….Royal family, nation in mourning
The Queen, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, has passed away at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne.
Buckingham Palace has said the Queen ‘died peacefully’ this afternoon at Balmoral. The King and Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral and return to London tomorrow.
Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday lunchtime that Her Majesty had been under medical supervision at Balmoral after her doctors had become “concerned” about her health.
All of the Queen’s children, as well as the Duke of Cambridge, travelled immediately to Balmoral. The Queen was last pictured formally appointing the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral on Tuesday, her final public duty. She postponed a virtual Privy Council meeting the following day after being advised by doctors to rest.
Queen Elizabeth II is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Her eldest son, Prince Charles, will now become King, while his eldest son, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, assumes the position of heir to the throne.
REACTIONS TRAIL HER DEMISE
Sir Lindsay Hoyle: ‘She has been our Queen’
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said the Queen’s death is a “terrible loss for us all”, adding: “We will miss her beyond measure.”
He said: “For all of us, the Queen has been a constant presence in our lives – as familiar as a member of the family, yet one who has exercised a calm and steadying influence over our country. Most of us have never known a time when she was not there. Her death is not only a tragedy for the royal family, but a terrible loss for us all.
“During her 70 years on the throne – and even before that, as a teenager, reassuring and engaging with children and families disrupted by the Second World War – she has given our lives a sense of equilibrium.
“While her reign has been marked by dramatic changes in the world, Her Majesty has maintained her unwavering devotion to the UK, the British Overseas’ Territories and the Commonwealth of Nations – and her gentle authority and sound reason have been felt throughout.
“She has travelled the world extensively, modernised the royal family and is credited with inventing the royal ‘walkabout’, which enabled her to meet people from all walks of life during her visits.
“As head of state, she has provided advice and the benefit of long experience to 15 prime ministers during her reign – and met more than a quarter of all the American presidents in the history of the US.
“The Queen has been involved in everything that is important to us and which makes us who we are – from state occasions to royal weddings, and especially at Christmas, with her wise words and reflective annual message. She has been a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother – but she has been our Queen, and we will miss her beyond measure.”
HOW BRITONS RECEIVED THE NEWS
The speculations became rife on Wednesday when the public got wind of the medical condition of the Queen.
After hours of waiting and chatting in the crowd outside the Buckingham Palace gates, on Thursday, suddenly there was a hush.
“Is that – is that the flag being lowered?” said one man near the front, and all heads turned upwards, away from the phone screens that had been constantly refreshing, searching for news.
As the flag got to half past, there was a sudden joint pinging of phones all going off at once.
A round of applause sprang up out of nowhere, and suddenly a crowd of people waiting near the statue facing the palace started singing the national anthem. “God save the Queen!” they shouted, too late.
A young woman stood alone, sobbing. A man was on the phone, saying to his partner: “Just get down here, quick!”
The oiled operation began just minutes later, with a van bringing barriers in and placing them up. Just in time — already flowers were being laid.
Prime Minister to address the nation
It’s understood Liz Truss will address the nation this evening.
The Prime Minister was with the Queen on Tuesday where she was invited to form a government.