Here is the story behind the longest-reigning British monarch.
- Queen Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, in 1926. Following the death of King George the Sixth in 1952, Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne as the first female monarch in more than a century. Her eldest son, Prince Charles, was the first ever child to witness his mother's coronation as Queen.
During her seven-decade reign, Queen Elizabeth oversaw the end stages of Britain's transition from an empire to a commonwealth. Her role was marked by triumphs, military victories, easing of tensions at the height of the Cold War, and modernizing the monarchy, as well as tragedies, including a prolonged and deadly conflict in Northern Ireland, the assassination of her cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten, and the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, whose death in August 1997 would shock the world.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief Diana's loss and gratitude for her all too short life.
- As a constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth rarely discussed politics publicly but was often a voice of hope to the Commonwealth nations. A royal funeral is expected to take place in the coming weeks and will draw heads of state from around the world.