Queen Elizabeth, who reigned as the United Kingdom’s monarch for more than seven decades, has died at the age of 96.
Buckingham Palace announced the sad news of her passing on Thursday in an Instagram post.
The Queen leaves behind an incredible royal legacy, beginning at her birth in 1926. She was the eldest child of King George VI and was just 10 years old when her father ascended the throne in place of his older brother, Edward VIII, who relinquished his role as king to marry Wallis Simpson.
From an early age, Elizabeth was set on centering her life on her royal duties. During a speech made on her 21st birthday in Cape Town, South Africa, the heir presumptive vowed to listeners that she would focus on them.
“I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service,” she said in part.
'I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.'
On her twenty-first birthday, in a speech broadcast on the radio from Cape Town, The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/0URU2tEPj8
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 9, 2020
Months after her birthday, her engagement to Prince Philip was announced. The two tied the knot on November 20, 1947 – and they celebrated 73 anniversaries together before the Duke of Edinburgh’s passing in 2021.
Elizabeth was only 25 years old and four years into her marriage when George VI died, consequently making her queen. She learned the news of her father’s death and her ascension while she and Philip made a stop in Kenya on their way to a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The royal had her coronation the following summer. Over the course of her historic reign, she celebrated multiple milestones, including her Silver, Golden, Diamond and Platinum jubilees, marking 25, 50, 60 and 70 years on the throne, respectively.
Through that time, the monarch saw “public and voluntary service as one of the most important elements of her work,” per the royal family’s website; she was a president or royal patron of more than 600 military charities, military associations, professional bodies and public service organizations across the Commonwealth.
Queen Elizabeth is also known as the beloved matriarch to a large royal family. She and Philip became parents in 1948 when she gave birth to her first son, Prince Charles. She later welcomed Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s Love StoryView Gallery
In addition to her children, she leaves behind eight grandchildren: Prince William (who is now second in the line of succession), Prince Harry; Princess Beatrice; Princess Eugenie; Peter Philips; Zara Tindall; Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James Windsor, Viscount Severn.
The Queen was also a great-grandmother to 12, including William and Kate Middleton’s children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son Archie and daughter Lilibet “Lili” – who was named in her honor.
Learn more about Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable life story:
WATCH: Queen Elizabeth’s Historic 70 Years On The Throne: Looking Back At Her Reign
Copyright © 2023 by NBC Universal, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be republished, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.