Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled the United Kingdom for the longest period of time and served as its symbol for seven decades, passed away on Thursday at the age of 96 in Scotland.
The Queen passed away peacefully this afternoon at Balmoral, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace. The King and the Queen Consort will spend this evening and tomorrow in Balmoral before flying back to London.
Charles, Elizabeth’s 73-year-old oldest son, automatically ascends to the throne of the United Kingdom and 14 other nations, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Camilla, his wife, becomes the Queen Consort.
The queen’s family hurried to be by her side at her Scottish home, Balmoral, after learning that her health was deteriorating just after midday on Thursday when her doctors confirmed she was under medical supervision.
Since the end of last year, the queen had been experiencing what Buckingham Palace has referred to as “episodic mobility issues,” which had forced her to cancel almost all of her public appearances.
Only on Tuesday did she make her final public appearance when she named Liz Truss as her 15th premier as prime minister.
Flags throughout all of London’s governmental structures and palaces were flown at half-staff.
When her father King George VI passed away on February 6, 1952, Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, ascended to the throne at the age of barely 25.
The next June, she was crowned. The first broadcast coronation served as a preview of a new era in which media scrutiny of royals’ personal lives would grow.
She addressed her subjects on the day of her coronation, saying, “I have sincerely devoted myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine. I shall endeavour throughout my life and with all my heart to be worthy of your confidence.”
When Elizabeth became king, a sizable portion of Britain’s former dominion remained. It was recovering from the effects of World War Two, but food restriction and the dominance of class and privilege remained.
At the time, the Korean War was raging, Josef Stalin was in charge of the Soviet Union, and Winston Churchill was the prime minister of Britain.
Elizabeth experienced significant social upheaval and political transformation both domestically and internationally in the decades that followed. The struggles of her own family were played out in full view of the world, especially Charles and his late first wife Diana’s divorce.
Elizabeth strove to modernise the historic institution of monarchy while continuing to serve as a steadfast representation of stability and continuity for Britons amid a period of relative national economic collapse.