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Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral this afternoon

LONDON, September 8. /TASS/. Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland died on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.

The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II will take place in accordance with plans codenamed Operation London Bridge, which have been prepared beforehand. The death of Her Majesty was communicated to Prime Minister Liz Truss by the Queen’s private secretary who supposedly said the phrase, "London Bridge is down."

Early years

Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926 in London into the family of the Duke and Duchess of York. She was the elder of their two daughters. A representative of the Windsor dynasty, she was baptized at Buckingham Palace as Elizabeth-Alexandra-Mary (in honor of her mother, great-grandmother and grandmother). After her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936 to marry twice-divorced Wallis Simpson, a citizen of the US, her parents became King George VI and Queen Consort, and Princess Elizabeth, the heir apparent to the throne.

Princess Elizabeth was educated at home, mostly in the field of humanities. She studied French and took lessons in constitutional history and law from the rector of Eton College.

In 1944, she temporarily performed the duties of the British monarch, when her father was out of the country.

In 1945, before the end of World War II, for several months, Elizabeth served a military and labor service as a military truck driver and mechanic in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. After passing a vehicle driving test, she was awarded the honorary title of junior commander.

In 1934, Elizabeth met the son of Greek Prince Andrew - Philip. In February 1947, Philip accepted British citizenship, renounced his former titles, was converted from Orthodoxy to Anglicanism, and also took the surname Mountbatten. On the day of the wedding (November 20, 1947), King George VI, Princess Elizabeth's father, granted him the title of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen and Prince Philip had four children:


- Charles, Prince of Wales (1948) - heir apparent

- Princess Anne (1950);

- Prince Andrew, Duke of York (1960);

- Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (1964).


On April 9, 2021, the Queen's husband passed away at the age of 99. Their marriage lasted 73 years (Elizabeth II stayed married longer than any of the current monarchs).

Accession to the throne

After the death of King George VI on February 6, 1952, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne. Since that day, she has been the British Queen and the head of the Commonwealth (an association of 56 states, including Great Britain; in 15 of them, Elizabeth II is the formal head of state).

She was crowned on June 2, 1953. The ceremony at Westminster Abbey gathered seven thousand guests. The coronation was the first nationwide event to be telecast live. Also, it was one of the first color broadcasts. According to some experts, it was watched by 27 million people in Britain and another 100 million around the world. Eleven million Britons listened to the radio report. During the ceremony, the beginning of a "new Elizabethan era" were proclaimed.

Her Majesty’s 15 Prime Ministers

For the most part, the Queen performed representative functions, although she had a number of important powers. But, since Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy, she exercised them only after consultations with the prime minister or advisers. All acts emanating from the monarch are valid only with the prime minister’s signature. On the other hand, all laws passed by Parliament come into force only after they are signed by the Queen. According to official sources, Elizabeth II has never exercised her veto power (the last British monarch to veto a law was Queen Anne in 1708).

Formally, Elizabeth II led the country's judicial system and the Privy Council (an advisory body), was the supreme commander of the armed forces and the secular head of the Anglican Church. She appointed prime ministers (as a rule, this post automatically goes to the leader of the party that wins the general election).

In all, the reign of Elizabeth II saw 15 prime ministers - from Winston Churchill (1940-1945 and 1951-1955) to Liz Truss (since September 6).

Until recently the Queen had held weekly meetings with prime ministers. She accepted Boris Johnson's resignation on Tuesday and confirmed Truss as his successor. The content of their conversations was always confidential. Traditionally, the British monarch is not involved in politics and never makes statements on current affairs.

At the prime minister’s request, Elizabeth could dissolve parliament and call early elections. She also opened the annual sessions of Parliament. On that day, Elizabeth II delivered a speech from the throne, in which she outlined the main legislative initiatives the Cabinet of Ministers was scheduled to implement during the upcoming parliamentary year. The speech is written by members of the Cabinet and approved by the prime minister. Elizabeth II made her first speech from the throne on November 4, 1952, before her coronation. Since then, she has missed only three ceremonies - in 1959 and 1963 (both times she was expecting the birth of a child), as well as in 2022 due to what was often described as "episodic mobility issues." Her last speech from the throne was on May 11, 2021.

Starting from 1952, Elizabeth II delivered a Christmas address to the nation (George V laid the tradition). The queen prepared this speech without any help from her prime ministers. Usually, it reflected her personal experiences. On several occasions, Elizabeth II addressed the nation for other reasons: in 1991 during the Gulf War; in 1997 before the funeral of Princess Diana; in 2002 after the death of the Queen Mother; in 2012 after the celebration of the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne; and in 2020 during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and in connection with the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

The Queen took part in various events, including title and award ceremonies and visits to the charities and research organizations and foundations (approximately 600) that were under her patronage.

In January 2006, Elizabeth II delegated part of her powers to the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, and at the end of 2016, she put patronage over 25 organizations in the hands of other members of the royal family.


During her reign, the Queen paid over 300 visits to more than 130 countries of the world (the first one, to Norway, was in June 1955).

On October 17-20, 1994, Elizabeth II, accompanied by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was in Russia on a state visit at the invitation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin (she traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg). It was the first visit by a British monarch to our country in post-revolutionary history.

One of the most important foreign policy events was her visit to Ireland in May 2011. A British monarch visited that country for the first time since its independence from Great Britain in 1937 (for centuries, conflicts repeatedly flared up between Great Britain and Ireland, which fought for its sovereignty; casualties were heavy).

The Queen twice spoke at UN General Assembly sessions: in October 1957 and in July 2010. In her first speech, Elizabeth II expressed the hope that the future of the UN, which at that time had existed for only 12 years, "will be determined… by the strength of its people’s devotion to the pursuit of … great ideals" expressed in its Charter. And the other address was devoted to issues such as the fight against terrorism and climate change. She also stated that "In my lifetime, the United Nations has moved from being a high-minded aspiration to being a real force for common good."

Monarchy reformed

Under Elizabeth II, several important decisions were made to democratize the British monarchy. In 1962, for the first time, the Buckingham Palace Gallery was opened to public visits. Works of art belonging to the royal family are on display there. Subsequently, several more halls were opened.

In the 1990s a group of special officials was formed, their task being to work on the image of the royal family and conduct opinion polls with the aim to find out popular attitude towards the monarchy. Etiquette requirements have changed, after which the bans on turning one’s back on the Queen and being the first to extend a hand were not so strictly enforced.

In 1997, the royal family’s official website was launched (it would be subsequently updated several times). In 2007, an account was created on the YouTube video hosting, in 2009 - on the social network Twitter, and in 2013 - on the Instagram network. Elizabeth II published her first message on the Twitter page in 2014, and in 2019 she uploaded her first post on Instagram.

In December 2012, Elizabeth II signed a decree saying all children of her grandson William (the elder son of the heir to the throne Charles) are princes and princesses. Previously, only the son of the heir to the throne was granted the title of a prince.

The most significant reform concerned changes to the order of succession to the throne. In April 2013, the Queen signed a new law that established equal rights to the succession to the throne for representatives of the royal family of both sexes according to seniority (previously, male heirs enjoyed priority). In addition, the law allowed monarchs to marry Catholics, but the requirement that the monarch shall belong to the Church of England remained in force.

Queen the record-holder

Among the women who happened to reign, Elizabeth II stayed on the throne longer than anybody else in world history. On February 6, she marked her 70th year on the throne, which was a record for all British monarchs. Before, Queen Victoria’s rule was the longest - it lasted 63 years, 7 months and 2 days.

However, among the European monarchs, the achievement of Louis XIV (1638-1715) remains unrivaled: he ruled France for 72 years and 110 days. The confirmed longest-ever reign record belongs to Sobhuza II, the King of Swaziland (now Eswatini), who was proclaimed supreme chief at the age of four months and ruled for 82 years and 254 days.

For the British, the monarchy is a symbol of national unity, reliability and stability, and they treated Elizabeth II with respect and love.

In 2012, when she celebrated her 60th anniversary on the throne, the Queen received over 120,000 congratulations.

In December of the same year, she became Person of the Year according to the London daily The Times. In March 2021, according to surveys by the British pollster YouGov, the Queen's approval rating was as high as 80%.