Students, faculty remember Queen Elizabeth II

After becoming the longest ruling British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II passed, sending shock waves through generations of people. The Queen died as a result of declining health from old age.

Due to her old age and declining health, Queen Elizabeth II passed away in Scotland at Balmoral Castle on September 8, causing people to reflect on her 70-year reign.

Social studies teacher Nicole Harner viewed the Queen as an influential figure.

“She lived such a long life that she had so many opportunities to do things and she always did them with grace,” Harner said.

The Queen ascended the throne when she was 25 after her father died at an early age. However, the Queen was in direct succession for the throne at the age of 10.

“Imagine finding out at 10 that you could be running an empire that encompasses a quarter of the globe,” social studies teacher Thomas Moll said.

Moll has always been interested in his story and found it fascinating to watch the Queen surpass former monarchs that held records for the length of their reign.

The Queen lived through many historical events and for a long time, she was the only monarch that many people knew.

“I think I read a statistic where 80% of the people who are living in the United Kingdom have never known another monarch because she’s been on the throne so long,” Moll said.

Junior Sam Kennedy lived in the United Kingdom and has only ever known the Queen to be the reigning monarch.

“Ever since I was born, she’s been the Queen, and it’s weird to think that there were 70 years of the Queen before I was born,” Kennedy said. “It’s a weird thought.”

According to St. Andrews student Lydia Vizza, the Queen provided continuity as a figurehead of “what it means to be British.”

Throughout her reign, the Queen made many social and cultural changes in the United Kingdom.

Harner said one of the most notable changes was to succession, which now allows any firstborn to take the throne, regardless of gender. The Queen also served as the head of the Commonwealth, primarily composed of former British territories.

“She sort of tried to rebrand the Commonwealth,” Kennedy said. “It’s less of ‘we are your rulers and you’re our subjects’, and more like we’re all in this together.”

Following the Queen’s death, Charles III was proclaimed king. He has become the oldest monarch to ascend the throne.

“He’s spent more time waiting for that job than he will be able to act upon it,” Moll said.

Kennedy thinks that people’s perception of the monarchy might become worse since King Charles has more controversy surrounding him.

“Even if you didn’t like the royal family, most people liked the Queen,” Kennedy said.

This transition from queen to king will mark a new era for the United Kingdom.

“She has definitely left a legacy and I’m interested to see how King Charles responds to that legacy and what his reign is going to look like,” Vizza said.

So far, there have been some immediate changes, such as the national anthem. There will also be changes to stamps, coins and banknotes in the near future