She saw a thorough transformation of society and technology during her reign of more than seven decades, a time in which she warned about the dangers of throwing away ageless ideals while embracing the advantages of new inventions. She sent out her first tweet in 2014.
There are few royal records she did not break: she was Britain’s most traveled, oldest, longest-reigning monarch.
“As head of the Commonwealth, the queen has links with the past. Sometimes it’s a past that’s difficult to come to terms with because you think of empire, you think of colonial exploitation for example,” royal author and broadcaster Richard Fitzwilliams told VOA. “But so far as the queen is concerned, you think of her dedication to the organization.”
As head of state, Queen Elizabeth II represented Britain in friendships with those who held in common the British values of freedom, equality, and democracy — and with dignity, she faced those who did not. She traveled to more than 100 countries and met countless prime ministers, presidents, kings, and queens — hosting many of them in lavish state visits to London.
Among the dozens of world leaders to visit Buckingham Palace during her reign were Ethiopian Emperor Haile Salassie; French President Charles de Gaulle; Emperor Hirohito of Japan; President Nelson Mandela of South Africa; President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; Russian President Vladimir Putin; US Presidents George Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump; and Xi Jinping of China.
The queen was not immune to criticism in her own country. Some targeted her as a symbol of an institution out of step with a postmodern, neo-liberal, and democratic world – and a burden on the British taxpayer.
The death of the popular Princess Diana in 1997 was an opportunity for critics who accused her of being coldly slow to react. When she did address the nation, it was heartfelt. “What I say to you now, as your queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart. First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being,” Elizabeth said.