UK’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has died at 96.
Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement on Thursday afternoon.
Here are twelve things to know about the late monarch:
- Queen Elizabeth II was born in a townhouse in Mayfair, London that belonged to her Scottish maternal grandparents, the Earl and Countess of Strathmore on 21 April 1926. She was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).
- Queen Elizabeth II was home schooled alongside her only sibling Princess Margaret who was born in 1930. The two princesses were educated under the supervision of their mother and their governess, Marion Crawford. Elizabeth’s schooling also included learning to ride, swim, dance and the study of fine art and music.
- In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021.
- She became queen at 25. Her father king George VI died at the age of 56 on February 6, 1952, while Elizabeth was visiting Kenya with her husband, Prince Philip. Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in central London on June 2, 1953.
- Queen Elizabeth II became head of seven independent Commonwealth countries after her coronation. These countries were the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), as well as the Head of the Commonwealth.
- Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to visit the Republic of Ireland since its independence in 1922.
- Queen Elizabeth II toured every region of Britain ahead of the four-day party in June to mark the jubilee, while other royals made visits across the Commonwealth.
- She used her handbag to send signals to her staff. According to Vickers, the bag is used by the Queen to indicate her wishes when navigating official functions. If the Queen shifts her bag from one hand to the next, it signals that she is ready to end her current conversation.
- Queen Elizabeth II was the head of 54 Commonwealth nations before her death.
- Queen Elizabeth II holds the record for the most countries visited by an individual monarch. She visited more than 120 countries on six continents.
- During World War II, young Princess Elizabeth briefly became known as No. 230873, Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor of the Auxiliary Transport Service No. 1.
After months of campaigning for her parents’ permission to do something for the war effort, the heir to the throne learned how to drive and service ambulances and trucks. She rose to the rank of honorary Junior Commander within months.
- Queen Elizabeth II’s reign of 70 years and seven months is the longest of any British monarch.