Queen Elizabeth II has died at Balmoral Castle, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday afternoon.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the palace said. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Queen Elizabeth died surrounded by her family, including her three sons Charles, Andrew and Edward and her daughter Anne. Her grandsons William and Harry were also at Balmoral Castle today.

Queen Elizabeth leaves behind a legacy unmatched in history as the longest reigning British monarch. She served the people of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and ten other nations as monarch and Head of State from February 6, 1952 until September 8, 2022.

In February of this year, Elizabeth became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking a historic 70 years on the throne. 

At the age of 25, Elizabeth ascended the throne and became Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Head of the Commonwealth and Defender of the Faith after her father King George VI died at the age of 56. She began her reign in a rapidly changing world just beginning to repair itself from the destruction of two world wars, and saw an empire – once the largest and most powerful in the world – dissolve in triumph after vanquishing the evil of fascism.

Elizabeth was never supposed to become Queen. Her father, Prince Albert, only became King George VI after his older brother King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee. Edward’s decision to abdicate the throne would alter the course of history and would lay the groundwork for Elizabeth’s 70-year reign.

Throughout her reign, the Queen transformed the monarchy into a modern institution representing the United Kingdom on the world stage and turning each member of the ‘The Firm’ into cultural icons. 

Elizabeth leaves behind four children, Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, the Princess Royal; Andrew, Duke of York; and Edward, Earl of Wessex.

“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of the greater imperial family to which we all belong.”Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II

Long live The King. 

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Harrison Faulkner is producer and journalist for True North based in Toronto.

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