Sir Terry Pratchett receiving his knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.
Sir Terry Pratchett receiving his knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor-Mountbatten, Queen of England, Queen of Canada, Queen of Australia, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Belize, et cetera, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith has died. As she was 96 and had been in delicate health recently, this sad news is not too surprising. Her Majesty was born April 21, 1926 in London, England, U.K. She died September 8, 2022, at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, U.K.

Queen Elizabeth was, delightfully, a fan of science fiction and fantasy. She knighted Sir Terry Pratchett for his services to literature in 2009. She read the Harry Potter books to her grandchildren and appointed J. K. Rowling a Companion of Honour in 2017. When she met actor Brian Blessed (Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon), she told him that she and her family watched and rewatched Flash Gordon every year and asked him to repeat his famous line “Gordon’s alive!” like any other fan. She also knighted actress Julie Walters (Molly Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, creating her Dame Julie).

Although she was well aware of the respect and dignity due her position, those who were fortunate enough to know her said she had a good sense of humor. Evidence of this abounds. She permitted the BBC to use her image in Dr. Who, when she or a reasonable facsimile ran out of Buckingham Palace waving at the TARDIS, and yelling “Thank you, Doctor”. She also (by way of a royal stand-in) parachuted out of a helicopter with James Bond for the opening of the Olympics. Even just last year, she celebrated her Jubilee with Paddington Bear.

paddington bear pours tea for Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth is survived by four children, eight grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband of 73 years, HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

Her Majesty celebrated her Platinum Jubilee to mark seventy years on the throne this year. She was the longest reigning monarch in British history, and the second longest reigning monarch in world history, after Louis XIV of France. She was a veteran of World War II, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army.

She has been succeeded by her firstborn son, who is now King Charles III. La reine c’est mort, vive le roi. King Charlies, at 73, is the oldest ever to ascend to the throne.

Elizabeth II was born only eight years after female suffrage was granted in the U. K., but she lived to see three women become prime minister: Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, and Liz Truss. When she was born the sun never set on the British Empire, but during her reign many former colonies became independent nations.

Flags are lowered to half-staff all around the world.


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