Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned longer than any other British monarch, has died aged 96 today.
er death was confirmed by a statement from Buckingham Palace.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” a statement read.
Prince Charles now becomes king, and his wife Camilla the queen consort.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the short statement continued.
In a separate statement signed by “His Majesty the King”, Charles said: “The death of my beloved mother, her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
“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.
“During this period 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.”
The queen’s family, including her children Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and grandsons Princes William and Harry, rushed to be at her bedside at her summer residence of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
It is not clear whether the family arrived when the queen had already passed, and Harry is still en route.
A statement issued by Buckingham Palace this morning informed the public that the queen’s health had deteriorated. She had cancelled a virtual meeting on Wednesday, where she was due to meet ministers of the new British government.
This came a day after appointing Liz Truss as prime minister at Balmoral.
Queen Elizabeth, who was born in February 1926, ascended to the throne in February 1952 and was crowned in June 1953.
She had experienced increasing health issues in recent years as she aged, with mobility issues becoming apparent. In some of the last photos issued of the queen, she was seen using a walking stick.
Appearing outside 10 Downing Street, new British prime minister Liz Truss said the UK was “devastated” by death of the queen, the “rock” on which modern Britain was built.
The said Charles would now be referred to as King Charles III, finishing her statement: “God save the king.”
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” she said.
“Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure. She has been our longest-ever reigning monarch.
“It is an extraordinary achievement to have presided with such dignity and grace for 70 years. Her life of service stretched beyond most of our living memories. In return, she was loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom and all around the world.”
Former prime minister Boris Johnson said: “This is our country’s saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy. That is why we loved her. That is why we grieve for Elizabeth the Great, the longest serving and in many ways the finest monarch in our history.
“It was one of her best achievements that she not only modernised the constitutional monarchy, but produced an heir to her throne who will amply do justice to her legacy, and whose own sense of duty is in the best traditions of his mother and his country.
“Though our voices may still be choked with sadness we can say with confidence the words not heard in this country for more than seven decades. God Save The King.”
In a statement shortly after her death, President Michael D Higgins paid fond tribute to Queen Elizabeth.
“It is with profound regret and a deep personal sadness that I have learnt of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” he said.
“On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I express my heartfelt sympathy to His Majesty King Charles and to the Royal Family on their very great personal loss. May I offer my deepest condolences to the British people and to the members of the Commonwealth on the loss of a unique, committed and deeply respected Head of State.
“Her reign of 70 years encompassed periods of enormous change, during which she represented a remarkable source of reassurance to the British people. This was a reassurance based on a realism of the significance of present events, rather than any narrow conception of history. This was so well reflected by a remarkable generosity of spirit which helped to foster a more inclusive relationship both with the British people themselves and with those with whom her country has experienced a complex, and often difficult, history.
“As President of Ireland, I recall the exceptional hospitality afforded to Sabina and myself by the Queen and the late Prince Philip on our four day State Visit to Britain in 2014. Together we celebrated the deeply personal interconnection between the Irish and British people, a connection embodied by the hundreds of thousands of families who have moved between our shores over the centuries.
“As we know, the Queen often spoke of how much she enjoyed her own historic State Visit to Ireland in 2011, the first such Visit by a British monarch since Irish independence, and during which she did so much through eloquent word and generous gesture to improve relations between our two islands.
“Queen Elizabeth’s Visit was pivotal in laying a firm basis for an authentic and ethical understanding between our countries. During those memorable few days eleven years ago, the Queen did not shy away from the shadows of the past. Her moving words and gestures of respect were deeply appreciated and admired by the people of Ireland and set out a new, forward looking relationship between our nations – one of respect, close partnership and sincere friendship.
“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis.”
Meanwhile, a statement issued by Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that Queen Elizabeth’s reign was one of historic duration, immense consequence, and a focus of respect and admiration around the world.
“Her dedication to duty and public service were self-evident and her wisdom and experience truly unique.
“The Queen’s passing is indeed the end of an era. Her State Visit to Ireland in 2011 marked a crucial step in the normalisation of relations with our nearest neighbour.
“That visit was a great success, largely because of the many gracious gestures and warm remarks made by the Queen during her time in Ireland.
“Her popularity with the Irish people was also very evident and clearly made a very positive impact on the Queen. In particular, I recall the warmth of the welcome she received from the public in Cork during her walkabout at the English Market.
“To her grieving family and people, the Irish Government join with you in mourning the loss of an exceptional woman who led by quiet and dignified example and who touched so many lives over her exceptionally long reign.
“Our world is a poorer place for her passing but a far richer and better place as a result of her long life and enduring contribution,” Mr Martin said.
US president Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden said: “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. Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.”
In Canada, where the British monarch is the country’s head of state, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saluted her “wisdom, compassion and warmth.” In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people. She personified dignity and decency in public life. Pained by her demise.”
DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the queen had been a “steadfast and unshakeable head of state”.
“Her Majesty led by example in Northern Ireland and reached out the hand of friendship to help with the reconciliation process,” he said. “We are duty-bound to build on that foundation.”
Sinn Féin vice president Michelle O’Neill said she had learned of the death of the queen with “deep regret”.
She tweeted: “The British people will miss the leadership she gave as monarch.
“I would like to offer my sincere sympathies and condolences to her children, and wider family as they come to terms with their grief.
“I wish to especially acknowledge the profound sorrow of our neighbours from within the unionist community who will feel her loss deeply.
“Personally, I am grateful for Queen Elizabeth’s significant contribution and determined efforts to advancing peace and reconciliation.”
The cross-community Alliance Party leader Naomi Long said her thoughts and prayers were with the royal family.
“They are mourning a much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother,” she said.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood said: “My thoughts and the thoughts of all those in the SDLP are with Queen Elizabeth’s family at an extraordinarily difficult time.
“The blessing of a long life does not make the burden of saying goodbye any lighter.”
“I also want to extend my deep condolences to all those, across the world, but particularly in Northern Ireland for whom the Queen held a cherished place in their lives and their hearts.”
Former US president Bill Clinton tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family and all the people Her Majesty inspired throughout her lifetime of service.”
The British monarch’s death comes 17 months after the death of her husband, Prince Philip.
She was the longest serving monarch in UK history and the second-longest serving monarch in history, behind France’s Louis XIV.
Prince Charles, the queen’s eldest son, and longest heir apparent in British history, will now become king.
The queen and Prince Philip made an historic State visit to Ireland in May 2011, on the invitation of then-President Mary McAleese. It was the first visit by a reigning British monarch to the Republic.
The visit was seen as a turning point in Ireland-British relations, and a symbolic gesture, coming 13 years after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. During her visit – which saw the largest security operation in the history of this State – she visited Croke Park, the Garden of Remembrance, Trinity College and Áras an Úachtarán.
A speech given by the queen during her visit, in which she opened with a line as Gaeilge, was widely praised. In it she celebrated the ongoing peace in Northern Ireland and the further normalisation of ties between Dublin and London.
Mrs McAleese said this evening: “The people of Ireland will fondly remember her historic visit in 2011 when her presence and her words did so much to cement a culture of reconciliation and partnership between these islands. The warm welcome she received underlined the great desire of the Irish people, a desire strongly reciprocated by Her Majesty, The Queen, for good neighbourly relationships to flourish between us. Let us hope that legacy, in which she invested so much, will be honoured and realised.”
Britain’s royal family has been besieged by controversy in recent years, with scandal surrounding Prince Andrew while Prince Harry stepped back from his royal duties to live as a civilian in the US with his wife, Meghan Markle.
More to follow..
https://www.independent.ie/news/charles-becomes-king-after-queen-elizabeth-ii-the-longest-serving-british-monarch-in-history-dies-aged-96-41972753.html Queen Elizabeth II death: Charles becomes king after Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving British monarch in history, dies aged 96