Queen Elizabeth’s Long Reign Is Over



Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign is over. Buckingham Palace said Thursday that the queen has died at age 96. The news came after members of the royal family were summoned to her side at the royal Balmoral estate in Scotland by doctors concerned about her health. Elizabeth’s 73-year-old son, Prince Charles, will now become king, with his son Prince William second in line.

  • The statement: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the palace announced, per the BBC. Referring to Charles and Camilla: “The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
  • Her life: For a timeline of highlights from her life and reign, with photos, see Metro. She was crowned queen at age 27 in 1953 following the death of her father, King George VI.
  • Big picture: The AP sums things up: “Since assuming the throne after the death of her father on Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth has been a symbol of stability as Britain negotiated the end of empire, the dawn of the information age and the mass migration that transformed the country into a multicultural society.”
  • Big picture, II: “There is no analogous public figure who will have been mourned as deeply in Britain—Winston Churchill might come closest—or whose death could provoke a greater reckoning with the identity and future of the country,” per the New York Times. “Elizabeth’s extraordinary longevity lent her an air of permanence that makes her death, even at an advanced age, somehow shocking.”
  • No Meghan: One notable absence as the royal family was gathering at Balmoral: that of Meghan, wife of Prince Harry. The pair, who no longer have royal duties, were already in the UK for a series of engagements. However, Harry was traveling to Balmoral alone, reports the BBC. On the other hand, Prince William also traveled there without his wife, Kate, who was remaining behind in Britain for the time being because it was the first day of school for their children.
  • Failing health: Buckingham Palace has been relative sparse with details about the queen’s health, but it had been in decline over the last year. She recovered from a bout of COVID earlier this year, though the palace said it left her exhausted, per the Times. Elizabeth also had been using a cane of late as her mobility diminished.

(Read more Queen Elizabeth II stories.)

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