Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, was the sovereign monarch of the United Kingdom and 14 other commonwealth countries, including Northern Ireland. She was the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the second longest-reigning monarch in the history of the world, behind French King Louis XIV. She died at age 96 on September 8, 2022. She was married to Philip Mountbatten from 1947 until his death in April 2021. The marriage of 73 years produced four children, including Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Anne, Princess Royal. As a young woman, Elizabeth served in the British Auxiliary Territorial Service.

She was seen as a British icon and was widely popular despite high-profile scandals that have plagued the Windsors over the last few decades. Queen Elizabeth was the eldest child of King George VI, who became monarch in 1936 after his brother King Edward VIII abdicated the Throne.

During the final years of King George VI's life, he became seriously ill with smoking-related diseases. Elizabeth overtook many of his royal duties, along with her husband, including a visit to the United States. The king died in December 1952 due to coronary thrombosis. Elizabeth was officially coronated on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey at the age of 25.

Her reign as a constitutional monarch has overseen many political reforms and developments in the United Kingdom, such as the end of British imperialism and control over Africa, uprisings in Northern Ireland, the Cold war, and the U.K.'s withdrawal from the European Union. She visited and hosted many heads of state and religious leaders from all over the world, including five popes. She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Outside of traditional ceremonial duties, Queen Elizabeth was known to take an active interest in the affairs of the British government and meet regularly with the country's prime minister.