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Lesson Plan: The Life and Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II

Britain’s longest-reigning monarch died on Thursday at the age of 96. Learn about her seven-decade reign, as well as what is next for the British monarchy. Lesson plan from The New York Times








Featured Video: “The Legacy of Elizabeth II: The Media Queen” by Nailah Morgan, Will Lloyd, Alan Cowell and Robin Stein

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday at the age of 96.

In her obituary, The New York Times wrote that her “reign of almost seven decades survived tectonic shifts in Britain’s post-imperial society, inspired broad affection for her among her subjects and weathered successive challenges posed by the romantic choices, missteps and imbroglios of her descendants.”

In this lesson, you will examine Queen Elizabeth’s life and legacy through multimedia. First we invite you to view photos and watch an eight-minute video detailing her 70-year reign. Then you can go further by reading articles and Opinion essays that explore what happens next for the monarchy, the queen’s portrayal in pop culture, the history of the British Empire and more.

What do you know about Queen Elizabeth? When you think of her, what images come to mind? What major events in history did her seven-decade reign over Britain include? Take a few moments to reflect.

Then, spend some time viewing this selection of photos from her remarkable life. Choose one to write about. You might use these questions to guide your thinking:

  • In your own words, what is going on in this image?

  • What made you choose this photo? Why did it stand out to you? What does it make you think and feel?

  • What do you think this photo says about Elizabeth and her reign? About the monarchy and its role in British society? About the portrayal of the queen in the media over the years?

  • What questions do you have about this image, about Elizabeth’s life or about the monarchy in general?

  • Finally, why do you think the queen, and the royal family in general, is so fascinating to so many? What is the power of royalty, in both substance and symbol? Are you interested in the British monarchy? Why or why not?

Share your reactions and questions with a partner.

Watch the video at the top of this post (and which can also be found in the related obituary), perhaps taking notes with an 

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