The late monarch assumed the role at age 25 in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. Elizabeth went on to become the longest-reigning and longest-lived monarch in British history and was the longest-serving female head of state in the world.
Charles, who was first in the line of succession before his mother’s passing, was the longest-waiting heir apparent in U.K. history and is also the oldest British monarch to ever take the throne. In 2018, Elizabeth spoke out about her eldest son eventually taking over as the next royal leader.
“It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations – and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales will carry on the important work started by my father in 1949,” she said at a government meeting at the time. “By continuing to treasure and reinvigorate our associations and activities, I believe we will secure a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world for those who follow us, a world where the Commonwealth’s generosity of spirit can bring its gentle touch of healing and hope to all.”
Charles, for his part, added: “The modern Commonwealth has a vital role to play in building bridges between our countries, fairer societies within them and a more secure world around them.”
The queen later made headlines in February 2022 when she announced her wish for Charles’ wife, then known as Duchess Camilla, to be given the title of Queen Consort. “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me,” her statement read at the time. “And it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
Later that year, Buckingham Palace announced that Her Majesty’s doctors put her under “medical supervision”. Prince William, Charles, Camilla and Prince Harry all traveled to Balmoral, Scotland, as news broke of her declining health.
Elizabeth passed away on September 8, 2022, surrounded by her loved ones. “The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” Charles said in a statement that day. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
His message continued: “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Scroll down for a guide to a typical day in the life of Queen Elizabeth before her passing: