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God Save The Queen: Why And How Elizabeth Became Queen Of The United Kingdom

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

After King George V’s death, his elder son Prince Edward became King of the United Kingdom. But a prohibited love story changed everything. Edward VIII fell in love with Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American woman, and her status was something unacceptable for a potential queen. Because of that, he had to choose the crown or the marriage- and we all know he chose the latter. So in December of 1936, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne, giving up his royal titles and excluding himself and any children he might have from the line of succession. With that, Prince Albert, his brother, became King of the United Kingdom, and his daughter Elizabeth, the first in line for succession.

King George VI, the name Albert chose, ruled for 16 years. During his reign, he went through turbulent times, like the Second World War. He also was the one to create the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of independent states who used to be a part of the British Empire. The stress of the war, mixed with his smoking habit, gave the king several health issues, such as arteriosclerosis and Buerger disease.

As the King’s health deteriorated, Elizabeth would frequently take on some of her father’s responsibilities, including a tour of Australia and New Zealand, where she and Phillip (her husband) replaced the King and Queen. But it wasn’t until February 1952 that Princess Elizabeth would find out her father died from complications of his lung cancer, making her the new Queen of the United Kingdom.

Her coronation took place at Westminster Abbey, on June 2nd, 1953, and it was the first and only one to be exhibited on live television by the BBC. Between the transmission and the people who went to Buckingham Palace, it was almost 30 million watching.

The ceremony took 14 months of preparation. To highlight the international aspect of this event, many leaders from other Commonwealth countries were invited to be part of this day. However, many did not accept the invitation, considering it to be a religious ritual unique to England. Between the guests were Queen Sālote of Tonga, General George Marshall and his wife, the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, and others.

“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” – these were some of the Queen’s words during her coronation speech. And she lived by those words during all the 70 years she was in charge of the UK.

During her time as queen, Elizabeth II made many changes. Trying to make the British royalty more modern, she opened her residence for the Beatles, in 1965.

In 1968, the Queen came to Brazil, where she stayed for 11 days. She visited six cities in the country, went to a soccer game, met Pelé, went to a samba show, and was a part of the inauguration of MASP, São Paulo’s Museum of Art.

In 1970, while on a royal tour in Australia and New Zealand, Elizabeth surprised everyone by greeting people in person rather than waving from a distance. This way, she allowed the public to have a closer connection with her and the rest of her family. In 1985, she became the first British monarch to visit China.

By being the longest sovereign Britain has ever seen, the Queen ruled through the Cold War, Vietnam War, multiple pandemics. She met 15 prime ministers and six popes. But, after years of success and thriving, she lost her husband Phillip, who died at 99 years old, in 2021.

Sadly, on September 8, 2022, the world lost Queen Elizabeth II. At the age of 96, she left behind a legacy of four kids, many grandkids, and the new King, Charles III.


The article above was edited by Júlia Pupo.

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Maria Esther Cortez

Casper Libero '25

Journalism student. Passionate about culture, movies, art and music. I love to travel and explore different parts of the world.