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Queen Elizabeth II undoubtedly bought some expensive gifts during her lifetime. Toward the end of her life, however, she gave her grandchildren and great-grandchildren a truly priceless gift. According to a new biography, the late monarch gave her family the gift of cherished memories just months before she died on Sept. 8, 2022.

Queen Elizabeth was ‘determined’ to make ‘the most’ of the time she had left in 2022

In his new book, The Making of a King: King Charles III and the Modern Monarchy, out Jan. 18, 2024, author Robert Hardman delved into Queen Elizabeth’s final year. 

Per a Daily Mail excerpt, a close friend of the royal family told the biographer the queen was well aware her days were numbered. 

The late queen, they said, suffered from “multiple conditions” leading up to her death. Therefore, the cause of her death will never be known. (Previously, another royal biography claimed Queen Elizabeth had bone cancer.) 

Although the queen realized she wasn’t going to make it to 100, she didn’t let it slow her down. “She’d been determined to make the most of that [final] year,’” the friend said. 

Queen Elizabeth ‘made sure’ to spend summer at Balmoral with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to leave them with ‘happy memories’

It’s royal tradition for members of “The Firm” to trade London, England, for Balmoral, the late queen’s Scottish estate. She, along with many other royals, would flock to the estate in the summer months. 

In keeping with tradition, that’s precisely what Queen Elizabeth did in 2022. She went to Balmoral and, like years before, invited family.

The reason, the family friend said, was to give everyone, especially young royals, “happy memories.”

“She made sure she had all the family up over the summer so that the young ones, in particular, would always be left with happy memories of her,” they said. 

Some of the queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren were notably absent that last summer. Prince Harry, 39, and his wife, Meghan Markle, as well as their children, Prince Archie, 4, and Princess Lilibet, 2. 

However, the queen did meet Archie and Lili when the Sussex family traveled to England for Platinum Jubilee weekend in June of that same year.

A glimpse inside Queen Elizabeth’s last summer at Balmoral with her great-grandchildren

On April 21, 2023, the day Queen Elizabeth would’ve turned 97, Prince William and Kate Middleton gave the world a peek inside her final summer. 

The couple posted a never-before-seen photo, taken by the Princess of Wales in the summer of 2022, to X. It showed the queen with some of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren at Balmoral. 

In the photo, the late Queen Elizabeth sat on a green couch with two of her grandchildren: Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and James, Earl of Wessex, children of Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh. 

As for the great-grandchildren in the photo, the queen was joined by Prince William and Kate Middleton’s kids, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. 

Also pictured were Zara and Mike Tindall’s kids, Lena, Mia, and Lucas, 2, as well as Peter Phillips’ daughters, Isla and Savannah.

Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral, for which she reportedly felt guilty in her final days. She was 96.