The entire world is mourning today after it was announced Thursday afternoon that Queen Elizabeth II had died at the age of 96.
Her family gathered at her Scottish estate, Balmoral Castle, after concerns began to grow about her health earlier on Thursday prior to her death.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
The Queen was the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, having reigned for 70 years. Her reign began on February 6, 1952, when she became the queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries, as well as the Head of the Commonwealth, at the age of 25 after her father’s death. With the Queen’s passing, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the UK as the new King and head of state of 14 Commonwealth realms.
Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure spanned 15 British prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill and ending with Liz Truss, who only came into power earlier this week.
But in addition to all that the Queen did during her royal reign, she was also a swimmer once upon a time.
Queen Elizabeth II began her swimming career at London’s Bath Club at the age of 10, first having learned breaststroke and backstroke.
At 13, she won the Children’s Challenge Shield at the Bath Club, and would wear the badge she earned from the achievement on her swim suit every time she wore it.
At the age of 14 in 1941, she recalled receiving a medal from the Royal Life Saving Society after completing the necessary training. She would later learn that she was the first teen to receive the award.
“I didn’t realize I was the first one – I just did it and had to work very hard for it!” she said on a video call last year, according to People.
Like the Children’s Challenge Shield, she also wore the badge she earned from the Royal Life Saving Society on her suit.
“It was a great achievement and I was very proud to wear the badge on the front of my swimming suit,” she said. “It was very grand, I thought.”
📸 80 years ago, as Princess Elizabeth, The Queen became the first young person in the Commonwealth to achieve the @rlsscw Junior Respiration Award.
This helped to establish lifesaving and resuscitation qualifications across the network of nations. pic.twitter.com/fWTnnYYg8d
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) May 10, 2021
When she was coronated more than 10 years later, the Queen bestowed her most gracious patronage upon the Amateur Swimming Association (now British Swimming).
Despite her focus straying away from the sports world upon her coronation, the Queen still showed plenty of athleticism at the 2012 Olympic Games, memorably parachuting into the Opening Ceremonies with James Bond (Daniel Craig).
Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, died last year. Along with her eldest son Charles, she has three more children: Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.