Today, Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed monumental social change in her lifetime. Her tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK's entry into - and withdrawal from - the European Union. Her reign spanned 15 British Prime Ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and finally the newly sworn in British Prime Minister Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975. The Queen's steadfast commitment to the Commonwealth was one of true dedication - she visited every Commonwealth country at least once and Australia in 1954 and she went on to visit 16 more times over seven decades. The 70 year long reign of Queen Elizabeth II was marked by her strong sense of duty and determination to dedicate her life to her throne and people. She was always there in what has been a rapidly changing world and while society moved beyond recognition, her role at the helm of the monarchy never came into question. Her success in maintaining the monarchy through such turbulent times was even more remarkable given that, at the time of her birth, no-one could have foreseen that the throne would be her destiny. King Charles III now ascends the throne. God save the King. To mark this momentous time in history, we asked what she meant to inspiring business and industry leaders, from her leadership to her sense of humour. Melanie Cochrane - Group MD Equifax Australia and New Zealand What did the Queen mean to you? Queen Elizabeth II meant a lot to me as a Brit and an Aussie. Growing up in the UK, I remember every jubilee and celebration, every major event, and watching her annual Christmas Day speech to the nation every year as a family tradition. She was a constant in our lives and brought us together. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? As someone who reigned for 70 years as monarch, the Queen led her people through decades of ups and downs. Her first visit to Australia and New Zealand was in 1954 - so much changed over that time, and she adapted over the years too. Being able to adapt to the times and still be a strong leader is a lesson I think all leaders can learn from Her Majesty; even when triggered by crisis she adapted as a leader. Also, the Queen was thrown into a position of power when she was quite young and her ability to step up into that position made her a role model for what young women can achieve. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? I admired her leadership and her dedication to her duty. She provided a sense of unity and being part of something greater than herself. How will she be defined in history? Queen Elizabeth II had a deep and far-reaching impact on so many parts of the world. I believe she will be remembered as someone who dedicated herself to a life of service and devotion to her nation and the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand. Her passing marks the end of an era. Abbie White - CEO and founder Sales Redefined What did the Queen mean to you? As a Brit, I feel the Queen was such an important figurehead who has been a constant for most people’s lives. Whether you are a royalist or not, most people have the utmost respect for the Queen which is quite remarkable. As a woman she’s broken many barriers, she’s also done an incredible job to balance moving with the times whilst also honouring tradition. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? The two things that stand out for me are firstly her dignity, how she has flawlessly led her country for 70 years, and how she’s handled challenging situations in such a dignified way. Second, it is total dedication and selfless work ethic to serve her country. Even this week she was still showing up to work to welcome the new Prime Minister and fulfil her duties. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire?Her dignity and selfless work ethic. How will she be defined in history? It will be quite some time before any future monarch will have a longer-standing reign. I also think she will be remembered as one of the more popular monarchs who led the country through challenging times and a great deal of change. Sharon Williams - CEO and founder Taurus Marketing What did the Queen mean to you? The Queen was my childhood, the one consistency, our pride, our identity. She was our rock. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Self-sacrifice, and to stick to the strategy, remain neutral, leave others to their own but stick to one’s beliefs. Hold the line. Remain calm. Have a sense of humour. She taught us all that and so much more. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? Her sense of duty. Her love for her husband and her children, her people, and importantly her strong belief in the Commonwealth to enable standards of health, education, and care across the world based on British core values and British standards. How will she be defined in history? As one of the greatest leaders of all time. Duty, respect, sacrifice, resilience, intelligent, experienced, and a sense of honour. I will miss her. Deborah Thomas - CEO, Camp Quality What did the Queen mean to you? I loved the Queen and everything about her - her behaviour, her style, her grace, her dedication to her role, her respect for privacy, and her perseverance. I mention perseverance as when she wanted to make something happen she certainly gave it her all. I refer here to her marriage to Phillip, who she fell in love with as a young teenager and was determined to marry despite her parents and the Royal court’s initial objections to him as a suitable match for a future queen. And like everything she put her hand to, she made it work. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? To always lead by example and maintain your dignity and humility no matter what chaos may be going on around you. To value loyalty and commitment to those you serve and those who serve you. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? Her dedication to her duties right up until the end. I also admired her grace and ease when she was meeting people from all walks of life. She appeared to be genuinely interested and very warm. I also loved her style, she always looked immaculate and dressed well for every occasion - and I loved the way she used her clothing and accessories to send messages that she could not say, but definitely wanted to show. I think she also had a great sense of humour witnessed in her participation in the James Bond skit for the London Olympics. How will she be defined in history? First and foremost as the longest reigning monarch in British history. A much-loved queen who witnessed more changes in the world throughout her lifetime than any other I can think of. A queen who moved with the times, particularly later in her life, whilst still upholding the protocols, responsibilities and grace of her position. A woman who put duty and service to Britain and the Commonwealth above all else. Jacine Greenwood - CEO & Founder Roccoco Botanicals What did the Queen mean to you? The Queen represented poise and grace, especially under pressure. She was the greatest monarch of our time, having reigned during some of the most challenging times in history. The love that was bestowed upon her from the people of Wales and other sovereign nations is testimony to her leadership and compassion. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Live a life of servitude and lead by example. The Queen dedicated her life to serving her people and was a shining example to her children and grandchildren. The other lesson we can learn is to prepare for what may happen. The Queen was thrust into her royal responsibilities after her Uncle abdicated the throne. She was prepared for the role she may one day fulfill. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? The traits I most admire are her resilience under pressure and her calm demeanour. She was always dutiful in her responsibilities and took her role as monarch seriously. She was inspirational to many and bought comfort to the people during uncertainty. How will she be defined in history?A leader who was loved by all and who ruled with love and compassion. She had a love of duty and responsibility, and her kindness will be forever remembered. Jacinta Tynan - journalist, Body+Soul columnist, author, and coach What did the Queen mean to you? Queen Elizabeth was a constant throughout my life. Like a wise and sensible grandmother who was always there, holding the fort, an exemplary role model of grace, wisdom, dignity, and service. From the days I first noticed her image on the wall in my primary school classrooms and swearing allegiance to her as a young Brownie but not understanding why, to coming to truly appreciate her immense influence and extraordinariness. As a girl growing up in an era where we were encouraged to make our way and make a mark, we had Queen Elizabeth to look up to. From the moment she inherited this demanding, all-encompassing job as a young woman of 25, she never wavered in her commitment. She demonstrated the finest qualities of leadership. Her dedication, stability, loyalty, and duty to her people. Her quiet strength as she made the toughest of history defining calls while showing genuine warmth for others and joy for life. She was a feminist role model. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Queen Elizabeth knew how to keep the peace and avoid conflict through difficult and complex times. She demonstrated the ultimate in quiet, dignified strength. What characteristics of the Queen do you most admire? The Queen looked like great company. Her warmth and wry smile, her quiet strength, and obvious wisdom. I have immense admiration for her dedication to her job, and the quiet dignity with which she took it all on. She was a true feminist, an unwitting role model to generations of young women. Not to be Queen or rule countries, but to witness a woman standing her ground and making a difference, day in and day out. How will she be defined in history? Queen Elizabeth ruled the second Elizabethan era for 70 years, the second longest reigning monarch in history, swearing in 15 British Prime Ministers and modernising the monarchy. But in time she’ll be defined for being an empowered woman who took on her role with dignity, grace, and an unwavering sense of duty. She was a mark of stability and commitment while showing genuine love for her family and the people she served. Whether you’re for the Monarchy or not, her immense contribution as a woman in leadership can’t be denied. Tory Archbold - CEO & Founder Powerful Steps What did the Queen mean to you? The Queen was foremost a working mother and woman who represented wisdom, courage, loyalty, and an immense passion for a country she led and served for 70 years. She never wavered from the belief that she was a conduit in a role that would empower others throughout the world and one of her last images reflects that fact as she celebrated a female Prime Minister being sworn into power. She was clearly not well yet she never gave up and served her country and its people to the very end. I don’t know any other women who has played a service role like that for 7 decades and never gave up. That is a woman who deserves to be honoured and celebrated for decades to come. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Remain loyal to your destiny, lead from the heart, and never the ego. Lean in and listen to your people through challenging times as they will be your greatest support. Never forgot where you came from and the blessings you are given in life are not to be underestimated. The power of connection is what delivers impact – never be afraid to reach out and help others. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? Grace under pressure – she was very measured in her approach to life and led with a clear vision which was for the highest and greatest good for all. It was always people first as she could see the runway of life. How will she be defined in history? As one of the greatest inspirational female leaders of all time. Queen Elizabeth Celebrates Sapphire Jubilee With Gorgeous Portrait Sarah Denby-Jones - Business Mentor & UN-retirement coach What did the Queen mean to you? She was constant. An indefatigable defender of British tradition and our history. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Her sheer sense of duty and work ethic. Calm demeanour. She didn’t get rattled. Actions reveal the character. Impartiality. She didn’t gossip or complain. The country came first and not letting personalities or egos interfere. The dignity of the office. She kept the necessary boundaries, didn’t give interviews What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire?Dignity and graciousness. Love of the country and her dogs and horses. In later years her humour - the Olympics and James Bond and the Paddington bear sketch. How will she be defined in history?As a woman who gave her life in service to her country, she led by example. Whilst she was born into great privilege she demonstrated selflessness, personal sacrifices were made, in her giving of herself to her people over other choices she could have made for her life. Robyn Foyster - The Carousel Editor and Publisher What did the Queen mean to you? She stood for values you want in your life such as kindness and family. My father-in-law Rear Admiral Sir Lesley Townsend worked for the Queen at Buckingham Palace as the Defence Secretary in his final years and admired the Queen enormously. He said she was always charming and put everyone at ease. He was the liaison between the royal family and armed forces and was instrumental in organising Earl Mountbatten's funeral and the weddings of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and Prince Andrew's wedding to Sarah, the former Duchess of York. On my father-in-law's passing, she wrote a personal condolence letter to the family which was delivered to the door and a representative of the Queen attended his funeral. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? The Queen was a rock, she was a strong woman and powerful leader. She was a calm and wise woman who had an incredible sense of duty and work ethic. It's why she meant so much to so many people. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? I loved the fact she loved not only the people around her but animals. It made her human. I grew up around horse racing and shared her love of horses. When my father's horse Ming Dynasty won the first Queen Elizabeth Stakes, he received a telegram from the Queen congratulating him. I remember the excitement in the house when that telegram arrived. How will she be defined in history? Apart from her achievement as the UK's longest serving monarch, she will go down in history as the most influential female since Queen Elizabeth I and as a global leader who shaped the world as we know it and made it a better place. Queen celebrating her 90th birthday with her family Lyndey Milan OAM - TV Chef & Author What did the Queen mean to you? My parents were Royalists and Anglophiles. While proud Australians, we were brought up to respect the Queen and all she stood for. When I visited London when my children were young it was such fun sitting down with our friends’ family to watch the Queen’s message. However, I have never been one to slavishly follow the Royal Family nor the tabloids. For many years I never thought about her much. However, the Queen is a woman like no other. You might say the most adept politician of our time. I think she is certainly the Royal of our time. No-one else has reigned so long nor adapted to so much change. Until Covid I was spending half of every year in the UK which reinforced my respect for her dignity and calm. Although I believe Australia should be a Republic, it does not diminish my respect for the Queen nor the office she holds. It is she who has kept the monarchy alive and relevant. As I write this I am in London. We heard bulletins throughout the day, that the family was gathering. My friend and I watched the announcement on the BBC, the presenter wearing a black tie and a sombre face. When he mentioned “The King” we both started, looked at each other, and were tearful. Of course, The Queen is Dead so Long Live the King – but it is the end of an era. There will never be another like her. What lessons can be learned from her leadership? Keep your own confidences, keep your cool, remember to smile and laugh and be quietly firm. What characteristics of the Queen did you most admire? Her loyalty, determination, service, careful neutrality, and womanliness. The Queen was the absolute embodiment of how a much older person can still contribute so much. Our society needs to recognise the benefits of age, maturity, experience, and wisdom. She had all of those in spades. She was never diminished in her faculties. What a wonderful example for older people, and something for young ones to learn from and be humble. How will she be defined in history? As an incredible monarch. The longest reigning but the one who also oversaw the most change: world war, depression, motor cars, man in space, the age of technology, and quelle horreur social media. She maintained the Commonwealth under challenging times. Queen Elizabeth II Leila McKinnon - TV Presenter "The world changed around her but Her Majesty the Queen was a steady, calm constant in our lives. It's the end of an era, may she Rest In Peace."