FOCUS: The late Queen Elizabeth II
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch of the UK, died on Thursday, aged 96. Her son King Charles will now be the next King of Britain and will be known as King Charles III, it was announced.
News that the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday when her doctors said she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to be by her side. The queen had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace had called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements.
Her last public duty came only on Tuesday, when she appointed Liz Truss prime minister – the 15th of her reign.
Queen Elizabeth II will become the first British monarch to have their funeral at Westminster Abbey since 1760. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for about four days before her funeral. Latest reports suggest that the state funeral will take place on Monday, September 19.
Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, came tothe throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.
She was crowned in June the following year. The first televised coronation was a foretaste of a new world in which the lives of the royals were to become increasingly scrutinized by the media.
Elizabeth was the 40th monarch in a royal line that followed Norman King William the Conqueror, who claimed the English throne in 1066 after defeating Anglo-Saxon ruler Harold II at the Battle of Hastings.
Her long reign meant she repeatedly broke records for British rulers. When she surpassed the more than 63 years her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria spent on the throne, she said it was not a landmark to which she had ever aspired. To add on, her marriage to Prince Philip lasted 73 years, until his death in April 2021, and they had four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.
At her death the queen was head of state of not only the United Kingdom but also of Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Manchester City’s Premier League and WSL fixtures against Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal on Saturday and Sunday have been postponed out of respect for Queen Elizabeth II.
With Queen’s death, decades of symbols in Queen Elizabeth II’s honor will likely see a shift. Now with King Charles III taking over the throne, the British currency will see major changes. It can be assumed that any newly minted coins with King Charles III will have a photo of him on the left side of the notes and coins. That’s because Queen Elizabeth was always depicted facing toward the right, so Charles will face left. The changing direction is a tradition that has lasted for more than 300 years, according to the Royal Mint Museum, where each king or queen faces in the opposite direction as their predecessor.
To note another change of the national anthem, ‘God saves the Queen’ national anthem could now get changed. The national anthem has been the song of the land in Britain for 70 years. The national anthem was around long before Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952.
King Charles III could also get a new personal flag, which the queen did in 1960.
During Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign she visited more than 20 African countries, and once jokingly remarked in front of a smiling Nelson Mandela that she had been to more of Africa than “almost anybody”, prompting rapturous laughter from those around her.
Queen Elizabeth II steered the evolution of the Commonwealth into a forum for effective multilateral engagement whose potential to drive tremendous socioeconomic progress for Africa remains incontestable and redounds to the Queen’s historic legacy.
The Queen managed to maintain warm relations with them, partly through the creation of the successor organization to the empire, the Commonwealth. In 1961, she was pictured dancing with Kwame Nkrumah, who led the campaign for Ghana’s independence and became its first president.
Although relations between Zimbabwe and the UK have been frosty for many years, prompting the late President Robert Mugabe to withdraw from the Commonwealth, his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa was quick to tweet that his “deepest condolences” were with the Royal Family and “the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth”.
Despite the outpouring of condolences from the continent’s leaders, some other Africans have spoken of their suffering under British rule, pointing out that much of the colonization was done in the name of the royal family.
At her death on September 9 2022, the organization comprised 54 member nations, representing about a third of the world’s population. Nineteen member states represent Africa. Only Mozambique and Rwanda were not originally part of the British empire.
Moreso, historically the Queen’s family was also at the center of the colonial project in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) after Queen Victoria gave the nod to Cecil John Rhodes, the country was named after Rhodes as Rhodesia. Queen Elizabeth also visited Rhode’s grave in 1947 with her mother in Matobo, Matebeleland.
In Zimbabwe, along the street corner Julius Nyerere Way and Robert Mugabe Road, Harare, there is a hotel called Elizabeth Hotel and it was named after British’s Queen Elizabeth. Amid the glorious days of the queen’s visit to Zimbabwe, the late former president Robert Mugabe, a dedicated Anglophile, enjoyed cordial relations with the monarch.
Mugabe was awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in England in 1994. But the relationship between the two turned sour, Mugabe was stripped of his knighthood in June 2008 over human rights abuses. As relations with Britain deteriorated, Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth in 2002 over human rights abuses and concerns about a lack of democracy after Mugabe’s re-election in 2002. In a rage in 2003 Mugabe withdrew Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.
After coming to power in November 2017, President Emmerson Mnangagwa tried to mend the ties with Britain. In May 2018, he wrote to the Commonwealth expressing Zimbabwe’s willingness to return to the organization but his efforts proved fruitless.
Mnangagwa, who is still trying to mend ties with Britain, sent a message of condolence to the people of the UK and the royal family upon the queen’s death.
“My deepest condolences to the royal family, the people of the UK, and Commonwealth as they mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace.”
The late former, Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda also made his first official state visit to Britain on March 22 1983, and was welcomed by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
There are so many reasons why we all love Queen Elizabeth, but the other biggest is her huge heart for dogs.
For over eight decades, from 1933 to 2018, Queen Elizabeth II has owned at least one corgi – a dog breed that has become as synonymous with Her Majesty as Buckingham Palace. In 2018, Whisper, the last of the Queen’s corgis, died, ending what we thought was an 85-year love affair.
She is the ultimate dog man, she had 30 dogs in her life time and made sure to give them a life of royalty.
We all Will Miss Her.
May Her Soul Rest in Peace!