A tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Updated: Sep 26


Art by Geena San Diego

An era has come to an end.


On September 8, 2022, people around the world awoke to news of the critical condition of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth the second. Senior royals rushed to Balmoral castle, where the Queen resided. With the knowledge of the Queen’s grave standings, and while I hate to say it, many anticipated the worst. People gathered outside royal residences such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. Later, at around 11 AM (PDT), the world discovered that after 96 years of life, the monarch had passed away.


People young and old worldwide have now been grieving the Queen. Queen Elizabeth II was the only British Monarch that every person who is 70 years old and younger has lived during the reign of. On the date of her passing, Britain entered a national period of mourning that will last 17 days; ten days from her initial passing, and seven days after her majesty’s funeral. Flags are flown half-mast and church bells toll. Four days ago, when the Queen’s coffin was set in Westminster Hall so the public could pay their respects until the funeral date, people had to wait 15 or more hours to simply catch a peek at the coffin. Today, Her Majesty’s funeral was held in Westminster Abbey. Although we live 10 hours away from where the funeral took place, we can still celebrate the Queen. This article is my way of celebrating her.


Life Before the Throne

Her Majesty The Queen was born Princess Elizabeth of York on April 21, 1926. Her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, had another daughter, Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret Rose. At the time, her Grandfather, King George V, was King. According to the line of succession, she was third in line to the throne, but with her seemingly able uncle and father before her, it was possible she would be Queen, just not until way later on in life.

Image Credit: Everett Collection - Young Princess Elizabeth with her family

Or so they thought. After King George V’s death, the next king, Elizabeth’s uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. (The royal family now has a more relaxed look on divorce, but back then it was not allowed to marry a divorced person.) This event crowned Elizabeth’s father, the Duke of York, King George VI. Her Majesty was now the heir to the throne. She would still have time, though, as her father was young and healthy. Or so they thought.


The former Princess Elizabeth had met her future husband, Prince Phillip of Denmark and Greece, several times in her youth. Eventually, at the age of 13, she knew she was in love with him. Her Majesty’s life was disrupted as the Second World War began. When she was older, the young royal served as a driver and mechanic in the war. A few years after the war in 1947, The Queen married her love, the late Duke of Edinburgh. Since her wedding occurred so close to wartime, she used ration coupons to have her dress made. She found her way!


After some years of marriage, the royals welcomed two children, Charles and Anne. (Later, when she was already Queen, they had two more boys, Edward and Andrew.)


In 1952, Elizabeth and her husband Phillip toured Kenya, Bangladesh, and India on royal business. Then, after an unexpected turn of events, King George VI passed away in his sleep from a blood clot. She ascended to the throne on the 6th of February 1952, however, her coronation was held on June 2nd, 1953. She left Britain a princess, and entered Britain a Queen.


About The Queen

Queen Elizabeth is the longest reigning British monarch, having been queen for a little over 70 years. If you recall, her Platinum Jubilee celebrating 70 years on the throne was celebrated earlier this year.


Her Majesty loved animals. She was very famous for her love of dogs, specifically Corgis, owning over 30 of them in her lifetime. However, there is another animal that she absolutely adored: horses. The Queen was an avid horse owner, rider, racer, and breeder. She missed her favorite derby, the Royal Ascot, once, and only missed the Epsom Derby three times throughout her entire reign.

Image Credit: Getty Images

The Queen was a woman of routine and tradition. She spent every summer with her family in Balmoral Castle, her residence in Scotland, which happened to be her final resting place. Her Majesty also enjoyed the same treat every day since she was five years old. This special snack is called a “jam penny sandwich” and is a small simple sandwich of butter and jam. As mentioned previously, The Queen also consistently attended the Epsom Derby. Another annual event she had always commemorated was the Trooping of the Colours ceremony, which marks the monarch’s official birthday. (An official birthday is not the actual date of birth, rather the day it’s celebrated, mostly for weather related reasons.)


The monarch was known for her personality. Many see her as a serious figure, however, she had a great sense of humor. She was described by many former royal employees as being able to “put people at ease”. Queen Elizabeth was also featured in a few hilarious sketches, such as one with James Bond where she “skydives” and one where she has tea with Paddington the bear. It is clear The Queen of the UK enjoyed making others smile.

Image Credit: Instagram/catherineprincessofwales - Queen Elizabeth's Paddington sketch

Tributes to Queen Elizabeth

The monarch’s momentous passing took the world by storm, dominating the media worldwide. Many people have commented on Queen Elizabeth’s death*. Here are some beautiful tributes:


Boris Johnson, the former Prime Minister tweeted, “This is our country’s saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss — far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”


President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released a statement that included the sentences, “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era,” and, “Queen Elizabeth was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”


President Emmanuel Macron of France called Her Majesty “a friend of France, [and] a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”


President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria acknowledged the Queen’s death by sending condolences to the Royal Family and saying, “The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a Chapter on Queen Elizabeth II, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader.”


Prime Minister of Singapore also expressed some words regarding the monarch’s death: “Her Majesty was the heart and soul of the United Kingdom.” “She performed her duties with devotion, grace, and humility. Her contribution to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and indeed to the world will be recorded in history.”


Prince Louis, Queen Elizabeth’s great-grandson who is four years old, told his mother, “Don’t worry, she’s now with great-grandpa,” when she told him of his great-grandmother’s passing.


Countless other messages have been shared.


*All messages from world leaders can be found in full on Instagram.


Moving Forward

Despite the groundbreaking death of Queen Elizabeth II, life must go on. Sadly, her son, the now-King Charles III had to move on immediately. Not by choice, but by duty, as his mother’s death caused him to ascend to the throne. He expressed to Prime Minister Liz Truss, “It’s the day I’ve been dreading.”


With Her Majesty’s death, many members of the Royal Family now have new roles/titles. King Charles III’s wife, the former Duchess of Cornwall, is now Queen Consort. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William, and Kate, are now also Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and are set to gain the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales. These are just a few changes we are already aware of. There are still many more to come.


The Queen’s death now raises many questions. Queen Elizabeth was able to maintain stability within the monarchy, the country, and the Commonwealth. Will King Charles be able to do the same? King Charles and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, do not have the best personal popularity, which can threaten support for the monarchy and the Commonwealth. Nobody knows what the future holds, only time will tell.


Closing

Queen Elizabeth II was truly a special person. She ruled with dignity and integrity. She successfully endured countless trials and maintained stability in her country. On her 21st birthday, the then-Princess Elizabeth made a promise. In a speech, she said, “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.” She kept true to her promise until the very end of her life.


Queen Elizabeth II will be truly missed. Referring back to what she once said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”


Thank you, Your Majesty, for everything.

Image Credit: Instagram/theroyalfamily

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