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Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch of the United Kingdom and commonwealth countries, has died after a 70-year reign. The Queen was one of the most recognizable heads of state in the world during her record-breaking reign. Her 70-year reign makes her the longest-serving Queen in world history, the longest-serving King or Queen in UK and commonwealth history, and the second longest-serving King or Queen ever. She fell two years short of the overall record of 72 years that is held by King Louis XIV of France.

The Queen died at the age of 96 in her Scottish home. Her death came just two days after she was photographed meeting the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. According to British tradition, a new Prime Minister must meet the King or Queen before they can officially begin the position. Prime Minister Liz Truss was the 15th that had led the British government during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Her first Prime Minister was Winston Churchill.

For most people in the UK, the news came as a huge shock, despite the advanced age of the Queen. Having reigned for 70 years, the Queen is the only head of state that the majority of people in the UK can remember. The procedures and protocols that are now taking place following her death are unfamiliar territory for most people.

The UK has now entered a mourning period to honor the Queen. The mourning period will last around 12 days. During this time, most events in the UK have been canceled. Sports events, TV programmes, and other activities have all been suspended or canceled while the nation is in mourning. TV coverage of events that have continued is being done without music, advertisements, or the excitement of normal times.

People of the world have sent their support to the UK during this time. Companies, celebrities, and foreign governments have all reacted to the death of the Queen with respectful messages and their own marks of remembrance. Apple featured the Queen on its homepage instead of its new iPhones, international sporting events like Formula 1 have held silences for the monarch, and drivers have worn black armbands during the race weekend.

King Charles III is now the United Kingdom’s head of state. At 73, he is the oldest person to ever ascend to the throne. His son and daughter-in-law, William and Kate, now take his previous title of the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Prince of Wales is the title traditionally given to the person who is next in line for the throne.

With the ascension of the new King, the UK will need to undertake a lot of bureaucratic changes. All money in the UK and in other countries where the Queen was head of state features a picture of the Queen. The same goes for stamps and some official documents for companies and groups that represent the monarch. These will all need to be changed to a picture of King Charles instead. Because of people’s uncertainty about how the transition works, the UK government had to confirm that money with the Queen’s picture on it is still useable. It will be phased out by the government and replaced with money featuring the King at an unspecified date.

It’s unclear what countries like Canada and Australia will do going forward. There have been some calls in commonwealth countries to drop King Charles as the head of state. What each country does will be up to the individual governments, but King Charles doesn’t have the immense popularity that the late Queen held in the UK and abroad.

Activities:

Difficult words

Look up the definition for each of the difficult words below. Write the definition next to each word.

  1. Reign –
  2. Protocol –
  3. Mourning –
  4. Ascend –
  5. Phase out –

Next, create your own sentence for each of the difficult words above.

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2.

3.

4.

5.

Write the Synonym!

Write a synonym for each of the difficult words below.

Word/Phrase  Write the Synonym
1. Reign  
2. Protocol  
3. Mourning  
4. Ascend  
5. Phase out  

Fact vs. Opinion

Write down a mixture of six facts and opinions from the story.

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2.

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4.

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6.

Unscramble the sentence!

Put each sentence in the correct order.

1. has / UK / the / now / The / period / mourning / Queen / to / entered / a / honor

2. this / world / People / UK / time / the / their / during / the / have / sent / of / to / support

3. Kingdom’s / Charles / the / now / King / state / head / of / III / is / United

4. next / the / to / The / who / is / given / line / Wales / of / is / for / the / throne / person / title / the / in / traditionally / Prince

5. going / what / Australia / forward / do / and / unclear / will / It’s / Canada / like / countries

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. How long do you think mourning should last?
5. What do you think about the worldwide response to the Queen’s death?
6. Does your country have a King or Queen?
7. Should there be Kings and Queens in 2022?
8. Was the Queen popular in your country?
9. Has your country ever had a national time of mourning for someone’s death?
10. What do you think about sports and other events being canceled?