Queen Elizabeth II Dies At Age 96: Looking At The Legacy Of Longest-Reigning British Monarch, Her Wealth, Family And Succession

Zinger Key Points
  • In 2015, Elizabeth passed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch (Victoria was 62 years, 7 months) in British history.
  • The death of Elizabeth ascends Charles to the role of king of England at the age of 73 years.

Queen Elizabeth II, who served as the head of the British monarchy and royal family for 70 years, died peacefully Thursday at Balmoral in Scotland. She was 96.

The Queen was respected by the citizens of the U.K. and the 14 British Commonwealths and leaves a defining legacy that captured the spotlight for decades.

The Queen And Her Family: Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born April 21, 1926, in London, England. She was the oldest daughter of Prince Albert and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Duke and Duchess of York. Her sister, Princess Margaret, was born in 1930.

Elizabeth became the heir presumptive to the British throne when her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated, making her father King George VI in 1936. 

Elizabeth married Prince Philip on Nov. 20, 1947, who was given the title Duke of Edinburgh by King George VI the night before the wedding.

Prince Charles was born Nov. 14, 1948, the first child of Elizabeth and Philip. Charles holds the title of Prince of Wales and is next in line to the throne. Elizabeth and Philip gave birth to Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964.

In addition to her children, the Queen had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren at the time of her death.
Philip died in April 2021 at the age of 99, preceding the queen in death. Philip and Elizabeth were married for 73 years. 

Becoming Queen: While touring several countries with Philip in 1952, Elizabeth (then a princess) was informed of the death of her father. Elizabeth flew back to England to become the reigning queen of the country at the age of 25.

Elizabeth performed the opening of Parliament on Nov. 4, 1952, one of her first royal duties, a move that came nine months after her father died and her role officially began on Feb. 6, 1952.

The coronation of Elizabeth was held on June 2, 1953.

In 2015, Elizabeth passed Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch (Victoria was 62 years, 7 months) in British history. Only King Louis XIV, who reigned France for 72 years, 110 days (1643-1715), had served as a reigning monarch longer than Elizabeth.

Elizabeth is one of the most traveled monarchs in history. During her reign, Elizabeth visited more than 110 countries, including the U.K.’s Commonwealth nations where she was the head of state.

Elizabeth also dealt with the public struggles of the royal family, including the separation of Charles and his wife Princess Diana and Andrew and his wife Sarah Ferguson in 1992. Both marriages ended in divorce.

When Charles and Diana divorced in 1996, it was a move that lowered public support for the royal family. The queen’s initial handling of Diana’s death in 1997 — delaying a return to London from a stay at Balmoral and not putting the flag at half mast for Diana’s death — led to a drop in public support. It was revealed later that the queen had kept Diana's sons, who were with her at Balmoral at that time, there to care for them. 

A Golden Jubilee was held in 2002 to celebrate the 50th year of Elizabeth on the throne. Support for the queen and the royal family increased after many public events and celebrations honoring her.

Royal weddings of grandchildren Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011 and Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in 2018 also helped bring positive support for the royal family, though Harry and Markle gave up their royal roles in March 2020.

A series called “The Crown,” produced by Sony Group Corp SONY and distributed on Netflix Inc NFLX, provided a look at Elizabeth's life over the years before the throne and during her time as queen. The series debuted in 2016 and a fifth season is set for release in November 2022.

Queen Elizabeth’s Wealth: The British royal family is secretive on the nature of their assets and wealth.

Elizabeth has $500 million in assets, according to an analysis by Forbes in 2021. The Crown Estate made an estimated $700 million in revenue and $475 million in profits for the year ending March 2020.

The Royal Family received a cut of 25% on Crown Estate income, with the remaining 75% going to the British Treasury.

Order Of Succession: The death of Elizabeth ascends Charles to the role of king of England at the age of 73 years.

William, the oldest child of Charles and the late Diana, becomes the heir apparent to the role of king following the queen’s death.

The new order of succession after Prince Charles is: 

William, Duke of Cambridge, oldest child of Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Spencer).

Prince George of Cambridge, oldest child of William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton).

Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, second oldest child of  William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Prince Louis of Cambridge, third oldest child of William and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Harry, Duke of Sussex, second oldest child of Charles and the Princess of Wales.

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, oldest child of Harry and Markle.

Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, second oldest child of Harry and Markle.

Andrew, second oldest child of Elizabeth and Philip. 

Princess Beatrice, oldest child of Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York (Sarah Ferguson).

Photo: Top photo: Shaun Jeffers via Shutterstock; Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Coronation portrait, June 1953, London, England, Library and Archives Canada/K-0000047

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