Queen of England Dies

Aidan Jones, Features Editor

On Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at Balmoral Castle in the United Kingdom. She was 96 years old. She was laid to rest at King George VI Memorial Chapel in Windsor Castle, United Kingdom on Sept. 19. Her reign lasted for 70 years and seven months. 

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born on April 21, 1926 at Bruton Street, London, United Kingdom. She never expected to take the throne, but when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, her father, King George VI, became king until his death in 1952. Young Elizabeth became the queen on Feb. 6, 1952 at age 25, although her coronation took place on June 2, 1953. During her coronation, she gave a speech that remains a highlight of her reign, promising to do what is right for the nation. 

Throughout her 70-year reign, Elizabeth achieved feats that made The Crown seem less isolated. One of the most notable accomplishments during her reign was the First ‘Walkabout’ in 1970. Although this is a highly popular custom now, at the time, it was against the royal tradition, which was to wave at crowds at a protected distance. For many, being able to possibly talk to the Queen and shake her hand was unfathomable. 

Another accomplishment of hers was when she visited China in 1986, becoming the first British monarch to visit the Chinese mainland. She visited during China’s new Open Door policy, which was an operation to expand China’s trade with the West. She visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the terracotta warriors as Xian. This visit was seen as an act of diplomacy, as the lease on Hong Kong was going to expire in 1997, opening the door to discussion whether China was going to obtain it from Britain. 

Arguably her most amazing achievement was her Platinum Jubilee, which is a national celebration of 70 years on the throne, becoming the first British monarch to ever hit the milestone. After her death on Sept. 8, she became the second-longest reigning monarch in world history, surpassed only by King Louis XIV of France. 

There were many internal scandals, one of the most notable being the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, which was dramatic and problem-filled in its own right. This tension was exacerbated after Diana’s death in 1997, when the Royal Family went silent and was nowhere to be seen or heard. For days, people waited to hear from The Crown as well as to see Buckiham Palace’s flag at half mast, but neither happened. This threw Britain into an unprecedented hysteria and even drew anger towards the queen. Eventually, Queen Elizabeth made a televised statement addressing the death of Diana and describing her as “an exceptional and gifted human being”, thus breaking royal tradition, as televised statements were reserved for Christmas.

This year, the world says goodbye to the only British monarch that most of us have ever known, regardless of the controversies and the successes, she has been through many world events, from World War II, to the rise of technology and the Cold War to even the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She has made her mark in the history books, one that will be difficult to surpass.