Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch, died at age 96 on Thursday.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the royal family posted on its official site. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Elizabeth’s son Charles, 73, formerly known as the Prince of Wales, will be Elizabeth’s successor as monarch of the British royal family, although his coronation date has yet to be announced.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss told the nation, “Today the Crown passes, as it has done for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, his majesty King Charles III.”
In an official statement, King Charles said:
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of the 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 of the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.”
Elizabeth became queen at age 25, succeeding her father King George VI after his death on Feb. 6, 1952. She was formally crowned on June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey on her way to a 50-year reign.
Tributes to the queen have already begun, one of the first being a line of black cabs parking in front of The Mall in London, as the roads around Buckingham Palace have been closed.
Crowds also formed outside of the royal palace, creating floral tributes and singing the national anthem.
In the U.S., President Joe Biden ordered the White House flag and flags across federal buildings to be lowered at half-staff in her honor.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era,” Biden said. “She was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special. The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity. Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.”
Here in New York, the Empire State Building has been lit in purple and silver in the queen’s honor. ♦
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