The End of an Era: the Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, known for her seven decade long reign as the monarch of England, died on Thursday afternoon. Senior royals had gathered in Balmoral after the Queen’s doctors expressed concern for her health earlier in the day, placing her under medical supervision. The longest-serving monarch, the Queen died peacefully in Balmoral at age 96, at her Scottish estate surrounded by family.

The Queen’s son, now King Charles III, released a statement expressing how great of a loss the death of his mother triggers within himself and throughout the world. His wife, now Queen Consort Camilla, are set to return to London at the end of the week where the King will address the nation.

Though the Queen had no formal influence here, her legacy was known throughout the world. In a surprising turn of events, the Queen’s uncle Edward VIII abdicated to marry his twice-divorced sweetheart, leaving his brother to become King George VI and “Lilibet” the new heir. Through World War II, the Queen and her sister spent much of their time at Windsor Castle, with the former going to school to learn how to drive– in between writing love letters to her future husband, Philip, who worked in the Royal Navy. Over the years, the pair would have four children– Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

With her father’s death and her assumption as the country’s monarch in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II ushered in a reign lacking the deferential persona past rulers had crafted for themselves; instead, she interacted with the people of England through things like walkabouts and attending public events.

As for how England will respond to the death of such a significant national figure, both the Royal Family and the country itself will go into a period of mourning, with most of normal life put on hold. Official engagements have been cancelled, union flags flown at half-mast, and members of Parliament taking an oath to their new King as citizens organize their own ways of paying respect.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II is so significant even beyond the borders of Commonwealth states because not only was she a key figure of the international social-political landscape, but her death ushers in a new era of monarchy that many do not get to witness. Watching King Charles III assume his role as the new monarch, logistically, is something some people were unable to experience as Queen Elizabeth’s reign was so long; further, King Charles III, just as his mother did, is likely to portray the role of monarch differently than his predecessor. No matter what, this event marks a turning point in history we will continue to watch unfold over the next coming months.