by Vrittee Sobti ’25
Published Nov. 25th, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. Ascending to the throne in 1952, the late Queen had the longest reign in British history, and the second longest in the world, lasting 70 years.
Born Princess Elizabeth of York, she took the crown at the age of 25 and quickly became one of the world’s most recognizable leaders. Not only was she the Queen of the United Kingdom, but also the monarch of 14 other realms and head of the 54-nation Commonwealth.
Her death was followed by a ten day mourning period in the UK, which ultimately led up to her funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19th. She was buried at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, alongside her parents, sister, and husband.
In the afternoon of September 8th, royal family members flocked to Balmoral Castle as Buckingham Palace announced that doctors were “concerned for [the Queen’s] health.” Not long after, it was reported that the Queen had died peacefully. The flag at the palace was lowered to half-mast, and muffled church bells across the nation tolled in her honor.
In his recent address to the nation, her eldest son, now King Charles III, said, “Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived, a promise with destiny kept, and she is mourned most deeply in her passing.”
Liz Truss, UK’s prime minister, also responded to her death, saying, “Queen Elizabeth II provided [the UK] with the stability and the strength that we needed.”
However, while many have praised and honored her death, her legacy still remains complicated. Many people view the Queen as the face of an empire that subjected millions of people in Asia, Africa, and the Americas to years of exploitation and brutality. They took to social media to point out the wrongs in praising someone who has put so many minorities to harm.
In particular, Carnegie Mellon professor Uju Anya posted a viral tweet saying, “I heard the chief monarch of a thieving, raping, genocidal empire is finally dying,” and that she wished for her pain to be “excruciating.”
Ultimately, though the death of the Queen has spurred many arguments, there can nevertheless be no doubt that her legacy, both positive and negative, will echo in the world for years to come.