Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Born April 21, 1926 Died September 8, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II, who has died aged 96, became through the course of her long reign not only the oldest sovereign in the country’s history but also its longest serving. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born on April 21, 1926, in a house just off Berkeley Square in London, the first child of Albert, Duke of York, second son of George V, and his duchess, the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. She is survived by their four children, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
The 42nd of a line of kings and queens of first England, then Britain, then the United Kingdom, since William the Conqueror, she was also the sixth queen-sovereign of England and the fourth of the UK. In addition, she was queen and head of state of 15 other countries, stretching from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand to the Bahamas and Canada, all once part of the former British empire. She was for seven decades head of the Commonwealth, whose 54 countries comprise 2.1 billion people, a third of the globe’s population.
In accordance with the precedent established by Henry VIII, the Queen was also Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a role she took much more seriously in both her private and public lives than many of her predecessors.
Her reign encompassed a period that saw some of the greatest changes in technological development, industrial, economic and social life across the world of any era, yet it is hard to see her name being bestowed, as her predecessor Queen Victoria’s was, as the defining symbol of an age. Instead she played, largely impeccably, the part of a modern constitutional monarch, a symbolic figurehead with a right to be consulted and to advise and warn political leaders privately and to show herself publicly as a focus of national life, celebration and commemoration.
The long reign of Queen Elizabeth II was marked by her strong sense of duty and her determination to dedicate her life to her throne and to her people. She became for many the one constant point in a rapidly changing world as British influence declined, society changed beyond recognition and the role of the monarchy itself came into question. Her success in maintaining the monarchy through such turbulent times was even more remarkable given that, at the time of her birth, no-one could have foreseen that the throne would be her destiny.
And now that destiny passes on to King Charles III!