Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, Dies at 96

Photo from Buckingham Palace’s Instagram

Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch, Queen Elizabeth, Dies at 96

By Movieguide® Staff

After 70 years as the matriarch of Britain, the country’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has died at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.  

 “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace wrote in a statement. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.” 

 Queen Elizabeth’s family was present after doctors previously expressed concerns over her health.  

Queen Elizabeth II became Queen after her father, King George VI, died on Feb. 6, 1952; she was 25 years old.  

Following his mother’s death, the Queen’s eldest son, Charles, 73, became king of the United Kingdom. 

Although the Queen’s public engagements were less over the past year due to what the Palace referred to as “episodic mobility problems,” she continued to make significant constitutional actions, the last of which came on Tuesday after she accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson and called on Liz Truss to take his place.  

“The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime,” Truss said. “My thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time.” 

According to The Washington Post, a 21-year-old Elizabeth said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service, and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” 

Four short years later, she became Queen of England. After 70 years as the monarch of Britain, Queen Elizabeth became known for her pious leadership and humble faith in God’s word; a commitment she made clear would mark her reign in her first Christmas Address in 1952.  

“I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day, to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.” 

 In 2002, the Queen extolled the words of Christ: “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.” 

“[She was] a devout evangelical Bible believer,” Movieguide® founder Dr. Ted Baehr said of the Queen. “God Bless The United Kingdom and get it through the years ahead since Charles has not shown any commitment to the Biblical Faith that governed her life, but he has previously drifted in the tides of cultural confusion. Charles was at Kings College, Cambridge when I was there, and most of the faculty with whom I studied, including my personal professor, whom I liked, were Marxists.” 

The Washington Post reported:

Into her 90s, she maintained a rigorous calendar of events and appearances. They numbered more than 400 in her diamond jubilee year. Her public life was defined by these duties, some seemingly trivial, such as handing out symbolic alms, others mantled with pomp and pageantry — the opening of Parliament or the hosting of a state dinner.

To an outsider, such recurring events might seem perfunctory, but in their recurring character, Charles said, they “help to anchor things” in a dynamic world and, moreover, threaded the monarch through the tapestry of British life.

Her role as queen defined Elizabeth’s life, but her unflagging dedication to the job also defined the monarchy. Unlike her sister and several of her children, including Charles, she kept her personal life intact and avoided private scandal and public controversy. The prospect of abdicating — there were calls for such a move when her great-grandson and third direct heir, Prince George, was born in 2013 — was alien to someone who clung not to power, but to duty.

Dickie Arbiter, a former royal spokesman, said at the time that Elizabeth’s piety alone would prevent it: “She sees herself of having sworn to serve for life not only to the people, but to God.”

The paradox — and possibly the greatest feat — of her reign was her ability to be so visibly dutiful for so long without revealing her inner self. “Of all the world’s public figures, she is the most private,” veteran British journalist Bill Deedes wrote on her 80th birthday.

Movieguide® previously reported on the Queen’s life of quiet faith and unwavering duty to her country:

Robert Lacey, a royal historian, told People magazine that the Queen’s Christian faith plays an essential role in her reign.

“She sees it in the bigger context of her religious faith and of a God who holds her family in his hands,” Lacey said. “It is the solid and simple faith that sustains the queen.”

Queen Elizabeth II commended the team behind BBC’s classic TV series, SONGS OF PRAISE, which recently celebrated its 60th anniversary.

“For 60 years, SONGS OF PRAISE has drawn together congregations and BBC viewers throughout the United Kingdom in collective worship,” the Queen, 95, said in a pre-recorded message played on the series latest episode. “During that time, the program has shown Christianity as a living faith not only through hymns and worship songs but also by featuring the many people who have put their faith at the center of their lives.

“I congratulate SONGS OF PRAISE and all those involved in the program on its 60th anniversary,” the monarch said.

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