"She was not aware of what was happening": the secretary of the late Elizabeth II reveals the details of her death for the first time
Former Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, whose heart stopped beating on September 8, 2022, at the age of 97 in the Scottish castle of Balmoral, died in her sleep. She "went very peacefully," according to her private secretary, Edward Young. For the first time, his notes on the last moments of the legendary sovereign's life were revealed to the public.
These notes are now kept in the Royal Archives. Some fragments of them were exclusively published by the Daily Mail. The publication called these records "deeply moving".
"Very peaceful. In a dream. Gone. Old age. She was not aware of what was happening. No pain," Edward Young wrote.
Royal writer Robert Gardman in his new biography of the current monarch "Charles III: New King, New Court. The Inside Story" shares that shortly after Sir Edward wrote his note, a footman brought a locked red box of papers found near the late Queen's deathbed. Inside were two sealed letters: one to her son and heir, now King Charles III, and the other to Sir Edward himself.
Although their contents are unlikely to ever be made public, the existence of the letters suggests that the 96-year-old Elizabeth quietly recognized that her time on this earth was coming to an end, and so she seemed to have prepared for it. The box also contained the last papers of Elizabeth II and her last royal order: she selected candidates for the prestigious Order of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious service."
"Even on her deathbed, she had a job to do. And she did it," Gardman wrote about the late Queen's unparalleled devotion to duty.
The biography also describes that Princess Anne and the Queen's confidante, wardrobe maid Angela Kelly, took turns at her bedside, and Kenneth Mackenzie, a longtime minister at a nearby church, read Bible verses. Her son Charles and his wife Camilla stayed with Her Majesty for about an hour.
Charles personally called both his sons, urging them to come to Scotland as soon as possible to say goodbye to their grandmother. At that time, he believed that the Queen had only days, not hours, to live.
Later, Charles went mushroom picking to clear his head after seeing his mother. In the process, he was informed that Elizabeth II had passed away. That day, the late queen's son's senior aide addressed him as "Your Majesty" for the first time, but Charles did not react.