Queen Elizabeth II: The Monarch Who Ruled Over Britain for 70 Years Has Died

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She was the longest reigning monarch in British history and was head of state to 15 prime ministers

Queen Elizabeth II has died, aged 96. She was the longest-serving monarch in British history, with a reign of 70 years and 214 days.

The Prince of Wales is now King, having acceded to the throne immediately on the death of his mother.

In a statement, the Palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

She was born, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, on Apr. 21, 1926. Her father was then known as Albert, Duke of York.

At the age of 10 her grandfather, King George V, died and was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII, whose relationship with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson led to the abdication crisis of November 1936.

Edward VIII’s abdication meant her father was crowned King George VI. A shy and mild-mannered figure, he led Britain through the Second World War.

Princess Elizabeth was 13 when the war broke out and was evacuated from London to Windsor Castle from where, the following year, she made a radio broadcast on the BBC’s Children’s Hour programme.

Broadcast to the Nation, Aged 14

Speaking to the hundreds of thousands of children who had been evacuated from Britain’s cities, she said: “My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you, as we know from experience what it means to be away from those you love most of all. To you living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.”

When she was 16 she was given the honorary role of colonel of the Grenadier Guards and inspected the regiment at Windsor Castle.

When she turned 18 in April 1944, she joined the British Army’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and had reached the rank of junior commander by the time of Germany’s surrender.

By Chris Summers

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