Words: Matt Innes
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been laid to rest with her parents, sister and husband in the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth passed away at Balmoral Castle on 8 September, aged 96. Her death sparked an international outpouring of grief and emotion for the woman lovingly referred to as the ‘grandmother of a nation’.
The Queen’s coffin was transported from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall during a lavish public procession attended by the Royal family and tens of thousands of mourners from all over the world.
She lay in state at Westminster Hall for four days to allow the public to offer their respects before being buried during a graveside service at St George’s Chapel on Monday.
Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. During her extensive reign of 70 years and 214 days, Queen Elizabeth oversaw the growth of the Commonwealth from a fledgling assembly of seven realms into a global community of 15 realms.
She also served throughout some of the world’s most tumultuous political events during the 20th and 21st centuries, including the Cold War, fall of the Berlin Wall, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the Falklands conflict, decolonization in Africa, the Gulf Wars, the September 11 attacks and the London Riots.
Born in 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the first-born child of the then Duke and Duchess of York, followed by her sister and only sibling Princess Margaret in 1930. In a life destined to never be ordinary nor easy, Elizabeth experienced war, the diminishing of the once-great British Empire, family turmoil and endless public scrutiny.
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She also held a deep affection for Australia, visiting multiple times during her reign and always warmly welcomed by adoring crowds. For many Australians, Queen Elizabeth II is the only British monarch to rule in their lifetime.
For many Indigenous Australians however, the Queen’s death was marked not by grief but relief, as she was the figurehead representing an institution responsible for generations of dispossession, enslavement and trauma.
These are not grievances that would be easily overshadowed or forgiven in light of the Queen’s passing. As a realm of the Commonwealth, this is the cultural divide the nation must navigate as we seek to reconcile the sins of our colonial past.
Naturally, Queen Elizabeth II leaves behind a glorious legacy befitting of one dedicated to her country and its people.