Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
She died peacefully on Thursday the 8th of September 2022 afternoon at her Scottish estate, 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.
He 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 of mourning, he 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 Friday, Buckingham Palace said. He is expected to address the nation.
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.
The royal family rushed to the Queen’s side
The Queen’s four children were at Balmoral Castle when the announcement was made.
Charles rushed to the Scottish castle earlier on Thursday together with his wife, Camilla. The Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, known as Princess Royal, was already there.
Prince William, who is now the heir apparent to the throne, arrived at Balmoral Thursday afternoon together with the Queen’s other two sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, as well as Edward’s wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Prince William and his wife Catherine have taken on the title of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, according to their official Twitter account. Charles and Camilla were previously known by that title. The couple is now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge. Catherine remained at Windsor, where their three children attended their first day at a new school.
Prince Harry arrived at Balmoral after the announcement was made. His wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex was not travelling with him.
World leaders and mourners pay tribute
After Thursday’s announcement, a flood of condolences came in from all corners of the globe: world officials, cultural icons and everyday people alike mourned.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”
Queen’s Last public appearance
The Queen was last seen in public on 6th September 2022, Tuesday when she formally appointed Liz Truss as the UK’s new prime minister. A photograph from the audience showed the monarch smiling, standing in the drawing room in Balmoral, carrying a walking stick. Liz Truss is the 15th – and the last – British Prime Minister to be appointed by Elizabeth.
There have been concerns over the Queen’s health ever since a brief hospital stay last October 2021. She has experienced episodic mobility issues, which have at times caused her to withdraw from official engagements.
But those concerns grew deeper on Wednesday when Buckingham Palace announced the Queen had postponed a virtual meeting of her Privy Council after being advised by doctors to rest.
On Thursday, the palace announced that the Queen was under medical supervision, but said she was “comfortable” at Balmoral. As her children rushed to her side during the day, it became clear the situation was serious.
Her death comes seven months after the Queen marked the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne. The UK officially celebrated the Queen’s platinum jubilee in June with days of pomp and pageantry and she made several public appearances in London.