Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96

Buckingham Palace has confirmed the death of Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 96.

A Palace statement announced the news at 6.30pm on Thursday September 8, as the royal family enters a period of mourning.

It said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and return to London tomorrow.”

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Statement by King Charles III, the Queen’s eldest son, reading: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of greatest sorrow to me and all the members of my family.

“We deeply mourn the death of a beloved Sovereign and a much loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt across the country, the Kingdoms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

“During this time 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.”

Portrait of Princess Elizabeth 1950

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The Palace had previously confirmed that the late monarch was under medical supervision at Balmoral, since doctors were worried about her health. Senior members of the royal family and royal household headed to Balmoral on Thursday afternoon, shortly after the Palace’s announcement.

The announcement came just days after the Queen met new Prime Minister Liz Truss, who also made a statement outside Downing Street on Thursday night.

He described the Queen’s death as “a huge shock to the nation and the world” and said the late monarch was “a rock on which modern Britain was built”.

“Her devotion to duty is an example to us all,” Truss added, praising the Queen’s “great legacy”.

“Today the Crown passes, as it has for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III,” the prime minister continued.

“With the King’s family we mourn the loss of his mother and gather. We offer him our faith and devotion, just as his mother gave so much to us for so long.”

queen elizabeth ii, liz truss

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Opposition Leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “Today, we mourn the death of a remarkable sovereign. It is a deep, private loss for the Royal Family and all our thoughts are with them at this time. The nation shares his grief.”

Praising the Queen’s “life of service and dedication to our nation and the Commonwealth”, he continued: “Above the conflicts of politics, she stood not for what the nation fought for, but for what she agreed.

“As Britain changed rapidly around her, this devotion became the turning point of our world.”

coronation ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II, 1953

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Born in 1926, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in February 1952 after the death of her father, George VI. Her eldest son Charles, formerly Prince of Wales, is now King Charles III of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth.

During the Queen’s 70 years as head of the British monarchy, she has seen the country through political and social change and controversy, international crises and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the longest-serving and longest-reigning British monarch.

Having been a civil servant all her life, the then-Princess Elizabeth took up her first public duties with the royal family during World War II as the country endured the Blitz and later trained as a driver and engineer in the armed forces.

In 1947, she went on her first overseas tour with her parents, making a famous speech on her 21st birthday in which she said: “I declare before you that my whole life, long or short, will be devoted to service.”

Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II, 2007

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She would marry Philip Mountbatten (later Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh), formerly Prince of Denmark and Greece, in November 1947. The couple would remain devoted to each other for 73 years until Prince Philip’s death in April 2021 .

Queen Elizabeth II has curtailed her public engagements in recent years due to a series of health complications. In June 2022, it officially celebrated its Platinum Jubilee, with a series of high-profile public events attended by international celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Dame Helen Mirren, Craig David and Diana Ross.

The remarkable intrigue surrounding the royal family has seen Queen Elizabeth II portrayed memorably in both film and television dramas throughout her life.

Dame Helen Mirren won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the monarch The Queena review of the public outcry following the death of Elizabeth’s former daughter-in-law, Princess Diana, in a car crash in 1997;

queen elizabeth ii

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Mirren would later receive an Olivier Award for portraying Elizabeth II again The publica West End stage play chronicling the weekly meetings between the Queen and various British Prime Ministers between 1952 and 2013.

She shared a short tribute to the late queen on social media, writing: “I am proud to be an Elizabethan. We mourn a woman who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility.”

Most recently, three actresses played Queen Elizabeth II – Verity Russell, Claire Foy, Olivia Colman – in the prestigious Netflix drama series The crown, a big-budget drama inspired by the lives of royals. Imelda Staunton takes over the role for the show’s fifth and sixth seasons.

Other notable drama performances by the Queen include Prunella Scales in the BBC drama A question of performanceEmilia Fox and Samantha Bond in the 2009 documentary The QueenEmma Thompson in a Playhouse Gifts episode, and Kristin Scott Thomas in a rerun of it The public.

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge

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In 2012, the Queen had her own iconic theatrical moment when she appeared with Daniel Craig (who played James Bond) in an opening skit for the London Olympics.

For her Platinum Jubilee, she made a surprise appearance alongside Paddington Bear in a comedy skit to open the Platinum Party at the Palace, as they bonded over afternoon tea – and a shared love of jam sandwiches.

Elizabeth II is survived by her four children – King Charles III, plus Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex – as well as eight grandchildren, including princes William and Harry, and 12 great-grandchildren.

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