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Queen Elizabeth II: legend in life and death
October 5, 2022
God Save the Queen
On the afternoon of Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth the II passed away in the Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
“The King and Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the royal family declared. Charles III will be the new monarch, making Camilla the Queen Consort, a title given to the wife of the reigning king.
According to the Associated Press, “Queen Elizabeth went on the public radio in 1947, saying that she will serve her country either in a short time or a long time.” She honored this promise every day since– even in those leading up to her death.
Prime Minister Lizz Truss said the country was “devastated” and believed Queen Elizabeth was “the rock on which modern Britain was built,” Associated Press.
On Monday Sept. 19, 11 days after her passing, the Queen was buried in the royal vault under St. Gabriel in London according to Time Newspaper.
After the death of the queen, Charles became the new king of England after her late mother ruled for 70 years.
Her Majesty’s Legacy
Queen Elizabeth II represents British culture and dignity that can be admired by all. As time passed, she kept up with the changing times, modernizing British royalty while still maintaining English traditions.
Throughout her 70 year reign, she witnessed a great deal of history and made her own history as well. Among her many milestones and accomplishments is the first royal walkabout.
In 1970, Queen Elizabeth II conducted the first walkabout in Australia and New Zealand. Previously, royals were made to stay in the car and simply wave. One day, the queen ditched this rule. She walked through the streets, weaving her way through the crowd and greeting everyone personally.
Her Majesty the Queen soon became known for her sociability. She had friends all over the world, including Princess Sarvath El Hassen of Jordan, former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Meghan Markle, despite the controversy she brought about. Her closest friend, though, was most likely Angela Kelly, her personal dresser.
Angela Kelly served as the Queen’s wardrobe curator and designer since 2002, helping her to establish what would become her style of the millennium. As the queen aged, she embraced brighter hues, never compromising her lively disposition for trends. She wore monochromatic skirt suits with accessories to match. Among these accessories was her extensive hat collection. With this signature look, people could catch even the slightest glimpse of her eccentric hat and could say they saw the queen.
Reactions to her death
Here at Rock Hill, the news spread quickly between teachers and students. Honors Geometry and Pre-Calculus teacher Derek Collins was surprised by the students’ “very loud” reactions. “One student in the front said ‘The queen just died,’ and everyone started flipping out for the next ten minutes,” Collins said.
The halls erupted in chaos as the rest of the school received the notification that Queen Elizabeth II had died. She was 96 years old, and yet her death took the world by surprise. To many, she was somewhat of a legend as she served as queen for the majority of her life.
GT Humanities, GT American Studies and AP European History teacher Lauren Javandoost was alone when she heard the news. “I have an Apple Watch and I have it set to post notifications. So I got a push notification– two actually. One in the morning saying she was sick and then another one that she had died,” Javandoost said.
It was as if the world stopped turning when the queen died. Articles from Mexico to the Philippines mourned the queen and reflected on her influence. Though not under the queen’s reign, Britain has colonized countless countries. As of 2022, there are 14 Commonwealth realms recognizing Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. The phrase ‘The sun never sets on the British empire’ still rings true today.
But why was it such a big deal for Americans? “It’s not like the president died,” Collins pointed out.
She isn’t the face of America by any means, but her impact reached far past her jurisdiction. America, especially, is fascinated by her.
AP European History and GT American Studies teacher Lauren Javandoost reflects on possible historical reasons for America’s obsession with the queen. “Great Britain has been our ally since the world wars and she took power shortly after World War II, so she has been our ally,” Javandoost said.
The queen had a very public life due to media exposure and the nature of today’s society.
“She’s the most visible [monarch] because she’s less of a political figure, especially in the last decade. We’ve been captivated by her.” The queen’s power diminished with time as Britain leaned more into democracy in establishing a constitutional monarchy. Her absence in politics only further validated her presence as British royalty, as she upheld legacies and brought people together– the real reason the British monarchy still stands.
“[Today] in the United States, Hollywood is our royalty. But before we had Hollywood, Royalty were the celebrities– the people we wanted to emulate,” Javandoost said. Queen Elizabeth did not disappoint in this manner and fully delivered celebrity status, even appearing in movies alongside Paddington the bear and James Bond.
Queen Elizabeth II will not be forgotten– in fact many are begging for the modern Elizabethian age to continue. Though the British empire waned in her years of reign, her spirit and care for the nation did not falter.