Al Jazeera takes a look at the life and family of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch.
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died at the age of 96, after spending 70 years on the throne, Buckingham Palace said.
Elizabeth II was born in London on April 21, 1926. She was likely to remain a princess until she was pushed into the succession by the abdication of her uncle King Edward VIII in 1936, and her father – King George VI – was crowned.
In 1952, when she was 25 years old, Elizabeth ascended the throne after her father’s death.
In 2015, she became the UK’s longest-reigning surpassing her great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who ruled for more than 63 years.
The succession to the British throne determines who will become the next king or queen. It was decided on the basis of lineage, religion and firstborn.
The Protestant grandchildren of Princess Sophia, granddaughter of James I, are eligible to take the throne. The future king must also be “in communion” with the Church of England.
Previously, younger male heirs ascended the throne displacing older daughters. However, in 2013, a law was passed giving females equal rights in the succession line.
The current line of succession to the British Crown is:
Charles, Prince of Wales (73)
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (40)
Prince George (9)
Princess Charlotte (7)
Prince Louis (4)
During Queen Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, the United Kingdom has been headed by 15 different prime ministers.
The Queen played an important role in approving elected prime ministers and met with them regularly.
When Elizabeth II ascended the throne, Winston Churchill was the first prime minister she had ever dealt with. When Churchill died in 1965, the Queen violated royal protocol when she arrived at his funeral in front of his family.
During the Queen’s reign, many important royal, national and global events took place, from the founding of the European Union (EU) to the Iraq War and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.
In 2011, the Queen made the first state visit by a monarch to Ireland, marking an important moment in British and Irish history given the fraught historical relationship between the two countries.
In 2021, Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband of 73 years, died. The couple married in 1947 and the Queen described him as “strength and survival”.
The Queen has been head of state in 15 countries, all of which are part of the Commonwealth – a 54-member group of former British colonies – with a total population of 2.5 billion.
During the 1960s, more than 20 former British colonies became independent. During this period, immigration from Commonwealth countries to the United Kingdom increased.
However, it was also a period of intense emigration of the British abroad. As such, the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 was drawn up to limit immigration from Commonwealth countries.
During the years, 17 countries removed the Queen from their head of state and became republics. In November 2021, the Caribbean island of Barbados became the latest country to do so.
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