Britain’s Queen Elizabeth passes away, Buckingham Palace confirms
Queen Elizabeth, the longest reigning monarch in Britain and leader of the nation for seven decades, passed away at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Her eldest son, Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the UK and head of state of 14 other countries, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Her family had hastened with her to her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle after doctors had expressed their concern about her health. She suffered from what Buckingham Palace has called “episodic mobility problems” since last year, forcing her to withdraw from almost all her public activities.
Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, became the queen after the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952.
She was coronated in June of the following year. The first TV coronation was a foretaste of a new world in which the lives of royalty were to be increasingly scrutinized by the media.
TV and radio stations interrupt regular programming to broadcast news, with long special schedules prepared in place to remember her long life and rule.
The national anthem, “God Save the Queen”, was sung. The flags were lowered and the church bells sounded in memory of a woman once depicted as the “last global monarch”.
The period of national mourning will culminate in a final public farewell to Westminster Abbey in downtown London.
The coronation of Charles, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will be held in the same historical surroundings, as it has done for centuries, on a date to be fixed.