As we mark what would have been the late Queen Elizabeth II’s 97th birthday, we’re looking back on the photos that defined her Majesty’s colourful life, from her 70-year reign to spending downtime with her beloved corgis.
But perhaps the most poignant is the last photo ever taken of the Queen, who passed away surrounded by her family September 8, 2022.
Just a mere 48 hours before her death Britain’s longest-reigning monarch performed what would become her last duty as the Queen.
Two days prior to her passing, the Queen had officially sworn in the 56th British Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral castle.
Traditionally Prime Ministers are sworn in at Buckingham Palace, but in this case Liz travelled to the 96-year-old sovereign’s beloved Balmoral retreat in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
While the image of the Queen shaking hands with Liz, who curtsied as per tradition, isn’t a departure for the head of a monarchy, it’s a moving testament to the Queen’s dedication to the United Kingdom.
The photos show the Queen steadfastly performing her duties, despite appearing frail and in considerable pain.
Donning a grey plaid skirt, blouse and matching cardigan as she shook hands with the nation’s new leader, the Queen kept her composure, warmth and tireless work ethic right up to the end of her reign.
Before her Majesty’s meeting with Liz Truss, of the last times we saw the Queen performing royal duties was during her monumental Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June 2022.
Britain’s longest reigning monarch surpassed presidents, prime ministers, Hollywood icons, and public figures to become the 20th and 21st centuries’ most influential leader in the Western world.
Over her 70 year reign, Queen Elizabeth visited 110 countries including Australia on numerous occasions. In 1970 she made history by walking through the crowds at Sydney’s Town Hall during her royal tour of Australia and New Zealand, breaking the over hundred-year tradition of royals waving from a distance.
The Queen lived enough life to last the end of time, and her enduring spirit in the Commonwealth will never wane as the years since her reign pass.