Queen Elizabeth II died earlier today. She was 96 years old, and in her 70-year reign as Britain’s monarch, she had 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to the newly appointed Liz Truss. Elizabeth unexpectedly came to the throne at just 25 years old in 1952 after her father’s death. She was the queen through the loss of most of England’s colonies and helped guide the country through immense hardships. The royal family gathered at Balmoral today, and thousands of people mourned her death in crowds outside Buckingham Palace.
Now, her son Prince Charles takes the throne as King Charles. The king is 73 and has spent more time than anyone else in history as heir to the throne. Toward the end of the queen’s life, he took on more and more of her ceremonial duties as her health wavered in her older age. Now, King Charles is expected to continue with his campaigns for a better environment and expanding education and opportunities for young people in the UK. Since his ascension, some Caribbean members of the Commonwealth have also begun calling to remove the monarch as head of state.
Elizabeth’s death also changes a bunch of people’s official titles. Charles’ wife, Camilla, is now titled the Queen Consort; his son, Prince William, is now the heir apparent to the throne, and William’s three children follow in line. There’s also the possibility that some people will get new titles with time since someone will have to take King Charles’ old position as the Duke of Wales.
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," King Charles said in a press statement. “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by the knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held."
“Thank you Ma’am, for everything," tweeted Paddington Bear.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era," said US President Joe Biden in a statement. “Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world."
“We should all work towards removing the royal family as head of state of our nations," said David Denny, general secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration.
“We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long," said UK Prime Minister Liz Truss. “And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words’ God save the King.'"