Queen Elizabeth has died today at the age of 96.
Her son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, is now King. He will address the shocked nation imminently, as the world grieves Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
All her children had rushed to Balmoral after doctors became ‘concerned’ for her health. Hours later she died, surrounded by her family.
At 6.30 pm her death was confirmed. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘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.
The Queen’s death will see Britain and her Commonwealth realms enter into a ten-day period of mourning as millions of her subjects in the UK and abroad come to terms with her passing.
And as her son accedes to the throne, there will also be a celebration of her historic 70-year reign that saw her reach her Platinum Jubilee this year – a landmark unlikely to be reached again by a British monarch.
Tributes are already pouring in for Her Majesty, to many the greatest Briton in history and undoubtedly the most famous woman on earth. To billions around the world, she was the very face of Britishness.
To her subjects at home, Her Majesty was the nation’s anchor, holding firm no matter what storm she or her country was facing – from the uncertain aftermath of the Second World War to, more recently, the pandemic. She was also steadfast as she dealt with tragedies and scandals in her own family, most recently the fallout from Megxit and the death of her beloved husband Prince Philip.
Charles will embark on a tour of the UK before his mother’s funeral with his wife Camilla, who the Queen announced would be crowned her eldest son’s Queen Consort in a historic statement to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee and 70 years on the throne on February 6.
The Queen’s passing came more than a year after that of her beloved husband Philip, her ‘strength and guide’, who died aged 99 in April 2021. Since his funeral, where she poignantly sat alone because of lockdown restrictions, her own health faltered, and she was forced to miss an increasing number of events mainly due to ‘mobility problems’ and tiredness.
In July she travelled to Scotland for her annual summer break, but cancelled her traditional welcome to Balmoral Castle in favour of a small more private event because of her health, believed to be linked to her ability to stand. And at the end of July, Prince Charles represented his mother and opened the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with the Duchess of Cornwall. In late August Queen missed the Braemar Gathering – the first time she was not at the Highland Games in her 70-year reign.
But she was well enough to meet with Boris Johnson at Balmoral to accept his resignation, before asking the 15th Prime Minister of her reign, Liz Truss, to form a Government. Her Majesty, who stood with the support of a stick and smiled as she greeted Ms Truss in front of a roaring fire, had not been seen in public for two months. It would be her final picture.