BALMORAL, Scotland, Sept 8 (Reuters) — Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the nation’s figurehead and a towering presence on the world stage for seven decades, died peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday aged 96.
“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,” the new king, her eldest son Charles, said.
As I write this from England, people are already gathering at Buckingham Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II of the UK ruled for 70 years and in June marked her Platinum Jubilee celebration. While she took the throne on February 6, 1952, she was not coronated (officially “crowned”) until June 2, 1953 at Westminster Abbey.
She was the longest-reigning British monarch in history though not the longest-reigning monarch in the world or even in Europe. The longest-reigning monarch was Louis XIVof France, the “Sun King,” who came to the throne just short of six years of age and ruled for 72 years, 110 days.
Nevertheless, one historian said of her reign
“she was the subject of adulation unparalleled since the days of Louis XIV”.
For all of America’s Republic-loving rhetoric, we are envious of the UK and its royalty. We have artificial royalty, marked by either film, finances, or even people who are celebrities for being celebrities.
Reign of Elizabeth II
Though she was not born to become queen, Elizabeth became queen regnant upon the death of her father, King George VI (from The King’s Speech). When his older brother King Edward VIIIabdicated the throne, George came to power.
When Elizabeth was crowned, Britain still ruled seven independent Commonwealth countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon, plus several African and Caribbean colonies. The British Empire is somewhat smaller today, with former territories and colonies gaining independence.
In addition to being the longest-reigning British monarch, she was also the longest-lived British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state, the oldest living and longest-reigning contemporary monarch, the most…