Why Elizabeth II was never supposed to be the Queen
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Queen Elizabeth II became one of the longest-serving female head of states ever, marking her history-making Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, just months before her death today (8 September).
But Britain's longest-reigning monarch wasn't originally destined for the crown.
When she was born, Elizabeth was the third in the line of succession to the British throne behind her uncle and father. That being said, it was widely believed she would never become Queen.
But that all changed when her grandfather, King George V, passed away in 1936, which automatically made her uncle, Edward, the King.
It wasn't that simple though and soon enough, Edward chose love over the crown, abdicating the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
With Edward VII walking away from the crown, 10-year-old Elizabeth's life changed forever.
Not only was her father now King and she the Heir Presumptive, but Europe was hurtling towards another world war, making it a tough number of years for the new King to navigate.
The King and Queen's response was largely regarded as successful, with King George VI having become the first British monarch to visit America. But all the strain came at a price.
The King's health took a turn for the worst and in 1952, aged 56, he died suddenly in his sleep.
Aged just 26, this saw Princess Elizabeth become Queen.
In her infamous proclamation at the time, Queen Elizabeth II said: "By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty.
"My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over."
Over 70 years on, Queen Elizabeth became a figure of stability for generations, as well as making history as Britain's longest-reigning monarch.
The Queen died 'peacefully' aged 96 at her Balmoral residence this afternoon, the royal family confirmed, following news that doctors were 'concerned' over her health and were recommending that she stay under medical supervision.
"The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow," the statement continued.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
Despite having taken a step back from several public duties in recent years, Queen Elizabeth II continued her service well into her old age, regularly touring and visiting parts of the UK and Northern Ireland, as well as other parts of the Commonwealth, where she was head of state.
Following the news of her death, Charles has now become King Charles III, with William and Kate assuming new titles of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.