The UK Queen Elizabeth II has died

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom's longest-reigning queen, died at the age of 96 at Balmoral, after reigning for 70 years.

She passed away peacefully on Thursday afternoon at her Scottish estate, where she had spent the majority of the summer.

Since her accession to the throne in 1952, the Queen has witnessed an immense socioeconomic transformation.

Her son, King Charles III, described his mother's death as a "time of tremendous sadness" for him and his family, and said her loss will 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 assembled at Balmoral earlier in the day after the Queen's doctors had expressed worry about her health.

After doctors placed the Queen under medical monitoring, all of the Queen's children traveled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen.

Prince William, her grandson and now heir to the throne, and his brother, Prince Harry, were also present.

Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was chosen by the Queen on Tuesday, said the queen was the foundation of modern Britain, providing "the stability and strength that we required."

"We offer him our dedication and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long," she said of the new King.

"And, with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we herald in a new period in the beautiful history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying 'God save the King.'"

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, expressed "deep regret" for the Church of England, of which the monarch is the supreme authority.

"My prayers are with the King and the Royal Family," he stated.

Queen Elizabeth II's reign as head of state spanned postwar austerity, the shift from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War, and the United Kingdom's membership into – and exit from – the European Union.

Her tenure encompassed 15 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1874 and ending with Ms. Truss in 1975, 101 years later.

Throughout her rule, she met with her prime minister on a weekly basis.

Crowds waiting for information on the Queen's status at Buckingham Palace in London began crying as they learned of her death.

At 18:30 BST, the union flag atop the palace was lowered to half-mast, and an official notification notifying the death was put outside.

Following the death of the Queen, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, were named Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall.

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born on April 21, 1926, in Mayfair, London.

Few could have predicted she would become monarch, but in December 1936, her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American.

Elizabeth's father became King George VI, and Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the kingdom at the age of ten.

Britain was at war with Nazi Germany within three years. After their parents rejected recommendations that they are moved to Canada, Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of the wartime at Windsor Castle.

Elizabeth served five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service after turning 18 and was taught basic motor mechanics and driving skills. "I began to comprehend the esprit de corps that thrives in the face of adversity," she later recalled.

During the war, she corresponded with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who served in the Royal Navy. Their romance flourished, and the pair married on November 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey, with the prince assuming the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

She would later refer to him as "my strength and stay" throughout their 74-year marriage, until his death in 2021, at the age of 99.

Charles, their first son, was born in 1948, Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960, and Prince Edward in 1964. They gave their parents eight grandkids and twelve great-grandchildren.

In 1952, Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya representing the ill King when Philip informed her that her father had died. She returned to London as the new Queen right away.

"It was all very sudden taking on and doing the best job you could," she later reflected.

Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, at the age of 27, in front of a then-record television audience of more than 20 million people.

The following decades saw a significant change, with the end of the British Empire overseas and the Swinging '60s upending social standards at home.

Elizabeth redesigned the monarchy for a more submissive age, involving the public through walkabouts, royal visits, and attendance at public events.

Her dedication to the Commonwealth was unwavering; she visited each Commonwealth country at least once.

However, there were times of inner and public anguish.

In 1992, the Queen's "annus horribilis" fire destroyed Windsor Castle, which served as both a private house and a functioning palace, and three of her children's marriages failed.

Following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, the Queen was chastised for failing to respond publicly.

There were others who questioned the monarchy's relevance in modern society.

"No institution... should expect to be immune to the examination of those who give it their allegiance and support, let alone those who do not," she said.

Elizabeth, a 21-year-old princess, had vowed to devote her life to service.

During her Silver Jubilee in 1977, she declared, "Although that commitment was taken in my salad days when I was green in judgment, I do not repent or recant one word of it."

That same dedication to service was reiterated 45 years later in a thank you letter to the nation during her Platinum Jubilee weekend in June.

The occasion was marked by a variety of state ceremonies, a colorful festival of all things British, and boisterous street gatherings.

Despite the fact that the Queen's health prevented her from attending several events, she stated, "My heart has been with you all."

She was joined by three generations of her family on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the culmination of a spectacle, to the delight of vast crowds on the Mall.

King Charles, 73, ascends to the throne of 14 Commonwealth states.

His wife, Camilla, and his siblings, Princess Anne, Princes Andrew, and Edward are all present in Balmoral.

They are joined by Prince Edward's wife, Sophie, and Princes William and Harry.

Catherine, William's wife, stayed at Windsor with their three children, George, Charlotte, and Louis, as it was their first full day at a new school.

The Royal Family is presently in a state of mourning. Much of national life will be placed on pause in the next few days.

Official engagements will be canceled, and union flags will be flown at half-mast on royal homes, government buildings, the Armed Forces, and UK posts around the world.

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