The second-longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, dies at 96.

The world’s second-longest reigning monarch died Thursday at 96.

The palace announced Thursday the queen died peacefully at Balmoral. “The King and Queen Consort will return to London tomorrow.”

Elizabeth, Britain’s oldest Queen, had four children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Prince Philip, her 73-year-old husband, died in 2021.

Elizabeth, Britain’s oldest Queen, had four children, eight grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren. Prince Philip, her 73-year-old husband, died in 2021.

Prince Charles succeeds Elizabeth as UK monarch. As king, he is a Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Prince William and his son, Prince George, are Elizabeth’s heirs apparent.

Elizabeth surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s record for the longest-living U.K. monarch in December 2007. Elizabeth is the longest-reigning British monarch. Victoria reigned for 63 years.

Elizabeth had the second-longest reign after France’s Louis XIV.

Elizabeth was the first British queen to commemorate a Sapphire Jubilee. In November, she celebrated her 70th wedding anniversary as the first British monarch. She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee on Feb. 6, 2022.

Elizabeth’s rule wasn’t without criticism. In the U.K., Australia, and elsewhere, she encountered republicanism.

Republic has advocated for the monarchy’s demise for years. Graham Smith, the group’s CEO, said in 2018 that the monarchy is corrupt.

Australians have debated whether to become a republic or keep their monarchy. Former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull urged a plebiscite after Elizabeth’s death.

Elizabeth was criticized for how she handled Prince Andrew’s sexual abuse incident.

Virginia Giuffre claims infamous businessman Jeffrey Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew in 2001. Andrew disputed the charges and delivered a catastrophic BBC interview in 2019 in which he failed to express sorrow for Epstein’s victims or denounce his behavior. The Duke of York stepped back from public activities “for the foreseeable future” after the interview drew considerable criticism.

The queen’s judgment was challenged after she was photographed horseback riding with Andrew days after he announced he was stepping down. Andrew attended the queen’s Christmas meal at Buckingham Palace and Christmas Day church services with Prince Charles.

Royal analyst Peter Hunt told CNN that Andrew’s behavior had “hurt the royal family”

Andrew’s legal woes continued. Giuffre sued Andrew in Manhattan in 2021, alleging trafficking and sexual assault when she was 17. The Duke of York was seen hiding at the queen’s castle to avoid process servers. Giuffre and Andrew settled in February 2022.

The queen’s final years were marked by personal tragedy and familial instability, as well as COVID-19. Elizabeth was hailed for her capacity to comfort and unite people after delivering a beautiful, emotional address in April 2020. It was her fifth national address.

“We should take comfort that better days will return,” she remarked. We’ll see our friends, family, and others again.

It was another “annus horribilis” for the queen, in part because Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced in January 2020 that they were stepping down as working royals to pursue financial freedom and relocation to North America.

In March 2021, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stated in an Oprah Winfrey interview that a royal family member had expressed racist worries before their son’s birth.

The Queen later said, “The whole family is heartbroken to learn how difficult the last several years have been for Harry and Meghan.” Race-related concerns are troubling. While memories may differ, the family will address them privately.

Prince Philip, the queen’s 73-year-old consort and husband, died on April 9 at age 99, just after Harry and Meghan’s interview aired. An image of Elizabeth sitting alone at the burial, which was small due to COVID-19 laws, became a symbol of the loneliness and anguish of losing a loved one during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech honoring their 50th wedding anniversary, the queen called the duke her “strength and stay.”

Elizabeth said on Nov. 20, 1997, “He is someone who doesn’t take praises readily, but he has been my strength and stay all these years, and I, his whole family, and this and many other countries owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know.”

Even in her 80s and 90s, the queen, famed for her monochrome clothes, maintained a hectic schedule and was a patron of hundreds of charities and organizations, though she passed on some patronages to other royals to “lighten her workload.” She always drew huge crowds.

In the 2012 BBC documentary “The Diamond Queen,” British historian Robert Lacey commented, “You’re pumped.” “You want to excel. You want a memorable event.

“That’s her magic,” Lacey replied. “The true human exchange there isn’t a replica or a press stunt. The best of us.”

Elizabeth bestowed hundreds of thousands of honors and decorations during her reign and was politically active. She read official documents and followed current events regularly and met weekly with the prime minister for a private talk. The queen is considered to have functioned as a confidant and adviser to these leaders.


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