West Reacts: Queen Elizabeth II Has Died Unexpectedly and Leaves The World In Shock


By Gia Bexes and Anna Lusson

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has unexpectedly passed away, shocking the world. At the age of 96, she had been queen for seven decades. She passed away peacefully in her sleep at her Scottish summer home, Balmoral Castle. In the announcement, the cause of her death was not mentioned, however health officials speculate it was due to a lead up of health concerns, including COVID, mobility issues, bruising, or even heartbreak from the death of her husband, Prince Philip.  

While the queen’s death won’t have a huge impact on classes, it does affect the media and culture around the world which are topics of discussion in both history and government classes. “From a government standpoint, the queen’s death should have no political impact on the UK or the US, the monarch no longer holds any formal executive powers. However, from a cultural standpoint, the British people have mourned her death. Even Americans seem to be mourning as our media has a strange obsession with the lives of the British Royal family,” Social Studies teacher Michael Wasielewski said.

Although the queen’s death may not have a big impact on government classes here at Niles West, that might not be the case in history classes. “Queen Elizabeth II had been the British monarch throughout my lifetime. While I think her life and legacy as Britain’s longest-reigning monarch will be a point of study, I think we currently in the U.S. have some significant societal issues to be focused on,” Social Studies Linda Mulligan said.

Similarly Niles West’s principal, Dr. Karen Ritter feels the queen’s death won’t affect the Niles West community all that much but the event still holds a lot of weight.  “The Queen’s death is one of those events where you will always remember where you were when you heard it. Similar events during my lifetime have been when Princess Diana, Michael Jackson, and Kobe Bryant died. I read about the Queen’s death on Twitter, after hearing from some coworkers that they were keeping up with the Queen’s health. I do not believe there is a huge impact on the Niles West community, but for anyone who is interested in England’s royal family, I’m sure that it was very sad news to hear,” Ritter said. 

Being immersed in the media throughout their daily lives, the students of Niles West also found out about the Queen’s death within moments of it happening. “When I found out that she had passed away, everyone at school seemed to be talking about it. I think it’s really saddening and devastating,” junior Sana Yousuf said.

Many other students express their thoughts after hearing the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death.

“Queen Elizabeth II has many accomplishments and her death will bring sadness to the world. Her legacy will continue,” junior Alyssa Iusco said.

Although West is an ocean away from the Queen, some students are impacted by her death.

“I was shocked that she died, I thought she was going to live to 100 like everyone else. But I was surprised, like how did she die? How did she die out of nowhere,” junior Nora Schmidt said.

King Charles III who was next in line for the throne, has expressed her death as “a moment of great sadness” for him as well as his family.

The queen’s funeral plan was called “Operation London Bridge” and the government, the media, the local politicians and Queen Elizabeth II had laid out minute by minute for the day the crown would be passed from the Queen to Charles III. Edward Young, the Queen’s private secretary was first to know of the Queen’s death and his job was to contact the British Prime Minister, Liz Truss. The news of her death is then distributed to various heads of state and the 52 nations where the queen still has influence before the news of her death reaches the public.

Being the longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth ll has had several remarkable experiences in her life as well as many accomplishments. She took over the throne on February 6th, 1952, at age 25.  She invented the walkabout, a common practice among British royals now. During a royal tour in 1970, she decided to walk through the crowds to greet them instead of waving at them from a distance, which was unheard of before for a British royal to do. The queen was the first British monarch in 100 years to visit the Republic of Ireland in order to reconcile the past conflicts between the two countries.

Across the United Kingdom, sporting events like soccer have been canceled in the queen’s honor, and many world leaders gave tributes to her and the mark she made on the world. Although she never had rule over the United States, many in the Niles West recognize her loss too.

Queen Elizabeth II has remained a constant figure and has seen and experienced more than most of us. Regardless of opinion, it’s clear that she made a huge imprint on the world, one that will not leave with her.