Queen Elizabeth II, queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other sovereign countries whose work earned her respect and admiration from around the world, has died. She was 96.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement Thursday.
The queen’s passing came after her health appeared to begin sharply deteriorating Thursday.
Here’s everything we know about the death of Queen Elizabeth, and what is to come as her family, the United Kingdom and the world over mourn the loss of the longest-lived and longest-reigning monarch of Great Britain.
The Royal Family and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Speak on Queen Elizabeth II’s Passing
Queen Elizabeth’s oldest child, now known as King Charles III, said in a statement that “the death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world,” he continued.
Outside Downing Street, Prime Minister Liz Truss said “we are all devastated” at the news of the queen’s death, which she called a “huge shock to the nation and the world.”
Saying the queen was a “rock on which modern Britain was built,” the prime minister added, “Britain is the great country it is today because of her.
“Her devotion to duty is an example to us all,” she continued.
U.S. Presidents Honor the Life of Queen Elizabeth II
It’s been estimated that 90% of the people alive today have known of no other monarch of England than Queen Elizabeth II. She was just 26 when she ascended to the throne, and her enduring presence transcended the United Kingdom to become a beloved figure all over the world.
In 1957, she made her first state visit to the United States, and over the years, met 13 U.S. presidents. She welcomed then-President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama to Buckingham Palace in 2009.
“Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us,” Obama said, in part, in a tribute to the queen.
Ten years later, she gave former President Donald Trump the full pomp-and-circumstance when he and Melania made a state visit. “What a grand and beautiful lady she was—there was nobody like her!” Trump said in part in a statement released on Truth Social.
President Joe Biden, who visited the queen just last year with first lady Jill Biden, said in part, “Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.”
Prince Charles Becomes King Charles III in the Wake of the Death of His Mother
In the announcing of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Buckingham Palace used the new titles Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, now hold.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the statement said.
And the king’s statement on his mother’s passing began, “A statement from His Majesty The King.”
As Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay from 1952 to his accession to the throne, King Charles was the oldest and the longest-serving heir apparent in British history. He was also the longest-serving Prince of Wales, having held the title from 1958 until his accession Thursday.
Family Drew Near as Queen Elizabeth II’s Health Began Waning
The queen’s four children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, as well as her grandson Prince William, were with her at Balmoral. Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was also by the queen’s side, according to reports.
Prince Harry, who was already in the United Kingdom for a charity event, arrived in Balmoral after his grandmother’s death. The Duchess of Cambridge, commonly known as Kate Middleton, remained in Windsor as Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were in school. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, remained in London but did not attend the WellChild awards event as originally planned.
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