Queen Elizabeth sits in Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth II: A lifetime of devotion and service

The funeral of Britain's longest-ruling monarch concludes a life exemplified by a personal motto of "I serve."

This photograph, taken by Annie Leibovitz in 2007, portrays a serene monarch whose official title was Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her Other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.
Photograph by Annie Leibovitz / Trunk Archive

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died on September 8, setting off a series of well-planned events to mark her passing. The culmination of these events is the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday and her subsequent interment at King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle. The people of the United Kingdom and leaders from around the world will gather in London to pay their respects to the late queen and bid a final farewell.

Queen Elizabeth II sat at her desk, undertaking her first duties as monarch. Just hours before, she had been Elizabeth Windsor; now she was queen of the United Kingdom, head of the Commonwealth of Nations, and sovereign of the Commonwealth realms.

It was 1952, and she was in mourning. But despite her grief, the young queen shouldered her new responsibility with grace—and her signature stiff upper lip. “She was sitting erect, fully accepting her destiny,” her private secretary later recalled. When he asked her which name she would reign under, she said “My own, of course.”

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