In Pictures: A reign for the ages takes its place in the history books
The funeral rites for the Queen are the nation’s formal farewell to the woman who reigned for an unprecedented 70 years.
The Queen carried out her duties up until her death at Balmoral in Scotland, having also juggled a family life relentlessly exposed to the scrutiny of the press and, unlike her predecessors, television.
She reigned from a period when the nation was still recovering from the Second World War and was going through a period of intense social change.
The Empire’s transformation into the Commonwealth had already started but continued under her reign.
Princess Elizabeth learned she had become Queen in Kenya, in a tree-top hotel, when she was informed of the death of her father King George VI at a time when she was raising young children, and she returned to British soil to be greeted by her first prime minister Sir Winston Churchill and opposition leader Clement Attlee.
The advent of the 1960s brought in an era of change, with laws on the death penalty, same-sex relationships and abortion all changed during that decade and an explosion in youth culture in what had been a more genteel nation.
The Queen presented the World Cup to Bobby Moore but also had to deal with heartbreaking incidents such as the tragedy at Aberfan that claimed 144 lives, mainly children.
The 1980s saw the Queen’s children take big steps in their personal lives, with the weddings of Charles and Diana, and Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
Princess Anne had wed Captain Mark Phillips in the 1970s.
All of those marriages would later break down, and the Queen herself would describe the year 1992 as an annus horribilis.
The Queen continued to make overseas tours, including to Russia, which was more monarchy-friendly than the previous Soviet Union.
Her role as head of the Commonwealth also took her on long voyages.
The wedding of grandson William to the then Kate Middleton further secured the royal line, as did the birth of Prince George, who is expected to become king one day.
The Queen addressed the nation during the coronavirus lockdown with a message of We’ll Meet Again – she observed the rules in a bubble and one of her few public duties was to emerge from Windsor Castle to knight Captain Sir Tom Moore, who had kept up the nation’s spirits with his fundraising.
She also continued to follow guidance at the funeral of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, where she sat alone.
As the nation got back to normal, the feelgood factor returned with a Platinum Jubilee which saw the Queen joined on the royal balcony with three people also likely to occupy the throne, Charles, William and George.
The monarch could not attend all those events and went to spend her last summer in Balmoral, her Scottish retreat.
She carried out her last public duty in appointing Liz Truss as Prime Minister, having earlier accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson.
Her death at Balmoral at the age of 96 brought to an end a reign that had started as a young mother of 25, and a period of mourning ensued as her body travelled to Edinburgh and then London, with her journey ending in Windsor, where she will be laid to rest in a chapel alongside Philip, her parents and the ashes of her sister Margaret.
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