In a statement, Buckingham Palace 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 royal family’s official website carried the message: “Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022” along with the official statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
Flags on landmark buildings in Britain were being lowered to half mast, as a period of official mourning was announced. Royal residences that are open to the public will be closed.
It is expected the bells of Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral, will toll their bells at midday on Friday, and ceremonial gun salutes will be fired in Hyde Park and at Tower Hill in London.
As is traditional, officials brought a notice confirming the Queen’s death to the gates of Buckingham Palace. A large crowd gathered to read it, and Royal Parks staff erected metal barriers to control the public. Those gathered sang the national anthem outside Buckingham Palace, with many crying after the flag was lowered to half mast.
As Queen of the UK and 14 other realms, and head of the 54-nation Commonwealth, Elizabeth II was easily the world’s most recognisable head of state during an extraordinarily long reign.
Coming to the throne at the age of 25, she successfully steered the monarchy through decades of turbulent change, with her personal popularity providing ballast during the institution’s more difficult times.
At her side for most of it, the Duke of Edinburgh remained her “strength and stay” during a marriage that withstand many strains, imposed by her unique position.
Despite a family life lived under the often challenging glare of publicity, Elizabeth II remained a calm and steadfast figure, weathering the divorces of three of her children, and the crisis precipitated by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
May her soul rest in peace