CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96. She was surrounded by family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Elizabeth spent more than seven decades on the throne, ruling as the U.K. rebuilt from war, transformed its economy and both entered and left the European Union. For many in Britain, she’s the only monarch they’ve ever known. And the impact of her passing stretches far beyond the bounds of England.

With her death, the monarchy immediately passes to now-King Charles, who becomes the oldest person to ever take the British Throne.

22News discusses with Western New England University Professor of Political Science Tim Vercellotti about the cultural and political shift, and what’s next for the monarchy.

“The loss of the Queen is the loss of a symbol of stability and continuity from the United Kingdom. Time and time again, and times of national crisis, the Queen has been the calming influence. We saw that most recently in the COVID-19 pandemic. The Prime Minister was gravely sick from COVID-19 and is was the Queen in a nationally televised speech, to reassure the nation. To lose that symbol, to lose that common presence, it’s a very difficult thing,” said Vercellotti.

You can watch the full discussion with Professor Vercellotti on the Queen in the video players above.