60 years of marriage with a service at Westminster Abbey attended by 2,000 people.

In April 2011, the Queen attended the wedding of her grandson, William, Duke of Cambridge, to Catherine Middleton, which was yet another wonderful occasion.

Obituary: queen elizabeth ii

In May of that year, Elizabeth became the first British queen to undertake a formal visit to the Irish Republic, a historic occasion.

In a speech she began in Irish, she urged forbearance and conciliation and mentioned: “things we wished had been done differently or not at all.”


A year later, during the Diamond Jubilee festivities in Northern Ireland, Elizabeth shook hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.

It was an emotional moment for a monarch whose beloved cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, had been killed in 1979 by an IRA bomb.

The Diamond Jubilee concluded in a weekend of celebrations in London attended by hundreds of thousands of people.

The September 2014 vote on Scottish independence was a trying period for the Queen. Few had forgotten her 1977 speech to Parliament in which she made her allegiance to the United Kingdom very clear.

“Among my ancestors are kings and queens of England and Scotland, as well as princes of Wales, so I can readily comprehend these goals. However, I cannot forget that I am the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

In an overheard comment made to well-wishers at Balmoral on the eve of the Scottish referendum, she expressed her hope that people would carefully consider the future.

Upon learning the outcome of the referendum, she made a public speech expressing her relief that the Union was still intact, although acknowledging that the political environment had altered.

“As we move on, we should remember that despite the variety of opinions that have been expressed, one of the things that help to unify us all is our enduring love of Scotland.”

On September 9, 2015, she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain’s longest-reigning queen. In usual fashion, she refused to create a fuss, stating that she had never aspired to the title.

In April 2016, little than a year later, she celebrated her 90th birthday.

After the Duke of Edinburgh’s retirement in 2017, she continued with her public obligations, frequently alone.

There were persistent tensions in the family, including her husband’s automobile accident, the Duke of York’s misguided association with jailed American financier Jeffrey Epstein, and Prince Harry’s developing disillusionment with royal life.

These were uncomfortable times, presided over by a monarch who asserted her continued authority. Prince Philip died in April 2021, amidst the coronavirus outbreak, and the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee a year later.

Although the monarchy may not have been as powerful by the end of the Queen’s reign as it was at the beginning, she was determined for it to continue to have the affection and respect of the British people.

On the occasion of her Silver Jubilee, she recalled the promise she made thirty years earlier during a trip to South Africa.

“When I was 21 years old, I vowed to devote my life to the service of our people and beseeched God to help me keep my word. Even though I made this promise when I was young and naive, I neither regret nor retract my words.”

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