Upon her passing, Queen Elizabeth II reigned over the United Kingdom for just over 70 years, making her the longest-serving head of state in history.
She enjoyed a long and healthy life, reaching the age of 96. She was married to Prince Philip for 73 of those years.
As she entered her 70s, she experienced a few minor health issues, including the flu in 1993 and a broken wrist after a horse-riding accident in 1994.
Queen Elizabeth II continued official obligations till the end despite their worsening health.
After knee surgery in 2004, she needed a cane for a few days, and in 2013, she was hospitalised overnight due to gastroenteritis.
However, as she became older, she insisted on continuing to perform her monarch’s duties herself, even if her health prevented her from doing so.
She made it plain that she planned to remain in her position till the end of her life by frequently attending public events and meeting with political leaders both abroad and at home.
She also continued to exercise considerable influence over the royal household’s affairs. It was she who ensured that Charles’s wife Camilla would be given the title of Queen Consort, relieved her son Prince Andrew of his royal duties following allegations of child sexual abuse, and skillfully navigated the controversy following a public falling out with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The death of Prince Philip in April of last year was the first time that she had to deal with health problems that made it difficult for her to do her official duties.
Having “sporadic mobility problems”
After the late year 2021, the Queen began experiencing what Buckingham Palace dubbed “episodic mobility difficulties,” and on October 12 of that year, she was spotted using a walking stick during a visit to Westminster Abbey.
Later that month, after doctors advised her to rest for a few days, she canceled her trip to Northern Ireland.
Nonetheless, that same month, she turned down the “Aides to the Queen’s private office told The Oldie magazine, “Her Majesty believes you are as old as you feel,” earning the publication the “Oldie of the Year” title. Therefore, Her Majesty does not feel she has the necessary qualifications to accept and asks that you look elsewhere for a deserving recipient.”
But as her symptoms deteriorated, she checked into the hospital for the first time since 2013 to get checked out.
She wasn’t able to attend the COP26 meeting on November 1 because her physicians ordered her to rest and perform just light desk work. Due to a back injury, she had to miss a number of November events, including the London service commemorating World War I’s end on Remembrance Sunday. In her absence, Prince Charles lay a wreath.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Queen stayed in hiding for the remainder of 2021, missing a pre-Christmas meal with her extended family and celebrating Christmas at Windsor Castle instead of her normal choice of Sandringham House in Norfolk.
It was in February 2022 that she personally celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. Later that month, she informed the royal family that she was experiencing mobility issues.
The Queen could not remain immune to COVID indefinitely, no matter how much she tried to prevent it. Although Elizabeth only experienced slight symptoms after the positive test result on February 20, Buckingham Palace maintained its earlier assurances that the queen was working in solitude.
Reduced responsibilities after COVID
Following her COVID illness, the Queen was confined to a bed and could not attend official events like the Commonwealth Day celebrations or the inauguration of the UK parliament.
Elizabeth did, however, make it to the London opening of the Tube line named after her.
According to reports, palace officials devised a convoluted plan to get her into Westminster Abbey without her being photographed while using a wheelchair (as had happened to her sister, Princess Margaret, in the months leading up to her death) during Prince Philip’s official memorial service in March.
Health has deteriorated during the past week
The Queen, who had previously attended the Highland Games nearly every year, was said to be skipping the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering last weekend.
It was in Scotland on Tuesday that she met Britain’s new Prime Minister Liz Truss, breaking with precedent by not going back to London to formally ask her to form a government.
Due to medical advice, she put off attending a Privy Council meeting until the day before she passed away.
Her death was confirmed by Buckingham Palace on Thursday, UK time, noting that the Queen had passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle earlier that day.