Queen Elizabeth II remembered as stabilizing force for Britain in 70 years as queen

She was queen of England for 70 years

Updated: September 8, 2022 - 1:42pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Queen Elizabeth II, England's longest reigning British monarch, died Thursday at Balmoral Castle, in Scotland, Buckingham Palace announced. She was 96.

Elizabeth became queen at 25 after the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952.

Since assuming the throne, Elizabeth has been a symbol of stability as Britain negotiated the end of its empire, the dawn of the information age and the mass migration that transformed the country into a multicultural society, according to the Associated Press. 

Early word Thursday that her health was failing arrived when palace officials said doctors were "concerned for Her Majesty's health" and "recommended she remain under medical supervision."

The announcement was followed by word that family members were hastening to the castle to be at the queen's side. People gathered at Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle at the announcement of the queen being under medical supervision.

Sympathy and support from leaders worldwide poured in upon reports of her condition.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the “prayers of the nation” are with Elizabeth.

The queen in 2015 exceeded her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria as the longest reigning British monarch.

She served the United Kingdom as queen for 70 years and was the second-longest reigning monarch in the world, after French King Louis XIV, who ruled for 72 years.

Over those years, the queen forged a bond with the nation through a nearly countless series of public appearances that included opening libraries, dedicating hospitals and bestowing honors on deserving citizens, the Associated Press also reports.

She worked steadily into the later years of her reign. But the death of Prince Philip, her husband of over 60 years, in April 2021 reminded the country that the reign of the queen, the only monarch most of her subjects have ever known, is finite.

Elizabeth had, in recents months and years, increasingly handed over duties to her son Charles, Prince of Wales, and other members of the royal family as she recovered from COVID-19, began using a cane and struggled to get around.

Charles is now heir to the British throne. 

On of Elizabeth's last official duties occurred Tuesday when she formally asked Liz Truss to become Britain’s prime minister.

"The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime," Truss tweeted Thursday.

In 1991, Elizabeth was the first British monarch to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress. She also opened up Buckingham Palace to the public for the first time in 1993.