IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Queen Elizabeth II’s death: Britain mourns longest-serving monarch

The 96-year-old queen died Thursday at Balmoral, her castle in Scotland.

This liveblog is now closed. For the latest updates click here.

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

Flowers are seen at the gate of Buckingham Palace in London, Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP
People hug each other as they gather to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace in London on Sept. 9, 2022, a day after Queen Elizabeth II died at the age of 96.Daniel Leal / AFP - Getty Images

Late night hosts react to Queen Elizabeth Il’s death

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

Church bells are expected to toll across England on Friday to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-reigning monarch, who died Thursday at age 96.

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.

Image: Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey in London.Tomas Marek / Shutterstock file

“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.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Washington on Aug. 15.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in Washington on Aug. 15.Mandel Ngan / Pool via AP file

A moment to remember

Queen Elizabeth Under 'Medical Supervision'
A man holds a Union flag umbrella as a rainbow appears Thursday outside Buckingham Palace in London.Samir Hussein / WireImage

Photo Gallery: The life and times of Queen Elizabeth II

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret make a broadcast to the children of the British Empire during World War II on Oct. 10, 1940.
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret make a broadcast to the children of the British Empire during World War II on Oct. 10, 1940.Getty Images
Image: The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was held June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey in London, more than a year after Elizabeth, then 26, ascended the throne of the United Kingdom upon the death of her father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was held June 2, 1953, in Westminster Abbey in London, more than a year after Elizabeth, then 26, ascended the throne of the United Kingdom upon the death of her father, King George VI, on Feb. 6, 1952.Keystone / Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout in Portsmouth, England, during her Silver Jubilee tour of Great Britain on June 29, 1977.
Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout in Portsmouth, England, during her Silver Jubilee tour of Great Britain on June 29, 1977.Ron Bell / PA Images via Getty Images file
Image: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip look at a homemade wedding anniversary card, given to them by their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle on Nov. 17, 2020 ahead of their 73rd wedding anniversary.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip look at a homemade wedding anniversary card, given to them by their great-grandchildren Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle on Nov. 17, 2020, ahead of their 73rd wedding anniversary.Chris Jackson / Buckingham Palace via AFP - Getty Images

See Queen Elizabeth II's life in photos

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.

Read the full story here.

The world reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth II

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.

Read the full story here.

New Portraits Of The Prince Of Wales & Duchess Of Cornwall To Mark 50th Anniversary Of The Investiture & To Celebrate Wales Week 2019
HRH Prince Charles in Myddfai, Wales, in 2019.Chris Jackson / Clarence House via Getty Images file

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

Image: President Joe Biden signs the condolence book at the British Embassy in Washington to pay his respects following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, as first lady Jill Biden and British ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce look on, on Sept. 8, 2022.
President Joe Biden signs the condolence book at the British Embassy in Washington on Thursday to pay his respects following the death of Queen Elizabeth II as first lady Jill Biden and Karen Pierce, the British ambassador to the U.S., look on.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

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."

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

Image: A man walks away after lowering the U.S. flag to half-mast at the White House on Thursday.
Olivier Douliery / AFP - Getty Images

'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.  

Read the full story here.

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

Image:  Crowds gather in front of Buckingham Palace to pay their respects following the death  of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
Leon Neal / Getty Images
Image: People gather to pay their respects outside Buckingham Palace, after the announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday.
Daniel Leal / AFP - Getty Images

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.”

Image: President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II during a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011.
President Barack Obama and Queen Elizabeth II during a State Banquet in Buckingham Palace on May 24, 2011.Lewis Whyld / WPA Pool

"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.

Image: The teams pose for a moment's silence following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, ahead of the UEFA Europa League Group E football match between Manchester United and Real Sociedad, at Old Trafford stadium, in Manchester, on Sept. 8, 2022.
Oli Scarff / AFP via Getty Images


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.

Britons feel ‘personal loss’ after queen's death, royal commentator says

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.

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.

Read the full story here.

'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."

The American flag is lowered to half-staff over the U.S. Capitol

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

'Profoundly sad moment': First minister of Scotland reflects on queen's death

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, where Queen Elizabeth II died this afternoon, said the monarch's death is a "profoundly sad moment" for the nation, the Commonwealth and the world.

"On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to The King and the Royal Family," Sturgeon said in a tweet.

Queen's death comes at challenging economic and political moment

Queen Elizabeth II’s death comes at a precarious moment for the United Kingdom, both politically and economically. 

The queen died mere days after officially appointing the country’s latest prime minister, Liz Truss, a Conservative. The news of the queen's poor health interrupted the British Parliament as it debated the government’s plans to combat spiraling energy bills amid a growing cost-of-living crisis.

Prince William becomes heir to British throne

Prince William became the next in line to the British throne following Queen Elizabeth II's death Thursday. The new king is Charles, the queen's eldest son.

In a statement posted on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, Charles said the death was "a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family."

The Duke of Cambridge has not yet made a public statement on his grandmother's death. He is married to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Proclamation of Queen Elizabeth II’s death posted at Balmoral Castle

Canadian PM expresses condolences

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was one of the first world leaders to reflect on the queen's death.

"It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II," Trudeau wrote in a tweet. "She was a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history."

Biden briefed on the death of the queen

President Joe Biden was informed of the death of Queen Elizabeth II by senior advisers Kate Bedingfield, Mike Donilon and Ron Klain during a meeting in the Oval Office.

A White House official said British Prime Minister Liz Truss had abruptly left a video conference with Biden and other allies earlier Thursday, an indication that the queen had died.

The president canceled a speech on Covid vaccinations Thursday afternoon following the news.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who learned of the queen's death during her daily press briefing, said, “Our hearts go to the people of the United Kingdom, to the queen and to her family.” 

Royal website goes dark following death of Queen Elizabeth II

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the official royal website has gone dark.

The site currently has a black background with a photo of the late monarch and the palace's official statement under the image.

"The official website of the Royal Family is temporarily unavailable while appropriate changes are made," the website said.

The Union Flag flies at half-staff above Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth II death
Yui Mok / PA Images via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II died 'peacefully,' royal family says

"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," the royal family said in a statement announcing the news at 6:30 p.m. local time (1:30 p.m. ET).

"The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow," the statement read, referring to Elizabeth's son Charles and his wife, Camilla.

Charles becomes king

Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, is now king of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth Realms.

Charles, 73, is the eldest of four children born to the queen and her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.

Charles immediately became king upon Elizabeth's death.

Watch: Queen Elizabeth II’s life through the years

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, dies at 96

Queen Elizabeth II — whose 70-year reign spanned wars, a pandemic, 14 U.S. presidents and the winding down of Britain’s vast empire — has died.

The longest-serving British monarch was 96.

Her eldest son, Charles, is now king of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth Realms.

Read the full story here.

World leaders share messages of support

In addition to President Joe Biden, leaders from around the world are sharing messages of support for the queen.

"My thoughts, and the thoughts of Canadians across the country, are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at this time," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a tweet. "We’re wishing her well, and sending our best to the Royal Family."

The queen is Canada's head of state, as she is for the other 14 Commonwealth realms.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also said during a news conference that her prayers were with the queen.

"She represents the whole history of the Europe that is our common home with our British friends," von der Leyen said, according to The Associated Press. "She has given to all of us in all these years, always, stability, confidence. She's shown an immense amount of courage. She is a legend in my eyes, and therefore my prayers are with her."

Video shows senior royals arriving in Scotland after flying to join family

The queen posed for a relaxed photo at Balmoral on Tuesday

Before she officially invited Liz Truss to become the 15th prime minister of her reign Tuesday, the queen posed for this portrait.

Taken in the drawing room at Balmoral Castle, the photo offers a glimpse into the home life of the monarch at her Scottish summer home.

Jane Barlow / AP

Senior royals arrive at Balmoral as family gathers

Nearly all members of the queen's immediate family who were not already at Balmoral Castle in Scotland have now arrived.

Prince William drove a Range Rover carrying the queen's sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, and his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

The group arrived shortly after 5 p.m. local time (noon ET), having flown to Scotland.

Image: Queen Elizabeth Under 'Medical Supervision'
Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images

Harry will travel to Scotland without Meghan, spokesperson says

Image: Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, leave after a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II at St Paul's Cathedral in London, on June 3, 2022.
Meghan and Prince Harry leave a service of thanksgiving for the reign of Queen Elizabeth II in London in June.Matt Dunham / AP Pool

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, will not travel to Scotland to see the queen with her husband, Prince Harry, her spokesperson said Thursday afternoon.

Harry's elder brother, Prince William, arrived at Balmoral Castle with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward after 5 p.m. local time (noon ET).

Why Balmoral is so important to the royal family

Aberdeenshire. Scotland. The Balmoral castle. summer residence of the British Royal Family.
Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is traditionally the summer residence of the royal family. Masci Giuseppe / UIG via Getty Images

Nestled in the Scottish countryside, Balmoral Castle has been the Scottish home of the royal family since it was purchased for Queen Victoria by her husband, Prince Albert, in 1852. 

Queen Elizabeth II has been going to the estate since she was a child and has regularly spent her summer vacations on the property, which covers an area of around 50,000 acres. 

At its heart is a large palace with prominent turrets and a clock tower, but the estate also features scores of other buildings, including cottages that the public can rent at various times of the year and use as a base to explore mountains, forests and the rugged countryside in the region.

Prince Charles honeymooned there with Diana, the Princess of Wales, while his sons revealed in the documentary “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy” that it was the place where they last spoke to their mother.

Biden briefed on the queen

President Joe Biden was briefed Thursday morning on the condition of the queen, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

Kirby told reporters that Biden will be “updated throughout the day” and said the president’s thoughts were “solidly and squarely with the queen and her family.”

During a video call Thursday with allies to discuss the situation in Ukraine, Biden told British Prime Minister Liz Truss that he and the first lady were thinking “very much” about the queen and the people of the United Kingdom, Kirby said.

BBC News breaks into main programming with anchor dressed in black

BBC News broke into a Thursday afternoon episode of "Bargain Hunt" on BBC One with the news that Queen Elizabeth II was under medical supervision.

The screen turned black almost 20 minutes before the afternoon news was set to start at 1 p.m. GMT. Anchor Joanna Gosling then appeared on-screen to announce the news about the queen's status, sharing that "doctors have become concerned for her health, and she is now under the supervision of doctors. It is understood she is comfortable and immediate family members have been informed."

Longtime anchor Huw Edwards appeared on-screen in a black suit, white shirt and black tie, which did not go unnoticed online. His outfit followed the BBC's dress code when a royal family member dies.

BBC One is expected to continue with royal coverage at least until the 6 p.m. news.

Queen appointed new British PM at Balmoral, breaking with tradition

The queen formally appointed Liz Truss as the new British leader Tuesday at Balmoral, the first time in her 70-year reign that she has performed the ceremonial royal duty anywhere but at Buckingham Palace in London.

Truss, who won the race to succeed Boris Johnson as leader of the ruling Conservative Party, is the 15th prime minister during the monarch's reign.

The ceremony, known as “kissing hands,” was moved to Scotland to provide certainty about the schedule because of the 96-year-old queen's mobility problems.

Queen Elizabeth II greets newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle on Sept. 6, 2022, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Jane Barlow / WPA Pool via AFP - Getty Images

Messages of support from U.K. political, religious leaders

British leaders continue to send messages of support for Queen Elizabeth II following the news that the monarch is under medical supervision, with members of the royal family gathering by her side.

"The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace," Liz Truss, who was appointed Britain's prime minister by the queen just days ago, tweeted.

"Along with the rest of the country, I am deeply worried by the news from Buckingham Palace this afternoon," Keir Starmer, leader of the U.K.'s main opposition Labour Party, said.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England, offered prayers for Elizabeth. "My prayers, and the prayers of people across the @churchofengland and the nation, are with Her Majesty The Queen today," Justin Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, tweeted.

Who is the personal doctor to the queen?

The queen's personal doctor is Huw Thomas, whose official title is head of the medical household and physician to the queen.

Thomas was given his role in 2014, the Press Association news agency reported, and received a knighthood last year in what was seen as a personal thank-you for his care to the royal family. He was also part of the team that cared for the Duchess of Cambridge during her pregnancy and the birth of Princess Charlotte in 2015 and Prince Louis in 2018.

Thomas is also professor of gastrointestinal genetics at Imperial College London, a title he has held since 2007.

Speaking after being awarded the knighthood, he said: "It’s a very enjoyable and rewarding role — completely different from what I would normally be doing.

"The nature of the work is interesting because you see how a whole different organisation, the Royal Household, operates."

Moody skies over London as the U.K. awaits news of the queen

Frank Augstein / AP

Queen's health fears come after several recent medical issues

Fears for the health of 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II come after a number of recent health issues, including her testing positive for Covid and having to avoid a number of engagements after doctors advised her to rest.

In October 2021, the queen spent the night at a hospital for "preliminary investigations," a Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed at the time. She later returned to her Windsor Castle home and was "in good spirits," they said. Doctors advised her to cancel most engagements in the following weeks.

In February, she tested positive for the coronavirus and experienced mild cold-like symptoms.

It was only in late March that the monarch made her first public appearance in five months, when the royal family and other dignitaries gathered for a memorial service in honor of her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year at age 99.

Onlookers gather outside Balmoral on Thursday

Queen Elizabeth II health
Andrew Milligan / PA via Getty Images

Royal expert explains succession in the British monarchy

Prince Harry and Meghan head to Balmoral

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are traveling to Scotland alongside the rest of the royal family, a spokesperson for the couple said.

They were already in Europe, attending a number of events in England and one in Germany. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also returned to the United Kingdom in June from their home in the United States for the queen's Platinum Jubilee.

Prince Charles, heir to the throne, is by queen's side

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have traveled to Balmoral, his Clarence House office said Thursday.

Charles has increasingly taken on some of the monarch's ceremonial duties in recent months, standing in for her at the State Opening of Parliament and taking the salute from parading military members at the Horse Guards Parade during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June.

Changing of the guard ceremony canceled at Buckingham Palace

Image: Queen Elizabeth Under 'Medical Supervision'
Leon Neal / Getty Images

NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons reports from Buckingham Palace

Image: Queen Elizabeth Under 'Medical Supervision'
Leon Neal / Getty Images

Members of the royal family touch down at Aberdeen Airport

A flight carrying seven members of the royal family has landed at Aberdeen Airport in Scotland.

Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, touched down shortly before 4 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET).

After hopping out of a small jet, they got into vehicles on the tarmac that will take them up to Balmoral, around 45 miles west of the Scottish city.

Worried people begin to gather outside Buckingham Palace

Image: Queen Elizabeth Under 'Medical Supervision'
Leon Neal / Getty Images

Queen under medical supervision as doctors are ‘concerned for her health’

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II was placed under medical supervision Thursday after doctors became concerned for the 96-year-old monarch’s health.

“Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

It added that the nation’s much-loved figurehead “remained comfortable” at Balmoral, the castle in Scotland where she spends her summers.