British monarch Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96

British monarch Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96
Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96 years old. Credit: Joel Rouse / Ministry of Defence

After reigning for 70 years, the British Monarch, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II, has passed away at the royal estate of Balmoral Castle, aged 96.

The Queen is reported to have passed away alongside members of her family after being placed under medical supervision by royal doctors over concerns about her rapidly declining health. The Cabinet Office’s 'Operation London Bridge' plan has been activated and the UK will now officially enter into 12 days of mourning.

The UK Parliament and devolved legislatures in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have been officially adjourned. Heir apparent, Charles Prince of Wales, is expected to deliver a speech to the nation in the coming hours.

On Thursday afternoon, the Royal Family began to gather around the Queen’s bedside. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle had been visiting the UK in recent days for engagements. Duchess Kate Middleton was unable to attend the Queen's bedside due to their children's first day at school. Meghan Markle was also not in attendance. Doctors stated that the monarch was “comfortable” before she died.

A monumental legacy

As the Queen’s health began to deteriorate, the Royal Family received well-wishes and messages of support from heads of state from across the world. Crowds of well-wishers gathered outside Balmoral Castle to offer their support for their monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II was the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch, much beloved and respected across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. The Queen served as the head of state for the United Kingdom and 14 other sovereign states and will be remembered for her overseas visits and service to the nation and Commonwealth.


During the Second World War, the British monarch served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service, contributing directly to the British war effort. In 1947 she married Phillip Mountbatten, former prince of Greece and Denmark. The marriage lasted until Prince Phillip’s death in April 2021.

Significant events include Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively.

Queen Elizabeth II was mother to four children, Charles, Prince of Wales, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

An international legacy

During her reign, the queen remained a constitutional monarch throughout the decolonisation of the former British Empire, greater devolution of power within the United Kingdom, the UK’s accession to the European Communities, as well as the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The Queen's legacy will be marked by state visits in which she met with heads of state in 110 countries across six continents.

The British head of State will also be fondly remembered for her patronage of more than 600 organisations, charities, and military associations. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II helped to raise over €1.61 billion for her patronages.

Queen Elizabeth II is also remembered for her outward and personable personality in the public eye, characterised by her lifelong love of her pet corgis, raising more than 30 during her lifetime.

Following the death of her husband, the Queen increasingly withdrew from official duties. She described her husband as her “strength and stay” and her loss was further complicated by a state funeral conducted under strict Covid-19 conditions.

Ailing health

Just two days prior to her death, she had met with newly-appointed Prime Minister Liz Truss at Balmoral, in a break from tradition, where the Prime Minister was asked to form a government after the resignation of Boris Johnson.


One day before her death, Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen was unable to swear in new ministers due to health concerns. On 8 September, her doctors raised the alarm over her ailing health. Typically, the royal palace has refrained from commenting on the monarch’s medical matters, which were typically kept private.

Liz Truss had previously stated that “the whole country” had been “deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace”, offering her thoughts “and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom” to the Queen and her family.

According to plans in the event that the Queen dies in Scotland, the Queen will be laid to rest at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, her official Scottish residence.

Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. (1926-2022)

Copyright © 2024 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.