Queen Elizabeth II, UK’s Longest-Serving Monarch, Dies Age 96
Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom has died at her Scottish estate, Balmoral, at the age of 96 after reigning for 70 years.
The UK’s longest-serving monarch died peacefully on September 8 at Balmoral, where she had spent much of the summer.
The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.
Her son King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” around the world.
King Charles said: “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.”
During the coming period, the king said he and his family would be “comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held”.
The King and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort will return to London on September 9, Buckingham Palace said.
Senior royals had gathered at Balmoral after the Queen’s doctors became concerned about her health earlier in the day.
All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.
Her grandson and now heir to the throne, Prince William, and his brother, Prince Harry, also gathered there.
PM Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen on September 6, said the monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built, who had “provided us with the stability and strength that we needed”.
Speaking about the new King, she said: “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long.
“And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975.
She held weekly audiences with her prime minister throughout her reign.
At Buckingham Palace in London, crowds awaiting updates on the Queen’s condition began crying as they heard of her death.
The Union flag on top of the palace was lowered to half-mast at 18:30 BST and an official notice announcing the death was posted outside.
On the Queen’s death, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Dies Aged 99
The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on April 21, 1926.
Few could have foreseen she would become monarch but in December 1936 her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne to marry the twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and, at age 10, Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne.
Within three years, Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected suggestions they be evacuated to Canada.
After turning 18, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned basic motor mechanic and driving skills.
Through the war, she exchanged letters with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who was serving in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed and the couple married at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947, with the prince taking the title of Duke of Edinburgh.
She would later describe him as “my strength and stay” through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021, aged 99.
Their first son, Charles, was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne, in 1950, Prince Andrew, in 1960, and Prince Edward, in 1964. Between them, they gave their parents eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, aged 27, in front of a then-record TV audience estimated at more than 20 million people.
Subsequent decades would see great change, with the end of the British Empire overseas and the swinging ’60s sweeping away social norms at home.
Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for this less deferential age, engaging with the public through walkabouts, royal visits and attendance at public events. Her commitment to the Commonwealth was a constant – she visited every Commonwealth country at least once.
King Charles,73, becomes head of state in 14 Commonwealth realms.
The Royal Family has now entered a period of mourning.
Official engagements will be canceled and Union flags will be flown at half-mast on royal residences, government buildings, across the Armed Forces and UK posts overseas.
Foreign leaders have paid tribute to the Queen, with President Joe Biden recalling how she stood in solidarity with the US in their “darkest days” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.