The End of an Era: Queen Elizabeth II Dead at 96


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, died at the age of 96 Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Buckingham Palace announced her death after she had been placed under medical supervision earlier that day.

Queen Elizabeth II took the throne on Feb. 6, 1952 at age 25 and served until her death on Sept. 8, serving for a total of 70 years and 214 days. She leaves behind four children: Charles III, who succeeded her, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. She also leaves behind 8 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. When she died, Charles III automatically became king, however his coronation has not happened yet.

The queen’s death set off Operation London Bridge, which is the plan for what will happen after her death. Charles III delivered a televised address at 6 P.M. GMT on Thursday, and the country entered a 10-day period of mourning, during which Charles III will be traveling around the UK to mourn. British television channels will not air comedy programming, the British Premier League will cease all matches and all non-essential workers and students will have 10 days off from work and school. After 10 days, the queen’s funeral will occur, and at midday, the entire country will observe a two-minute moment of silence, according to Vanity Fair. 

Charles III, who is the UK’s longest serving heir-apparent, has been involved in several controversies over the last few decades. The scandal that dealt the biggest blow to his reputation was his infidelity during his marriage to the late Princess Diana. This soured the image of Charles and his wife Camilla, but his popularity has recovered somewhat recently. According to Newsweek, 45 percent of the UK said they approved of him in a YouGov poll taken in September 2021. 

WHS students who have heritage tied to the UK have similar opinions on Queen Elizabeth’s death. Freshman Kingston Warr, who is Canadian-American, said, “I felt very surprised about the Queen’s death because with how long she’s been the queen, it begins to feel like she’s immortal.” 

Senior Jasper Fitzgerald-Jones, who has British heritage, said, “I guess it makes sense that her death happened; I feel like it is still sort of shocking. She had lived so long it felt like she was never going to die, and her death itself was pretty shocking.”

While Queen Elizabeth II’s death has divided social media and caused

#AbolishTheMonarchy to trend on Twitter, her legacy and impact on the United Kingdom and the world cannot be ignored. In the meantime, the UK will continue to mourn her death and celebrate her life.