Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Longest Serving Monarch, Has Died
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Longest Serving Monarch, Has Died
A a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a Queen. A lady who influenced a country and the world as Britain’s longest serving Monarch. A woman who loved her husband, Prince Philip, deeply.
Queen Elizabeth was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary of York on April 21, 1926. She came of age during World War II.
After months of begging her father to let his heir pitch in, Elizabeth—then an 18-year-old princess—joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. Known as Second Subaltern Elizabeth Windsor, she donned a pair of coveralls and trained in London as a mechanic and military truck driver. The queen remains the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II.
Not long after, Elizabeth met Philip. Their wedding, on November 10, 1947 came at a time when Britain was still dealing with the post war recovery efforts. To that end, she did what all British women were doing at the time. Saved up her ration cards to purchase her wedding dress.
Heart-warmingly she was also given hundreds of clothing coupons by brides-to-be from all parts of the country to help her acquire the dress. She had to return these coupons as it was illegal for them to have been given away in the first instance.
The dress was designed by Norman Hartnell. His signature was always said to be embroidery. The designed enjoyed working with soft, floating fabrics, particularly tulle and chiffon, and with plain, lustrous silks.”
What he created was certainly fit for a Queen. The dress was made of Chinese silk, with a high neckline, tailored bodice, and a short train. A classic “fit and flare silhouette” gown. The ivory silk gown had a 13-foot-long train with a pattern inspired by a Botticelli painting and was bedecked in crystals and 10,000 seed pearls imported from America.
Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 was full of pageantry and tradition.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinborough after her Coronation in 1953 by Cecil Beaton, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
During her 70-year reign, Britain navigated economic hardship and boom times, bombings and strife concerning Northern Ireland, the Falklands War, 9/11, Afghanistan, and much more.
Queen Elizabeth has seen the world change. She’s watched leaders rise and fall within her own country and around the world. During her 70 year reign, the Queen traveled to all the Commonwealth countries multiple times, and made state visits to nearly every country in the world.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Elizabeth continued to travel extensively. In 1973 she attended the Commonwealth Conference in Ottawa, Canada, and in 1976 traveled to the United States for the 200th anniversary celebration of America’s independence from Britain. More than a week later she was in Montreal, Canada, to open the Summer Olympics. In 1979, she traveled to Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, which garnered international attention and widespread respect.
In 2011, Elizabeth showed that the crown still had symbolic and diplomatic power when she became the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since 1911 (when all of Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom).
One only has to look back at the entirety of Elizabeth’s reign to understand the depth of the Queen’s diplomatic genius. She made an incredible gesture after the September 11th terror attacks that is still talked about.
Praying for the Royal Family and remembering that the day after the attacks of September 11th, The Queen broke a 600 year-old royal tradition and requested the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Buckingham Palace.— Ben Goldey (@BenGoldey) September 8, 2022
One must also appreciate her efforts, and those of her family with the numerous charities they support. The Queen, until Covid showed up around the world, would make nearly 400 visits a year to the charities the Royal Family supports.
On April 9, 2021, Prince Phillip whom Queen Elizabeth called her “strength and stay” died. They had been married for nearly 75 years. One of the most heartbreaking things I ever witnessed was this amazing strong lady standing alone, with no one at her side, during her husband’s funeral.
These pictures of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth broke my heart. 73 years of togetherness comes to an end. Everything about Prince Philip’s funeral was moving. Honouring a man who had lived well for a century. The nation’s silence. pic.twitter.com/2K82veyc1x— Major General Ezeaka Chidozie Ishola Buharideen (@Ezeakachidozie) April 18, 2021
It takes enormous strength to stand alone at a time when the comfort of family and close friends is needed the most.
This spring, the entire Commonwealth celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Think about it. The Queen is Britain’s longest serving monarch. A lady who navigated personal trials and tribulations within her own family, and with a calm steady demeanor, helped Britain and the Commonwealth steer through both calm and troubled waters many times. This Christmas speech is especially poignant when one takes into account her own personal loss of her husband Philip just months later.
Her strength, courage, and wisdom was never more present than with her 2021 Christmas speech.
Queen Elizabeth has been The Commonwealth’s own ‘strength and stay’ for over 70 years. From her time as a young girl watching the world go to war, helping as an ambulance driver, to stepping into the role as Queen likely before she was fully ready for it, Queen Elizabeth has been one of the most impactful public figures the world has ever seen.
She has put duty over the personal during her reign. Yet she also, many times, surprised people with her sense of humor, including many world leaders such as President Ronald Reagan.
Thus, this bit of fun that she surprised everyone with during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations showed once again that, while she took her duties seriously, laughter is a key component of the Queen’s humanity.
When Paddington Bear takes tea with the Queen. Exquisite. One to watch on repeat (and finally after 70 years we find what the Queen keeps in her handbag…)— Beth Rigby (@BethRigby) June 4, 2022
This very sweet watercolor captures the moment perfectly.
How @etomlinson_art captured the hearts of the world with this charming artwork of the #Queen and Paddington Bear while on a Platinum #Jubilee #weekend break in the #Dales.— The Yorkshire Dalesman magazine (@The_Dalesman) August 10, 2022
To read about how Eleanor's #artwork took off, simply follow the link below:https://t.co/EZLoSgsH7u pic.twitter.com/odMZKzD0RU
Queen Elizabeth has seen 14 Prime Ministers come and go during her reign. She’s watched numerous world leaders rise to power or be duly elected, depending upon that country’s laws, and she’s watched the world change in immeasurable ways. Throughout it all, she was a steady constant of duty, selfless service, and care for Britains at home and abroad. Her influence, calm strength, and steel backbone are of the likes we’ll never see again.
Feature Photo Credit: Original composite by VG Darleen Click