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The world pays tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, the nation’s figurehead and a towering presence on the world stage for seven decades, died peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday aged 96.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” the palace said in a statement.

News that the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday when her doctors said she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to be by her side.

Thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace, in central London, and there was a stunned silence when the flag was lowered to half-mast. The crowd surged to the gates as the notice announcing the death of the only monarch most Britons have ever known was attached to the black iron gates.

Thousands of people across the UK and the world are still reacting to the death of Queen Elizabeth II with tributaries and condolence messages, Queen Elizabeth will lie in rest at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh as preparations are made for her funeral, which is expected in around 10 days.

Because the Queen died in Scotland , the coffin will then be flown to London, where hundreds of thousands of people will be allowed to file past over a period of four days’ lying in state at Westminster Hall.

A state funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey in ten days’ time, which will see the nation observe a two minutes’ silence, before the queen is buried at Windsor Castle. 

Flags across the U.K. will be lowered to half-mast ahead of a national minute’s silence and the start of an official period of mourning.

According to sources, over the next few days there is a schedule of events and ceremonies planned whose details are yet to be confirmed:

On Friday,

King Charles III, her eldest son who became King the moment the Queen died, will make his first speech as King, according to his spokesman. No time has yet been given for his remarks.

At midday, bells will toll in tribute to the Queen at Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Windsor Castle.

Gun salutes of 96 rounds to mark each year of her life will be fired in Hyde Park and elsewhere at 1pm.

A remembrance service is due to take place at St Paul’s Cathedral in the evening attended by the prime minister and other senior ministers.

Saturday

The ceremony, in which Charles will be formally proclaimed King will take place at St James’s Palace in London in front of a ceremonial body known as the Accession Council.

At the meeting, the death of Queen Elizabeth will be announced and a traditional proclamation will be read aloud.

King Charles will then be expected to attend a second meeting with the group where he will make his first declaration and swear an oath to preserve the Church of Scotland. After trumpeting and fanfare, he will be formally declared the new King as gun salutes are fired from sites around the city.

Prince now King Charles III (left), Queen ELizabeth II (middle) and Prince Andrew (right)

Flags will return to full mast for a 24-hour period beginning at 13:00 BST on Saturday to mark the proclamation of King Charles as King, before returning to half-mast.

Life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II

Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, the elder daughter of Prince Albert, Duke of York, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon had little chance of assuming the throne, until late 1936, her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson, her father; King George VI became King and 10-year-old “Lilibet” (as she was known within the family) became the heir presumptive to the throne.

As a young princess she first took on public duties during the Second World War, appearing on the radio and being appointed one of her father’s effective deputies as counselor of state. 

Queen Elizabeth II crowned on 2 June, 1953 in Westminster Abbey. Photo Credit: History

She became queen in 1952 after the premature death of her father George VI, and went on to become both the country’s longest-lived and longest-serving monarch.

In 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a marriage which lasted 73 years until his death in 2021 and produced four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. 

Prince Philip Mountbatten and Queen Elizabeth together with their four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward.

The queen has been affected by mobility problems over the last year and greatly reduced her public appearances, including missing the state opening of parliament in May and a service of thanksgiving to celebrate her seventy years on the throne.

She is credited with revitalizing the monarchy, embarking on a seven-month world tour shortly after she took the throne and helping to secure the transition of the Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations.

King Charles III automatically becomes head of the Commonwealth, an association of 56 independent countries and 2.4 billion people. For 14 of these countries, as well as the UK, the King is head of state.

King Charles III will embark on a tour of the U.K, starting with a visit to the Scottish parliament and a service at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

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