Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II dies at age of 96
By Francesca Merlo & Sophie Peeters
Née Elizabeth Alexandra Mary on 21 April 1926, and made queen in 1952 after the death of her father King George, Queen Elizabeth was the world’s longest reigning monarch–having served as Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as of 14 other commonwealth realms.
The Queen died on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle, her residence in Scotland in Aberdeenshire.
New King's tributes
Britain's new king, King Charles III, released a statement on Thursday after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.
"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” the new king said.
"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
British Prime Minister Liz Truss also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth following the monarch's death.
°We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral," she said. "The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world.”
“Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” the newly-appointed Prime Minister said. “Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength we needed.”
“It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy,” Ms. Truss concluded.
The Queen and the Popes
In her over 70 years of reign, besides meeting 15 British Prime Ministers, from Winston Churchill to, most recently, Liz Truss, who went to Balmoral Castle to meet with the Queen as she was already in poor health, the Queen personally met 4 popes—of the 5 pontificates in her lifetime.
The monarch first visited the Vatican in 1951 as Princess Elizabeth. The Pope at the time was Pius XII. Queen Elizabeth's first visit as Queen took place on 5 May 1961. She and Prince Philip were received in audience by Pope John XXIII.
In 1980, Queen Elizabeth made a state visit to the Vatican and was received in audience by Pope John Paul II. Just two years later, the Polish Pope made a pastoral visit to Great Britain.
With the dawn of the new millennium, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited the Vatican once again, in October 2000.
In September 2010, Pope Benedict XVI visited Great Britain on an Apostolic Journey on the occasion of the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman and met the Queen in Edinburgh.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in May 2021, met with Pope Francis in the Vatican in 2014.
The meeting marked the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See.
70 years of reign
Marking the Queen’s platinum jubilee, Pope Francis sent a message to the Queen on 2 June 2022:
“On this joyful occasion of your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes, together with the renewed assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will bestow upon you, the members of the Royal Family and all the people of the nation blessings of unity, prosperity and peace.”
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