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The death of Queen Elizabeth II is being mourned in Britain and around the world. The country’s longest-reigning monarch died Thursday at age 96.
Large crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace in central London, while tributes poured in from across the country and around the world. Fears about the queen's health had been growing as the royal family rushed to Scotland to be by her side after Buckingham Palace said she had been placed under medical supervision.
Few Britons have known another monarch, so the end of Elizabeth’s reign after more than 70 years will thrust the royal family — and Britain — into days of mourning and an uncertain new era.
The country's new king, who will be known as King Charles III, has released a statement and will address the nation Friday.
Royal mourning period to be observed for 7 days after funeral
A period of Royal Mourning will be observed from now until seven days after Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
The date of the funeral has yet to be announced, but will be confirmed "in due course," it said, adding that the period of royal mourning will be observed by members of the royal family, royal household staff and representatives of the royal household on official duties, along with troops committed to ceremonial duties.
Royal residences are also expected to be closed until after the queen's funeral, including the Queen's Gallery and the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, along with the Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh, the statement said.
Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House, the queen's private estates, will also be closed during the mourning period, in addition to Hillsborough Castle in Northern Island, it added.
Early morning scenes at Buckingham Palace
China's leader sends condolences to Britain's new king
Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his condolences Friday to King Charles III over the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
In a message sent on behalf of the Chinese government and people, Xi expressed "deep condolences" over Elizabeth's death and extended sympathy to the royal family, the government and the British people, said Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency.
Noting that Elizabeth was the first British monarch to visit China, Xi said her death was a great loss to the British public, Xinhua reported.
Xi said that he attaches great importance to the development of China-U.K. relations and that he stands ready to work with Charles, noting that the two countries marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial diplomatic relations this year, the news agency said.
Church bells to toll across England on Friday
The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers is recommending that bells be tolled for one hour starting at noon local time (7 a.m. ET), the Church of England said.
“The death of the Sovereign is one of the rare occasions when fully muffled bells are sounded — a technique to create an echo by fitting pads to both sides of the bell clapper,” the Church of England said in a statement.
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: Queen Elizabeth was a source of unity
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he and the American people are extending their deepest sympathies to King Charles III, the royal family and the United Kingdom following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“For more than 70 years — a period during which the United Kingdom and the world witnessed unprecedented change — Queen Elizabeth personified a sense of stability. During a time of tremendous division, she was a source of unity,” Blinken said.
Blinken added in a statement that the queen “was the embodiment of the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”
“We join people around the world in mourning her passing, and we will forever be inspired by the memory of her service, leadership, and friendship,” he said.
Many other top government officials, heads of state and world leaders have expressed condolences following the death of the queen.
A moment to remember
Photo Gallery: The life and times of Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth’s death revives criticism of Britain’s legacy of colonialism
As the death Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II prompted an outpouring of grief from millions around the world, it also revived criticism of her legacy, highlighting the complicated feelings of those who saw her as a symbol of the British colonial empire — an institution that enriched itself through violence, theft and oppression.
“If anyone expects me to express anything but disdain for the monarch who supervised a government that sponsored the genocide that massacred and displaced half my family and the consequences of which those alive today are still trying to overcome, you can keep wishing upon a star,” Obianuju Anya, an associate professor of second language acquisition at Carnegie Mellon University, tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Her tweet had been retweeted more than 10,000 times and had garnered nearly 38,000 likes by Thursday evening. Anya did not immediately respond to requests for an interview made by phone and through Twitter.
Matthew Smith, a professor of history at University College London who directs the Center for the Study of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership, said: “The reactions indicate the complicated and mixed relationship that people have had with the British monarchy, people in the Commonwealth and particularly in the Caribbean.
Rams, Bills hold pregame moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth
A moment of silence to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II was held before the NFL kicked off the first game of its regular season in Los Angeles on Thursday.
“Today the world lost a beloved global figure with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II,” the announcer said before the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium.
“At this time, please join in a moment of silence in the memory of Queen Elizabeth, whose message of unity and peace inspired people throughout the world for generations.”
Thursday’s game is the first of the NFL’s regular season. The Rams won the last Super Bowl, which was held at SoFi in February.
King Charles' reign will be unlike his mother's
LONDON — In the millennium-long history of the British royal family, no heir has prepared for the crown longer than King Charles III.
He ascended to the throne Thursday after the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, fulfilling a destiny placed upon him at age 3, when she became the monarch in 1952. Charles’ wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, now has the title of queen consort.
Charles is also now head of the Commonwealth, a postcolonial group of 54 countries comprising 2.4 billion people. He is head of state in 15 of those nations — including Canada and Australia — although the queen’s death is likely to stoke an already simmering debate in the Caribbean and elsewhere about ditching their former colonial overseers for good.
‘Incredibly gracious and decent woman’: Biden reacts to Queen Elizabeth Il’s death
English newspapers commemorate the queen
Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar playing the queen, says she is 'proud to be an Elizabethan'
Helen Mirren, who won the best actress Academy Award in 2007 for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen,” paid tribute to the late monarch in an Instagram post Thursday afternoon.
“I am proud to be an Elizabethan,” Mirren wrote. “We mourn a woman, who, with or without the crown, was the epitome of nobility.”
“The Queen” chronicles Elizabeth’s response to the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The film was written by Peter Morgan, who went on to create Netflix’s “The Crown.”
Biden, first lady pay respects at British Embassy in Washington
President Joe Biden and the first lady visited the British Embassy in Washington on Thursday evening to pay their respects to the queen.
The couple took flowers, signed a condolence book and briefly visited with embassy staff.
“We mourn for all of you. She was a great lady,” Biden said.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, says she is 'heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen'
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, expressed her sorrow and condolences in a series of tweets upon news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“I am heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 70 years," she wrote.
Ferguson was married to Prince Andrew until their divorce in 1996.
“She has given her whole life selflessly to the people of the UK & the Commonwealth. To me, she was the most incredible mother-in-law and friend. I will always be grateful to her for the generosity she showed me in remaining close to me even after my divorce," Ferguson wrote.
"I will miss her more than words can express."
‘There will never be anybody like her again’: Londoners pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II
Elton John, Mick Jagger among U.K. rock royalty paying tribute to the queen
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, British rock royalty paid tribute on Twitter.
Rollings Stones frontman Mick Jagger said the queen was a staple in his life since childhood. "For my whole life Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has always been there," Jagger wrote. "I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much beloved grandmother of the nation. My deepest sympathies are with the Royal family."
The Beatles' Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr also honored the late monarch. McCartney added his condolences by making three succinct statements: “God bless Queen Elizabeth II,” “May she rest in peace” and “Long live The King.” Starr tweeted: “God bless Queen Elizabeth peace and love to all the family peace and love Ringo.”
Elton John wrote: “Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing. She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth.”
Prime minister alerted to queen's death 2 hours before public
No. 10 Downing St., the office of the British prime minister, said Liz Truss was told of the queen's death at 4:30 p.m. GMT by the Cabinet secretary, about two hours before it was shared publicly.
Truss, who became prime minister this week, then spoke to King Charles III, a spokesperson for the office said.
Beyond the speech she gave earlier Thursday, there are no other plans for Truss to make further statements, the spokesperson said. Anything else that occurs in the coming days will be a matter for Buckingham Palace.
Empire State Building to honor queen
The Empire State Building in Manhattan will be lit up Thursday night to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The handlers of the iconic New York City landmark's social media account said in a Twitter statement: “Tonight, our tower lights will shine in purple and sparkle in silver to honor the life and legacy of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.”
'London Bridge' in motion: Plan for the queen's death swings into action
The term "London Bridge" was trending on social media around the world Thursday as the queen's death set in motion well-rehearsed plans that have been honed over many years.
It's an event that courtiers and civil servants have long prepared for.
Read more about the plans for the days ahead here.
United Nations stands in silent tribute
The 193 members of the United Nations General Assembly and the 15 members of its Security Council stood in silent tribute to the queen.
Britain's ambassador to the U.N., Barbara Woodward, said that "her extraordinary service fostered peace and friendship worldwide," while Council President Nicolas de Riviere, who is France's ambassador, said the queen's "life was devoted to the service of her country."
Putin sends Britain's new king a message of condolence
Russian President Vladimir Putin has released a statement sending his "deepest condolences" to Charles, Britian's new king, on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
"The most important events in the recent history of the United Kingdom are inextricably linked with the name of Her Majesty," a message posted on the Kremlin's website said. "For many decades, Elizabeth II rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as authority on the world stage."
"I wish you courage and perseverance in the face of this heavy, irreparable loss," the statement added.
The U.S. flag at half-staff at the White House
'She was almost faultless,' former British PM John Major says
Speaking on the BBC in the wake of the queen’s death, former British Prime Minister John Major said the monarch provided the nation with continuity throughout her long reign and has served as an example for her people and country.
“She was almost faultless in the way she conducted the monarchy,” said Major, a Conservative who led the country between 1990 and 1997.
“She leaves behind the monarchy in very good shape,” he added.
The life and legacy of Britain’s longest-serving monarch
LONDON — She was born a royal but with little hope of wearing the crown.
Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, known by her family as Lilibet, was born April 21, 1926 — third in line to the throne after her uncle and her father. But a scandalous royal love affair changed the course of Lilibet’s life and paved the way for her to become the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch, a much-admired symbol of comfort and continuity and arguably the most famous woman in the world.
Elizabeth’s reign lasted from the industrial age to the internet age — 70 years of endurance and stoicism in which she met generations of legendary, mostly male, global leaders and helped steer Britain through the loss of its empire and its emergence as a midsized multicultural nation. From a young queen to the grandmother of the nation, decade after decade she smiled, waved, shook hands and chatted with a vast number of her subjects and admirers, despite family scandals and the tragedy of a dead princess.
Camilla, the wife of Britain's new king, to be queen consort
Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall and the wife of the monarch who will be officially known as King Charles III, will take on the title of queen consort once her husband is officially crowned.
Camilla faced criticism for her relationship with Charles, who was previously married to the popular Princess Diana. As a result, Camilla took on the lesser title of “princess consort.” But the queen said earlier this year that it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla be given the queen consort title when her son took the throne.
By custom, Camilla will be anointed at Charles’ coronation, although that could be omitted from the ceremony.
Outside Buckingham Palace as crowds pay their respects
BBC special coverage now nearing its 10th hour
The U.K.'s public broadcaster, the BBC, has been live on air with wall-to-wall coverage since the announcement from Buckingham Palace that doctors were concerned about the queen's health.
Its evening newscasts that followed the news of her death were not accompanied by the usual jingles, but were filled with commentary from somber royal experts, as well as current and former politicians.
Anchors have all worn black and have offered viewers frequent notices to ensure that no one just tuning in misses the news.
Pope Francis sends condolences to Britain's new king
Pope Francis praised the queen and shared his condolences with her family in a message he sent to the new king, Charles III.
"I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen’s eternal rest, and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the Nation and the Commonwealth, her example of devotion to duty, her steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ and her firm hope in his promises," said Francis, who added that he would pray for Charles as he took up his "high responsibilities as King."
The queen met with four popes during her reign of 70 years, according to the Catholic News Agency, most recently with Pope Francis in 2014. She also met Pope Pius XII in 1951 before taking the throne.
Former presidents pay tribute to the queen
Former U.S. presidents — from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump — offered their condolences Thursday.
“Queen Elizabeth’s historic and remarkable reign left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain,” Trump said in a post on his social media platform. “Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor.”
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama said the queen’s reign was “defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic, defying the odds and expectations placed on women of her generation.”
"Throughout her remarkable 70-year reign, she led Britain through great transformations with unfailing grace, dignity, and genuine care for the welfare of all its people," former President Bill Clinton said in a statement. "In sunshine or storm, she was a source of stability, serenity, and strength."
At age 97, Carter is the oldest living former president and he said in a statement of the queen's passing: "Her dignity, graciousness, and sense of duty have been an inspiration, and we join the millions around the world in mourning a remarkable leader."
U.K.'s soccer players and fans pay their respects
A large crowd joined players for a moment of silence honoring Queen Elizabeth II before Manchester United's Europa League contest against Spanish side Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday.
As players wearing black armbands gathered around the center circle for the tribute, cameras panned to solemn supporters in the stands, many with their eyes closed or heads bowed.
"The club recognises her immense contribution to public life, including sport, both here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth, and around the world," the English soccer giants said in a statement.
Arsenal, long rumored to be the queen’s favorite team, was already playing in the competition when the news emerged from Balmoral. "Along with many of our supporters today, we will be taking time to mourn and reflect on Her Majesty’s incredible life and devoted service," the club said in a statement.
Prince Harry arrives at Balmoral
Prince Harry, the queen’s grandson, has now arrived at Balmoral to join the rest of his family in grieving.
Harry’s elder brother, Prince William, who became the next in line to the British throne after the queen’s death, arrived at Balmoral shortly before his grandmother’s death. Harry arrived shortly after 8 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) after making his own way up to Scotland from London, the BBC reported.
His wife, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, did not travel with him, a spokesperson said earlier Thursday.
King Charles III to make televised address Friday
The king is expected to make a televised address Friday, his spokesperson has confirmed.
It will be the first time the nation will hear from its new monarch since Queen Elizabeth II's death.
Former British PM Theresa May mourns the queen's death
Former British leader Theresa May has paid tribute to the queen, saying she "devoted herself unreservedly to a life of service."
"It was the honour of my life to serve her as Prime Minister," May said in a statement. "But we should never forget that our Queen was a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers now are with her family."
"God Save the King," she added.
Huge crowd gathers at Buckingham Palace
LONDON — Some were hugging and crying, others sang the national anthem, all of the crowd of thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace to pay their respects.
“I can’t believe it. What can I say? She was an amazing monarch. She was our queen,” a tearful Michelle Kennedy told NBC News. “We will never see the likes of her again,” the 52-year-old mental health worker added.
David Taylor, 57, said that it was "the end of an era," adding that the monarch had "been a rock for so many people."
“She’s been here for our entire lives,” he said. “It’s going to take some getting used to.”
Former British PM Tony Blair mourns 'matriarch of our nation'
Tony Blair, British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, has remembered the queen as "warm, gracious, humorous and spirited" and "an enduring presence of strength and stability."
"She was not only respected but loved," Blair said in a statement. "We will mourn her. We will miss her. But our overwhelming sentiment will be of gratitude, profound, heartfelt and sincere thanks for what she did, what she stood for, for the life she lived and for what she gave us, her grateful subjects," he added.
"Her reign was indeed glorious. And it was our great good fortune to have had her reign over us," he said. "We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation."
Read the full statement here.
Zelenskyy: 'Our thoughts and prayers are with you'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences to the U.K., saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
“It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Zelenskyy wrote, as his own country grapples with the devastation of Russia's war.
"On behalf of the people, we extend sincere condolences to the @RoyalFamily, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you," he wrote in a tweet.
Britain's new king releases a statement
In his first statement as king, Charles marked the death of his "beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen" as a "moment of the greatest sadness" for his family and the world.
"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother," Charles said.
"I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world," he said. "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."
Leaders in France mourn queen and plan to darken Eiffel Tower
French President Emmanuel Macron praised the queen, a fluent French speaker, as a "friend of France" on Twitter in the moments after her death.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also mourned the monarch after her death and said the lights on the Eiffel Tower would be turned off tonight in tribute.
From Truman to Biden, Queen Elizabeth was beloved among U.S. presidents
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history, met with 13 sitting U.S. presidents during her lifetime, kindling a string of cordial relationships that helped strengthen the ties between the two nations. She died Thursday at age 96.
Harry Truman said she “captured the hearts” of the American public, while Barack Obama called her “truly one of my favorite people.”
Lyndon Johnson is the only one among the last 14 presidents whom she didn’t meet.
Here’s a look at the late queen’s history with U.S. presidents — including a few diplomatic faux pas.
'Our country's saddest day,' former PM Boris Johnson says
Boris Johnson, who left office as British prime minister earlier this week, said the queen's death has left an “ache” in everyone’s hearts and a “deep and personal sense of loss” that is “far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”
“This is our country’s saddest day,” he said in a statement Thursday. “In these first grim moments since the news, I know that millions and millions of people have been pausing whatever they have been doing, to think about Queen Elizabeth, about the bright and shining light that has finally gone out,” Johnson said.
“She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on,” he said.
Britain's new monarch will be known as King Charles III
Britain's new monarch is to be officially known as King Charles III, a spokesperson has confirmed.
His official name upon the death of the queen was unknown until now and was not expected to be announced so soon.
Biden calls Queen Elizabeth II 'a stateswoman of unmatched dignity'
President Joe Biden mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, calling her “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
In a statement, Biden and the first lady wrote that “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era.”
Irish leader hails queen's support for 'positive relations'
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, the head of the Irish government, said Queen Elizabeth II's "support for the Good Friday Agreement, reconciliation and mutual understanding was critical to advancing positive relations on these islands."
"I hope that in this time of mourning the British people and her family can draw comfort and be proud of the enormous contribution, which her majesty made in fostering and strengthening the British-Irish relationship," he said, later fondly recalling her May 2011 visit to Ireland in his remarks.
The Good Friday Agreement helped bring to a close decades of political violence in Northern Ireland, often referred to as The Troubles.
New British Prime Minister Truss says country is 'devastated'
Liz Truss, who only became British prime minister Tuesday, has said the queen was "the rock on which our country was built."
In a speech outside No. 10 Downing St. shortly after the news broke, Truss said that everyone was “devastated” at the news, which was a “huge shock to the nation and the world.”
“Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” Truss added. “Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.”
"Today the Crown passes, as it has done for more than 1,000 years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III," she said. Britain would "offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much to us for so long," the prime minister said, ending the statement by saying, "God save the king."