The end of an era: Queen Elizabeth II passes away aged 96 after impressive 70-year reign

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The British sovereign has died, peacefully surrounded by her loved ones.

Buckingham Palace has announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at her favorite residence, Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her close family by her side.

The last time the British sovereign was seen carrying out a public duty was at the appointing of the new British prime minister, Liz Truss, on September 6. During the meeting, where Truss was invited to form a new government by Queen Elizabeth II, as is tradition in British politics, the 96-year-old sovereign seemed a much-diminished monarch, despite her cheery smile.

Considering her great age, the news of her passing has still sent shockwaves throughout the world. During her record-breaking reign, Elizabeth II was a symbol of stability and strength, a public figure who remained consistent and dignified in changing and oft-demanding times.

With decades of experience, which saw her meet with hundreds of world political and religious leaders during many challenging periods, she quietly advised from behind palace walls — no doubt her beloved corgis by her side. Never without her lipstick, a handbag, and a colorful outfit, she was a mainstay who had the burdensome task of never putting a foot wrong.

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A figure of great diplomacy, a devout Christian, and a family woman, Elizabeth stayed true to her coronation oath, which concluded with “the things I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.” And even when she lost her “rock,” her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen soldiered on, and continued her duties when most would have just given up.

As Britain, the Commonwealth, and the rest of the world prepare for a new era, with King Charles III (although his regal name is still to be confirmed) heading the British monarchy, a grateful nation will enter into 12 days of mourning, which will see a majestic sending off of Queen Elizabeth II, who will eventually be laid to rest beside her beloved husband at Windsor Castle.

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And as we pray for the soul of Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, it is interesting to reflect on the words she said in 1952 when she addressed the British public in her first Christmas broadcastThe then-princess asked her future subjects to “pray for me … that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”

It seems her prayers were answered, as she carried out her duties until the day she died. And now we can unite in prayer once more: Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

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