Queen Elizabeth death: The royal's final year on the throne

Right before her death at age 96 the Queen slowed down her official engagements and stepped back a little from public life.

It would have been a difficult decision for the Queen, with her declaring on her 21st birthday just how important it was to her.

"I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

And she kept that promise, despite her advancing age and compromised mobility.

Here we take a look at her final year on the throne.

Left: The Queen on horseback. Middle: The Queen waving from a balcony with Prince Phillip. Right: The Queen sitting and smiling at a royal event
The Queen never let her age get in the way of her duty to the realm. Source: Getty

Her Jubilee celebrations

As the longest reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth was always going to be present for as much of her Platinum Jubilee as she could.

The start of the celebrations to mark her 70 years on the throne began on February 6th for Accession Day which marked the day she became Queen.

"As I look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism to the year of my Platinum Jubilee, I am reminded of how much we can be thankful for," she said in her Accession Day message.

Queen Elizabeth II is joined by one of her dogs, a Dorgi called Candy, as she views a display of memorabilia from her Golden and Platinum Jubilees in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle on February 4, 2022 in Windsor, England. The Queen has since travelled to her Sandringham estate where she traditionally spends the anniversary of her accession to the throne - February 6 - a poignant day as it is the date her father King George VI died in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II, with her Dorgi Candy, in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle just before Accession Day. Photo: Getty Images

"These last seven decades have seen extraordinary progress socially, technologically and culturally that have benefitted us all; and I am confident that the future will offer similar opportunities to us and especially to the younger generations in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth."

She signed off "Your Servant" which surmised how she saw her role as head of state in the UK and Commonwealth countries.

In June, the United Kingdom had a four-day long weekend to celebrate its Platinum Jubilee.

The weekend started with the traditional Trooping of the Colour with the senior members of the Royal Family appearing on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) stands with from left, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, Britain's Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Britain's Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge, Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge , Britain's Prince George of Cambridge, Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Britain's Sophie, Countess of Wessex, to watch a special flypast from Buckingham Palace balcony following the Queen's Birthday Parade, the Trooping the Colour, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations, in London on June 2, 2022. - Huge crowds converged on central London in bright sunshine on Thursday for the start of four days of public events to mark Queen Elizabeth II's historic Platinum Jubilee, in what could be the last major public event of her long reign.
Queen Elizabeth II stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Photo: Getty Images

Members of the public filled The Mall, the road leading to Buckingham Palace, to pay tribute to Her Majesty's years of service and immerse themselves in the pomp and ceremony of the occasion.

Having tea with Paddington Bear

In June, The Queen surprised both her family and the public when she released a delightful video skit of her having tea and marmalade sandwiches with Paddington Bear at the palace.

The 96-year-old Monarch showed off her acting skills as she sipped tea and shared her love of marmalade sandwiches with the CGI bear.

The video was broadcast to the crowds gathered in the grounds of Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Party concert, who loved the fun and unexpected video.

"People went absolutely wild," Sky News reporter Annelise Nielsen revealed on the day.

"Her majesty is well known for her sense of humour, so it should be no surprise that she decided to take part in [the] sketch," the palace said.

"There was an interest in the filming and animation process and the opportunity to invite a famous bear to tea was just too much fun to miss."

Meeting Lilibet

The Queen got her first opportunity to meet her name-sake great granddaughter Lilibet (also the Queen's childhood nickname) when Prince Harry and wife Meghan returned to the UK for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

While in England, Lilibet also celebrated her first birthday with a garden party at Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The Queen's great granddaughter Lilibet Diana, daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan, in a photo to celebrate her first birthday
The Queen met her great granddaughter Lilibet Diana, daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan, while they were over from America for the jubilee celebrations. Photo: Twitter/@misanharriman

Getting back in the saddle

Her Majesty had been riding horses since she was three years old however she was forced to give up her beloved past time last year as her mobility became compromised and it became uncomfortable for her, but in June this year, she got back in the saddle at Windsor Castle.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park, west of London, over the weekend of May 30 and May 31, 2020.
Queen Elizabeth II riding Balmoral Fern, her 14-year-old Fell Pony. Photo: Getty Images

"The Queen has enjoyed being on her horse again," a royal residence source told The Sun.

"To be able to do so at 96 is pretty remarkable."

Attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show

The Royal Windsor Horse Show was one of The Queen's all-time favourite events and despite stepping back from official royal duties, she made sure she attended the show in May.

There she watched her youngest granddaughter, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, as she drove Prince Philip's carriage in the show.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend The Royal Windsor Horse Show at Home Park on May 13, 2022 in Windsor, England. The Royal Windsor Horse Show, which is said to be the Queen’s favourite annual event, takes place as Her Majesty celebrates 70 years of service.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex watch on as Edward and Sophie's daughter, Lady Louise drives Prince Phillip's carriage. Photo: Getty Images

Recognising the NHS

While Queen Elizabeth scaled back her official engagements considerably, she surprised many by attending two events in a week in July that honoured the UK health service.

The first was presenting the George Cross to representatives of the National Health Service (NHS), the first public investiture ceremony she has attended since 2020.

Queen Elizabeth II presents the George Cross to Ms Amanda Pritchard, Chief Executive of NHS England, and Ms May Parsons, Modern Matron at University Hospital Coventry and Warkwickshire, representatives of the National Health Service during an audience at Windsor Castle, England, Tuesday July 12, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II presents the George Cross to representatives of the National Health Service in July this year. Photo: Getty Images

She then accompanied her daughter Anne, The Princess Royal, to open a new Hospice in Berkshire, England that same week.

Showing that despite slowing down, she still had a razor-sharp wit, The Queen responded jovially when a mobile phone rang during her visit.

Just as she was introduced to Graham White and his wife Pat, who has stage 4 cancer and is receiving respite care at the centre, his phone rang and he reached into his pocket to turn it off.

"Typical, a phone goes off immediately," Queen Elizabeth II quipped.

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