On September 8, 2022, the world mourned with Great Britain at the passing of Queen Elizabeth, who was 96 years old. She died in Balmoral, Scotland with Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, and Princess Anne at her side. With a reign of seventy years, she was the longest reigning queen in England’s history. In fond memory of this monarch, here is a brief biography on her life.
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born to Prince Albert, Duke of York and later King George VI, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon on April 21, 1926, in London, England. She was educated at home mostly in religious studies, and was often criticized for not being educated enough. Though she was not the heir apparent at birth, she soon proved to be a natural leader.
In 1939, after World War II began, she and her younger sister Princess Margaret were sent to live in Windsor Castle. In 1940, at the age of fourteen, she addressed the children who were also evacuated in Britain on the radio, telling them “that in the end, all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.” Two years later, her father made her colonel-in-chief of the Grenadier Guards. In 1945, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she learned to be an expert driver and mechanic. This helped her understand life outside of royalty.
Marriage and Ascension to the Throne of England
On November 20, 1947, Princess Elizabeth married Philip Mountbatten, who renounced his titles as prince of Denmark and Greece so that he could marry her. The day before their wedding, King George VI, made Philip the duke of Edinburgh.
On February 6, 1952, Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, died in his sleep after failing to recover from a lung operation. A year later, Queen Elizabeth had her formal coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey on June 2, at age twenty-five. This was the first time the coronation had been seen on TV.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip had four children between 1948 and 1964: Charles (1948), Anne (1950), Andrew (1960), and Edward (1964). In 1969, she named Charles her successor and titled him Prince Charles of Wales. In 1981, Charles married nineteen-year-old Diana Spencer. Princess Diana soon gave birth to Prince William (1982) and Prince Harry (1984). However, Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, and Princess Diana was killed in an automobile accident the following year.
From 1839-1942, Britain and China fought in the First Opium War. On January 18, 1841, China signed an agreement giving control of Hong Kong to Great Britain. In 1898, Britain was given another 99 years of rule over Hong Kong due to the Second Convention of Peking. Queen Elizabeth visited Hong Kong twice. The first time was in 1975 when she and Prince Philip visited for four days; they were the first monarchs to ever visit the country. Her second visit, in 1986, was two years after the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed to get ready to return Hong Kong to China in 1997. The people loved her, and the older generation affectionately nicknamed her “Boss Lady.”
In addition to good relations in Hong Kong, she had an excellent relationship with Canada and made 22 visits to the country during her reign. In 1954, Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch to visit Australia and received great praise from the people. At the time, Australia had a “whites only” policy set by the British monarchy to keep Australia mostly British; however, Australia became a multicultural nation during her reign. In the United States, Queen Elizabeth was the most popular member of the royal family except for Princess Diana and met with 13 US presidents.
Many countries loved her because she was exceedingly kind. One example of this is after 9/11 when she had The Coldstream Guards play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the changing of the guard. Traditionally, the band plays songs from musicals or pop songs during this time, but the queen wanted to honor the lives lost that day in America.
A large part of Queen Elizabeth’s success as a monarch could be credited to her Christian faith. The queen once said, “To what greater inspiration and counsel can we turn than to the imperishable truth to be found in this treasure house, the Bible?” Elizabeth is known to have continually sought wisdom from the Bible, proclaim her Christian faith, and love Jesus with all her heart. While not everyone will be a famous monarch, prime minister, or president, everyone can have a powerful influence for good in their circles by living out Christian principles and seeking the Lord.