Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch who was Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 colonized countries, died on Thursday at the age of 96.

She has been serving as Queen since her 1952 coronation at the young age of 25, and the kingdom she presided over has changed significantly as many countries once under English rule gained independence and sovereignty.

While there were some moments of controversy throughout her lengthy reign, Queen Elizabeth’s popularity in England stayed consistently high throughout her many years as monarch.



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Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, or Princess Elizabeth of York, was born in Mayfair, London on April 21, 1926. She was the last surviving Royal Family member to have a connection to World War II, where she briefly served as a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service. She made her first public appearance in 1943, and also an overseas trip to southern Africa in 1947.

Elizabeth first met her future husband, Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark, in 1934 when she was only 8 years old. After another meeting in 1939, the Queen said she had already fallen for him. Their engagement was announced in 1947 and first caused controversy because Phillip wasn’t wealthy and was born in Greece, though still a British subject.

Elizabeth is a titanic figure of the 20th century and she oversaw significant moments in Britain’s history. These included the ethno-nationalist conflicts the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the decolonization of African nations and the U.K.’s departure from the European Union.

The Queen’s life wasn’t all smooth sailing in the least. Her family was rocked with tragedies including three of her four eldest children’s marriages failing out of the blue and of course the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in 1997. She was sharply criticized by some mourning Britons for staying relatively quiet in the wake of the accident, choosing to comfort her family instead of the country.

There have also been recent rifts and bumps in the Royal Family, including when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose to quit their palace duties and Prince Andrew‘s sexual abuse scandal.

Prince Charles will be declared king according Britain’s rules of succession. Charles enjoys far less popularity than Elizabeth, likely due to his failed marriage with Diana.

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