The Queen celebrated 70 years on the throne in 2022 (Picture: Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II lived a life dedicated to serving the country, the public and the crown.

She was unexpectedly crowned in 1952 and had no idea she would be Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

A reign spanning seven decades, she met and appointed 15 prime ministers, knighted countless celebrities and people and travelled around the globe.

Her reign has now come to an end after her death at the age of 96 yesterday, and King Charles III now rules the country.

Today, he left Balmoral with Queen Consort Camilla to return to London to begin preparations for his mum’s state funeral.

They arrived to a sea of floral tributes and hundreds of well-wishers and mourners outside Buckingham Palace.

The new monarch, 73, is due to deliver a televised message for the nation, expected to be broadcast at 6pm.

Queen Elizabeth II dead: What happens next?

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died after 70 years on the throne, with her death announced by Buckingham Palace on September 8, 2022.

She died at the age of 96 at her home in Balmoral, with her son, the now King Charles, and daughter Princess Anne by her side.

Follow’s live blog for the latest updates.

We take a look back at the key moments which have defined the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

Life of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen’s Birth and childhood

Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary at 2.40am on April 21, 1926 – at her parents home of 17 Bruton Street in London’s Mayfair – she was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became Queen Elizabeth and King George VI.

Her childhood in the 1930s was spent between White Lodge in Richmond Park and Piccadilly in London.

In 1936 Elizabeth’s father became king after his older brother, King Edward VIII, stepped down to marry Wallis Simpson. At this point, Elizabeth became heiress presumptive.


The Queen lived through one world war, and five other major wars and disputes during her time as monarch.

These included World War Two (1939 to 1945), Suez Crisis (1956 to 1957), The Troubles (1968 to 1998), Falklands War (1982) and the War in Afghanistan (2001 to 2021).

When World War Two broke out, the future Queen and her sister Princess Margaret, were moved out of Buckingham Palace in London to Windsor, while the King and Queen stayed at Buckingham Palace.

The future Queen took an active part in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, becoming a member in 1945.

She was the first female member of the royal family to join the armed forces full-time and she learnt how to drive the vehicles and worked as a mechanic.

Victory during the war meant huge celebrations up and down the country and she made it her priority to celebrate with everyone.

Elizabeth and Margaret were given permission by the King to leave and celebrate with everyone else.


The next big milestone in her life age 21 was her engagement to Prince Philip, who she met in 1934 at the wedding of Prince Philip’s cousin.

She married Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947.

At the time, the wedding was considered controversial because of Prince Phillip’s links to Germany but despite the controversy they remained happily married.

BIRTH OF King charles iii and princess anne

Prince Charles, now King Charles III, was born in 1948, and Princess Anne was then born in 1950.


In 1952 the Queen’s life changed forever, when the young princess was thrown into a life of duty.

Her father, King George VI, died at Sandringham in Norfolk, on February 6, 1952 while Elizabeth was in Kenya.

She returned home as Queen Elizabeth II and was coronated at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.

It was an event televised across the world for the first time in history, one granted at the Queen’s request.

The first prime minister she met was Sir Winston Churchill and she would go on to meet and appoint a further 14 during her reign.


In 1960 the couple’s third child, Prince Andrew, was born and then the family was complete in 1964 with the birth of their fourth child, Prince Edward.

Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were the first children born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria.

visit to west germany

The Queen was also the most travelled diplomat, having travelled to at least 117 countries.

One of her most memorable visits was her 10-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), and was the first visit by a British royal since 1913, a move seen to reconcile the two countries after the war.


At the silver jubilee, the Queen celebrated 25 years on the throne.

troubles with the royal family

But her time as monarch was not all plain sailing, facing problems close within her family into the 1990s.

In 1992, then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated – as well as Anne, the Princess Royal, who also divorced her husband, Captain Mark Philips – and the Duke and Duchess of York announced their separation.

Windsor Castle was also devastated by a fire in the same year.

Later on in 1997, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris while the Queen was on holiday with other royals at Balmoral, including grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry.

At the time, the Queen came under heavy criticism for not flying the flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace, appearing to not share in the grief of the nation.

Eventually, she made her way back to London with Prince Philip by her side and made a televised address to the nation.

Golden Jubilee

At the golden jubilee the Queen celebrated 50 years on the throne.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Diamond Wedding anniversary

In 2007, the Queen and Prince Philip became the first couple in the royal family to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary. 

Their 73rd wedding anniversary in 2020 would be their last, as Prince Philip died in 2021.

Diamond Jubilee

The Queen celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2012.

Longest-reigning monarch

The Queen becomes Britain’s longest- ever reigning monarch.

Queen’s 90th birthday

She reached the incredible milestone of the age of 90 in 2016.

Sapphire Jubilee

In 2017, the Queen celebrated 65 years on the throne.

Death of Prince Philip

Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021.

Following his death, she showed resilience by attending her first in-person royal duty at the state opening of Parliament, just a few days after her husband’s death.

Platinum JUBILEE

The Platinum Jubilee was celebrated by thousands across the country and was the Queen’s last milestone.

Although she wasn’t there for all the celebrations because of mobility problems, she expressed her gratitude to everyone in different ways, such as appearing in a TV clip with Paddington bear.


As well as Britain, the Queen reigned over 56 commonwealth countries and was known for her love of animals, especially horses and corgis and enjoyed Scottish country dancing each time she stayed at Balmoral.

She leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.  

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