A life of selfless service: Queen Elizabeth II dies at the age of 96


Zenil Koovejee

The death of Queen Elizabeth marked the end of an era that spanned decades.

This past week, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the world have come to a standstill in light of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch to embrace the British throne and wear the crown that embodies it all. 

With a reign spanning over seven decades, the sovereign took her last breath peacefully on September 8th at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle. She was 96. 

“Queen Elizabeth was such a known figure and she was alive for so long. I think that she ruled through a period of a lot of change – she was really just a strong woman,” said Lily Keegan (‘23). 

Born in 1926 to King George VI and the Queen Mother, Elizabeth never inspired any expectation to seat the throne. However, the crown became incumbent upon the unexpecting princess following the Royal ascension of her father (King George VI) in 1936. This ascension unfolded as a result of the voluntary abdication of King Edward VIII (as of his love for American divorcee Wallis Simpson). 

“Queen Elizabeth learned how to be a normal person first – before becoming Queen. So, she gained many skills associated with normal people and then later became a royal figure,” said Keegan

At age 25, Elizabeth assumed the heavy title of Queen following the death of her late father in 1952 and has played a vital role in global politics since the inception of her long-standing reign. Since 1952, Elizabeth has personally facilitated discussion with seven Popes, 13 US Presidents, and 15 British Prime Ministers. She has, from the aftermath of World War II to the COVID-19 pandemic, seen it all. 

“Queen Elizabeth has met with many people from all walks of life and this has helped her maintain stability in England. She’s done pretty good, but I still don’t like her – particularly considering her family’s bad past,” said Agash Morekonda (‘23). 

On the more personal side, Queen Elizabeth married Prince Phillip in 1947 and would later describe her loving husband as “[her] strength and stay” through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021. They had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Through the many whirlwinds of life that arose throughout her life, Elizabeth has put duty above self at every second and has faithfully served the country she loved.

“[The Queen] was a very old woman. She led England for an unbelievably long time – she was a symbol of continuity in a time full of change,” said Morekonda

The UK transitions from Elizabeth’s long-standing reign to the newly instated leadership of the Queen’s first son, King Charles III. Charles has ascended to the title of King after decades long controversy surrounding the former Prince of Wales’s marriage, love, and personal affairs.

“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family. We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” said King Charles III in a written statement regarding his mother’s passing.

Ultimately, Elizabeth was laid to rest at Westminster Abbey, where 96 resoundant bells rang in commemoration of the 96 years of life that the Queen offered to her people. World leaders from over 120 countries around the globe attended the funeral service as millions of individuals tuned in for the live broadcast of the event. 

“The Queen’s funeral was a beautifully organized occasion. It was nice to see the British people pay their final respects to their monarch and the other royals stepping up in the wake of the Queen’s death,” said Jaskiran Dhaliwal (‘24).  

Blending the olds of tradition and the news of modernity, Queen Elizabeth was revered and respected like no other. Her passing is the end of an era and the start of a new beginning – for the UK, for the Commonwealth, and for the world as we know it today.

“Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones; my own is no exception,” said Elizabeth.