Queen Elizabeth II died today, Sept. 8, at her Balmoral estate in Scotland. She was 96.

Elizabeth, of course, was not our queen; we do not have reigning monarchs here, and many the world over would argue that the time of monarchy is past. Certainly, her legacy is not free of controversy.

However, Britain's longest-reigning monarch was a steadying force in an increasingly chaotic world. I admired her, even if I did not always agree. 

What struck me the most about her was realizing that she was a veteran. Then- Princess Elizabeth served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service branch of the British Army during WWII —  the first female member of the British royal family to serve full-time.

You can learn more about this extraordinary woman at The History Channel