Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96 – latest updates | The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96

Caroline Davies

Caroline Davies

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, has died.

Prince Charles, heir to the throne since the age of three, is now king, and will be officially proclaimed at St James’s Palace in London as soon as practicably possible.

Flags on landmark buildings in Britain and across the Commonwealth were being lowered to half mast as a period of official mourning was announced.

As Queen of the UK and 15 other realms, and head of the 54-nation Commonwealth, Elizabeth II was easily the world’s most recognizable head of state during an extraordinarily long reign.

Queen Elizabeth II with her maids of honor after her coronation.
Queen Elizabeth II with her maids of honor after her coronation. Photograph: PA

Coming to the throne at the age of 25, she successfully steered the monarchy through many squalls during decades of turbulent change, with her personal popularity providing ballast during the institution’s most difficult times.

Fifteen prime ministers served her, attesting to her extraordinary knowledge, experience of world affairs and mastery of political neutrality.

There were undoubted low points, but the mass outpouring of affection demonstrated on her silver, golden and diamond jubilees testified to the special place she held in the nation’s heart.

And she regarded her role as a life-long duty. In her silver jubilee message from her in 1977, the Queen said: “When I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people, and asked for God’s help to make that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”

Key events

Severin Carrell

Severin Carrell

Standing outside the gates of Balmoral as the shadow news of the Queen’s death was announced were two accident and emergency nurses from Portsmouth.

Samantha Cole and Tina Ferry had driven over from the Scottish coastal town of Peterhead where they are on holiday after hearing the news on the radio.

Ferry said: “It’s a moment in history; it’s like Diana. You will always remember where you were when it happened. I hope she hasn’t suffered and she passed away peacefully.”

Cole, standing beside her in a bright red coat, said she had always loved the royal family and had met Prince Charles when she lived in New Zealand.

She also won tickets in a ballot to stand in Pall Mall in London to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. “When you live abroad you realize that the Queen and the royal family are loved everywhere. But you also realize how British you are when things happen, such as royal birthday parties and things like that.”

Prime minister due to make statement at Downing Street

Prime Minister Liz Truss is due to make a statement at Downing Street on the Queen’s death shortly.

Sir Tony Blair, the UK prime minister between 1997 and 2007, said: “We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature , personified everything which makes us proud to be British.”

The Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, said “the nation and the whole Commonwealth is united in deep mourning.”

“On behalf of the House of Lords, I extend our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, to His Majesty the King and the other members of her family.

“Her Majesty’s supreme dedication to public service is unparalleled and her legacy will be eternal. Today the nation should reflect on the service she gave to the Crown and to her people from her, and to give thanks for her life to her.”

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, has tweeted this tribute:

Our thoughts are with the royal family and all those who mourn Queen Elizabeth II in the UK and worldwide.

Once called Elizabeth the Steadfast, she never failed to show us the importance of lasting values ​​in a modern world with her service and commitment. pic.twitter.com/NZj3qcyhU7

— Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) September 8, 2022

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster and president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has paid tribute to the Queen:

“On 21 April 1947, on her 21st birthday, Princess Elizabeth said, ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.’

“Now, 75 years later, we are heartbroken in our loss at her death, and so full of admiration for the unfailing way in which she fulfilled that declaration.

“Even in my sorrow, shared with so many around the world, I am filled with an immense sense of gratitude for the gift to the world that has been the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

“At this time, we pray for the repose of the soul of Her Majesty. We do so with confidence, because her Christian faith marked every day of her life and activity.”

The Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said the Queen’s death was a “terrible loss for us all”, adding: “We will miss her beyond measure.”

He said: “For all of us, the Queen has been a constant presence in our lives – as familiar as a member of the family, yet one who has exercised a calm and steadying influence over our country. Most of us have never known a time when she was not there.

“Her death is not only a tragedy for the royal family, but a terrible loss for us all.

“During her 70 years on the throne – and even before that, as a teenager, reassuring and engaging with children and families disrupted by the Second World War – she has given our lives a sense of equilibrium.”

Tributes are now coming in for the Queen from around the world. Sir John Major, the former UK prime minister, said: “For 70 years Her Majesty The Queen devoted her life to the service of our nation and its wellbeing.

“In her public duties she was selfless and wise, with a wonderful generosity of spirit. That is how she lived – and how she led.

“For millions of people – across the Commonwealth and the wider world – she embodied the heart and soul of our nation, and was admired and respected around the globe.

“At this moment of deep sadness, I believe we all stand hand in hand with the royal family as they grieve the loss of one so loved.

“For we have all lost someone very precious to us and, as we mourn, we should be grateful that we were blessed with such an example of duty and leadership for so very many years.”

The Prince of Wales is now king and head of state, and the Duchess of Cornwall is now queen consort.

The Union flag is lowered on Windsor Castle as a rainbow covers the sky in Windsor, southern England.
The Union flag is lowered on Windsor Castle as a rainbow covers the sky in Windsor, southern England. Photograph: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Queen’s funeral will, according to tradition, be a state funeral, a rare honor mostly reserved for the sovereign.

The only monarch not to be given a state funeral in the last 295 years was Edward VIII, who abdicated.

State funerals have, on rare occasions, by order of the monarch and by a vote in Parliament providing the funds, been held for distinguished figures including Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and wartime prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

The last state funeral in the UK was Churchill’s in 1965 and the last state funeral for a sovereign was for the Queen’s father, George VI, in 1952.

State funerals are the responsibility of the Earl Marshal and the College of Arms, and are publicly funded.

Prince Charles becomes king immediately

The Prince of Wales becomes king immediately, though his official coronation will not take place for some time.

It is expected Charles will hold his first audience with the prime minister some time today.

The formal proclamation will be made as soon as practically possible at an accession council at St James’s Palace.

Members of the privy council, which advises the monarch on matters of state, will be summoned. Traditionally invitees include members of the House of Lords, the lord mayor, aldermen and other leading citizens of the City of London, as well as the high commissioners in London of member nations of the Commonwealth.

The official plans for her death, codenamed London Bridge, will now be activated.

The nation and other countries of which she was head of state will enter a 10-day period of mourning.

Details of her state funeral, accorded to monarchs, will be announced in due course, after being officially signed off by the king.

Tradition dictates that the framed formal announcement of her death is affixed to the railings at Buckingham Palace.

Ceremonial Gun Salutes Will Be Fired As A Mark Of Respect As Royal Residences Open To The Public Will Close.

Sam Knight wrote about the plans:

The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast at 6.30pm.

Here is the announcement from the royal family.

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II dies aged 96

Caroline Davies

Caroline Davies

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, has died.

Prince Charles, heir to the throne since the age of three, is now king, and will be officially proclaimed at St James’s Palace in London as soon as practicably possible.

Flags on landmark buildings in Britain and across the Commonwealth were being lowered to half mast as a period of official mourning was announced.

As Queen of the UK and 15 other realms, and head of the 54-nation Commonwealth, Elizabeth II was easily the world’s most recognizable head of state during an extraordinarily long reign.

Queen Elizabeth II with her maids of honor after her coronation.
Queen Elizabeth II with her maids of honor after her coronation. Photograph: PA

Coming to the throne at the age of 25, she successfully steered the monarchy through many squalls during decades of turbulent change, with her personal popularity providing ballast during the institution’s most difficult times.

Fifteen prime ministers served her, attesting to her extraordinary knowledge, experience of world affairs and mastery of political neutrality.

There were undoubted low points, but the mass outpouring of affection demonstrated on her silver, golden and diamond jubilees testified to the special place she held in the nation’s heart.

And she regarded her role as a life-long duty. In her silver jubilee message from her in 1977, the Queen said: “When I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people, and asked for God’s help to make that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”

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