May 04, 2018
Mar 11, 1997
Dec 31, 1996
Oct 26, 1965
Jun 11, 1965
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Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her life and served as monarch of 15 of them at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.
Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children: Charles III; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became queen of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), as well as Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms varied over time as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include state visits to China in 1986, Russia in 1994, and the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and visits with five Popes.
Significant events include Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum Jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively. Elizabeth was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, and the second-longest reigning sovereign in world history, only behind Louis XIV of France. She faced occasional republican sentiment and media criticism of her family, particularly after the breakdowns of her children’s marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992, and the death of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom remained consistently high, as did her personal popularity. Elizabeth died aged 96 at Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, and was succeeded by her eldest son, Charles III.
In September 2002, reacting to Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Paul McCartney remembered the various occasions he had met with the Queen. From paulmccartney.com, September 8, 2022:
On the sad occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, my memories came flooding back and I would like to share these with you.
I feel privileged to have been alive during the whole of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. When I was 10 years old I entered an essay competition in Liverpool and won my division for my essay about the British Monarchy so I have been a fan for a long time. In 1953 when the Queen was crowned everyone on our street in Speke, Liverpool finally got a television set and we settled down to watch the Coronation in glorious black and white.
Looking back I am honoured and amazed to see that I met Her Majesty eight or nine times and each time she impressed me with her great sense of humour combined with great dignity. These times were:
Firstly, when The Beatles got the MBE on 26th October 1965. I remember us being taken aside and shown what the correct protocol was. We were told how to approach Her Majesty and not to talk to her unless she talks to us. For four Liverpool lads, it was, “Wow, hey man.”
The next time we met was some years later at the Royal Albert Hall on 13th December 1982. It was at an event Linda and I attended called “An Evening for Conservation“. Part of the evening included some orchestral re-workings of some Beatles songs and I remember chatting with Her Majesty about them. She also re-introduced me to Prince Philip who said he remembered our previous meeting in the sixties!
Our third meeting would come in the next decade. In June 1996 The Queen graciously agreed to open the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts on the site of my old school that George Harrison and myself attended. She also had previously given a donation which the school was very honoured to receive.
Just one year later and our next encounter was a very proud day for me. It was one of the best days ever. I felt very honoured to be offered a Knighthood and of course it would have been rude to turn it down! I remember it was in the springtime and the skies were blue. It was a wonderful day and I remember thinking I’d come a long way from a little terrace house in Liverpool!
It was a new millennium the next time we were together again and what an occasion it was! Celebrating her Golden Jubilee, we got to rock out in her garden. As Her Majesty was on stage receiving applause at the end of the show I joked, ‘Well I suppose this will be happening next year then?’ to which she replied, ‘Not in my garden it won’t!’
We were to see each other again shortly afterwards, but this time on my home turf! I was very honoured to be given a painting exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, which John and I had visited on many occasions as students. It was my extreme privilege to be able to show Her Majesty around the gallery.
A decade on and Nancy and I attended a special event titled “Celebration of the Arts” at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and it was a thrill as ever to talk with Her Majesty.
On June 4th 2012, The Queen would celebrate her Diamond Jubilee and it was so special in many ways. This was the first time I performed in front of her since her last Jubilee, and seeing all the people stretching down Pall Mall was great, as was meeting other members of the Royal Family afterwards. It was a great weekend to be British.
Our last meeting came in 2018. Because of my respect and love for the Queen and her fabulous sense of humour when I was given the Companion of Honour medal I shook her hand, leaned in and said, ‘We have got to stop meeting like this,’ to which she giggled slightly and got on with the ceremony. I did wonder if I was a bit too cheeky after saying this, after all this was The Queen, but I have a feeling she didn’t mind.
God bless you. You will be missed.Paul McCartney
70 beautiful years of Queen Elizabeth the second. Congrats ma’ am! And thanksPaul McCartney – From Paul McCartney on Facebook, June 2, 2022
Last updated on September 25, 2022