See PEOPLE's Two Commemorative Covers Honoring the Life of Queen Elizabeth

·3 min read
queen elizabeth people cover
queen elizabeth people cover

© Yousuf Karsh; Queen Elizabeth II shot by David Bailey for the GREAT campaign

Queen Elizabeth II appears on two new covers of this week's PEOPLE — and the iconic images reflect very different periods in her life.

The longest reigning British monarch died on Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced. She was 96.

One PEOPLE cover features a vintage portrait of the monarch, who was Princess Elizabeth at the time. It dates back to 1951, the year before she took the throne. In the classic photo, she wears a white satin dress with a statement diamond necklace and diamond earrings. Her ensemble was made complete with a tiara.

Six years later, the Queen delivered a touching speech during a Christmas broadcast, telling her subjects in 1957, "I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice, but I can do something else: I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations."

To pre-order PEOPLE's Queen Elizabeth commemorative issue, click here

queen elizabeth people cover credit Yousuf Karsh
queen elizabeth people cover credit Yousuf Karsh

© Yousuf Karsh

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The second PEOPLE cover photo, captured by British photographer David Bailey, shows the Queen in 2014 wearing a suite of sapphire jewelry given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947. She posed for the photo for Britain's GREAT campaign. The initiative began shortly after Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee, which marked 60 years on the throne.

For more on Queen Elizabeth, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

The significant story behind the photo used to announce the Queen's death has also been shared.

The portrait was taken at Buckingham Palace in February 2006 for the Queen's 80th birthday by late photographer Jane Bown, who was 81 at the time. It was featured in Bown's 2009 book Exposures.

queen elizabeth people cover
queen elizabeth people cover

Queen Elizabeth II shot by David Bailey for the GREAT campaign In the photo, taken for the GREAT campaign, the Queen is wearing a suite of sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947.

RELATED: Why Do We Feel So Sad About Queen Elizabeth's Death?

"Queen Elizabeth II selected Jane Bown to take a photographic portrait at the start of her eightieth birthday year," reads a description of the image by the Royal Collection Trust (RCT). "Bown (a [then] fellow octogenarian) worked as a professional photographer since the late 1940s."

The image was also featured in the Royal Collection Trust's exhibit The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years celebrating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Queen Elizabeth was only the second British monarch to reach that anniversary, following her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901), who celebrated her own Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

RELATED VIDEO: The Amazing Life of Queen Elizabeth II

Royal Collection Trust recognized Bown for her "unpretentious technique, working at speed, using only available light, and for working in black and white rather than color."

The news of Queen Elizabeth's death was followed by another history-making moment: She is succeeded immediately by her eldest son, King Charles, 73, who will now be the monarch. Charles' firstborn son, Prince William, 40, is now next in line to the world's most famous throne, followed by William's firstborn son, Prince George, 9. Her death follows her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died at age 99 in June 2021.

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Upon the Queen's passing, the United Kingdom — where she reigned for a record 70 years — was plunged into public mourning. Around the world, including in the other nations that called her the head of state or Sovereign, her death was grieved by those to whom she was an unwavering fixture amid the turmoil of ever-changing times.

But the loss was most profound for her large family, including her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.