The historic seventy-year reign of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II ended on Thursday, September 8, 2022 when then Queen died at the age of ninety-six in her Scottish home, Balmoral. The Queen was the longest reigning monarch in British and English history, reigning for a total 70 years and 214 days.
The late Queen was born on April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street, the London home of her maternal grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore. The baby was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (Prince Albert and the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon). The Princess was christened at the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace and given the names Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, in honor of her mother, Elizabeth, the Duchess of York; her paternal great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra; and her paternal grandmother, Queen Mary. At the time of her birth, Princess Elizabeth was third in line to the British throne after her uncle, the Prince of Wales, and her father, the Duke of York. She was also the first granddaughter of King George V and Queen Mary.
When her father succeeded to the throne as King George VI in 1936 following the abdication of his elder brother, King Edward VIII, Princess Elizabeth became heiress presumptive. Princess Elizabeth spent her formative years largely in London and during the Second World War, she lived in Windsor Castle with her sister, Princess Margaret. In 1947, Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, R.N., who was born Prince Philip of Greece.
In 1952, the Princess succeeded her father, King George VI, upon his death at his home in Sandringham. Taking the regnal name, Elizabeth II, the new Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, flew from Kenya (where they were on an official visit) to return to London. In 1953, the Queen was crowned with great pomp at Westminster Abbey.
Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II never flagged in carrying out her duties and served her nation and the Commonwealth with great resolve, sustained throughout by her strong and unfailing Christian faith, and the support of her beloved husband, Prince Philip.
When she had turned twenty-one, the then Princess Elizabeth had dedicated herself to serving the entire British Empire, saying in her speech: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong … God help me to make good my vow…” Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth dutifully served her people and the Crown with grace and dignity. She had kept good her vow from beginning to end. The Queen – Elizabeth Regina – has passed away, may she rest in peace.