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HomeNewsLife and legacy of Britain’s longest-serving monarch

Life and legacy of Britain’s longest-serving monarch

Their relative freedom was minimize brief when King George, who’s well being had lengthy been precarious, instantly deteriorated. On the time of his dying in February 1952, Elizabeth was in Kenya on a royal tour with Philip. After phrase reached an aide, Philip broke the information to Elizabeth throughout a stroll.

Royal specialists say it was Elizabeth’s husband, 5 years her senior, who helped information the younger queen within the early years.

“She was so younger when she ascended the throne,” royal biographer Ingrid Seward stated, including that Elizabeth adopted a lot of the custom her father had established. “The whole lot was fully archaic. It was so old school. I believe greater than anybody, Prince Philip helped transfer the monarchy up.”

That was significantly evident in the way in which he helped revamp the royal estates — the land and holdings belonging to the crown — making their operations worthwhile, she stated.

Philip’s affect on the monarchy as an establishment was mirrored of their private lives, as effectively.

In considered one of her extra revealing speeches about her husband on the event of their fiftieth wedding ceremony anniversary in 1997, the queen referred to his “fixed love and assist” and stated, “He has, fairly merely, been my power and keep all these years.”

Philip, who retired from his official royal duties in 2017, died in April 2021 on the age of 99. He and Elizabeth have been married for 73 years.

Along with Prince Charles, Elizabeth is survived by two sons, Princes Andrew and Edward; a daughter, Princess Anne; 4 grandsons; 4 granddaughters; and 12 great-grandchildren.

Over her 70-year reign, the queen eased the U.Okay. into its new post-World Conflict II function, which had been diminished after the lack of its colonies all over the world.

The queen positioned a powerful emphasis on her place because the head of the Commonwealth, a free alliance of greater than 50 nations, lots of that are former British colonies.

“The queen needed to work out the best way to handle decline — the dissolution of the empire, coming to phrases with diminished energy — however she additionally understood that diminished energy doesn’t must imply diminished high quality,” Irving stated.

Her in depth travels across the globe, many on her beloved royal yacht Britannia, helped elevate the profile of the U.Okay. and introduced a dose of glamor to the locations she visited. In 1961, she visited the previous British colony of Ghana, which had gained independence only a few years earlier in 1957. Throughout that journey, a attraction offensive in one of many first members of the Commonwealth, she was filmed dancing with the nation’s chief, Kwame Nkrumah, at a time when segregation nonetheless existed within the U.S.

Like with a lot else that the queen does, it was her actions and never her phrases that carried weight. 

“A person couldn’t have performed it,” historian Nat Nunoo Amarteifio stated within the BBC documentary “The Queen: Her Commonwealth Story.” “Right here is our president, being revered sufficient by the queen of England for her to place her arms round him.”

Whereas she was lauded for her work overseas, she was additionally praised for opening up the royal family and giving the general public a glimpse of the household’s life at house.

Prince Philip, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Anne, Princess Royal, and Charles, Prince of Wales, at Frogmore Cottage throughout the filming of the documentary “Royal Household” on April 21, 1968.Press Affiliation by way of AP file

A 1969 documentary, “Royal Household,” revealed the royal couple’s personal life for the primary time, exhibiting Elizabeth and Philip having dinnertime conversations and fascinating in different common actions, together with barbecuing.

“Individuals realized they weren’t gods. They have been actual folks,” Seward stated. “Lots of people stated this was a turning level.”

Whereas the queen’s regular consistency was largely thought-about a boon for the monarchy, her kids and grandchildren’s lives have often been a thorn within the facet of monarchists. 

Most lately, her grandson Prince Harry and his spouse, Meghan, accused an unnamed member of the royal household of asking how darkish the pores and skin of their kids can be. The couple gave up their royal duties and left the U.Okay. in 2020. 

Simply earlier than their departure, the queen was confronted with a rising scandal round her son Prince Andrew’s friendship with the accused intercourse trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew stepped down from his public duties in assist of the queen in November 2019, and she or he stayed largely silent on the subject. 

Regardless of the latest challenges going through the monarchy, its recognition has remained excessive. That hasn’t at all times been the case. 

Within the early Nineties, Charles’ rocky marriage to Princess Diana was all around the information, ultimately ending in divorce in 1992. In one of many queen’s most well-known speeches marking the fortieth anniversary of her ascension, she referred to 1992 as an “annus horribilis,” or disastrous yr. Talking simply days after a blaze destroyed a big a part of her Windsor Citadel residence, the queen made a plea for understanding, saying that “most individuals attempt to do their jobs as greatest they’ll, even when the consequence just isn’t at all times totally profitable.”  

Princess Diana with her mother-in-law Queen Elizabeth II watching polo on May 31, 1987.
Princess Diana along with her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, watching polo Might 31, 1987.Tim Graham Photograph Library by way of Getty Photographs
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh view the floral tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace on May 9, 1997.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh view the floral tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace on Might 9, 1997.John Stillwell / AP file

5 years later, when Diana was killed in a automobile crash in Paris and the world mourned, Elizabeth was criticized for staying silent for days and hunkering down at her house in Scotland with Charles and Diana’s sons, her grandsons Princes William and Harry. Satisfaction with the way in which she was doing her job dipped to 66 % after that, in keeping with the U.Okay. polling firm Ipsos Mori. (On the time of her sixtieth anniversary on the throne in 2012, her recognition had risen to 90 %.)

“I believe that was an especially difficult time for the monarchy, as a result of folks couldn’t perceive why the royal household weren’t responding as they wished to,” Seward stated of Diana’s dying. “In occasions of nice tragedy, they simply at all times lock down. … They don’t grieve in public. And other people wished greater than that.”

When the queen lastly returned to London practically every week later, she paid tribute to Diana. “I for one imagine there are classes to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and transferring response to her dying,” Elizabeth stated.

She acknowledged in a 1997 speech that the monarchy “exists solely with the assist and consent of the folks.” 

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