Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday afternoon, aged 96. The new king will be her eldest son Charles. He would be known as Charles III. “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,” the 73-year-old said in a statement. Flags at royal palaces and government buildings across London were lowered to half-mast. “The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” the new Prime Minister Liz Truss declared. Elizabeth was the 40th monarch in a royal line that followed Norman King William the Conqueror. Her marriage to Prince Philip lasted 73 years, until his death in April 2021. The Queen’s personal life was never mined by the media but she appeared smiling and cheerful in public.
Elizabeth’s devotion to duty and a life of service made her an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth. Elizabeth is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Reactions of world’s leaders were strong after Queen’s death. “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her,” they said in a statement. “Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world,” President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Bidden transmitted. “It is with deep sadness that I have learned of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was the world’s longest serving Head of State and one of the most respected personalities worldwide. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family and the British people,” European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen declared. “Queen Elizabeth II was a good friend of the United Nations, and visited our New York Headquarters twice, more than fifty years apart. She was deeply committed to many charitable and environmental causes and spoke movingly to delegates at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow. “I would like to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her unwavering, lifelong dedication to serving her people. The world will long remember her devotion and leadership,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.