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Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died

Buckingham Palace confirmed the death of Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

Royal visit to Scotland - Day 6 Source: Jane Barlow/PA

BRITAIN’S MONARCH QUEEN Elizabeth II has died aged 96.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the death of Britain’s longest-serving monarch.

“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,” it said.

The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast at 6.30pm. BBC One played the British national anthem following the announcement, showing a photograph of Elizabeth Windsor, followed by a royal crest on a black background and the words ‘Queen Elizabeth II’.

The queen’s son Charles said the death of his mother is “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.”

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

“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,” Charles said.

It was also confirmed that Charles will be known as King Charles III.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, dressed in black, addressed Britain outside her official residence on Downing Street in London.

“We are all devastated by the news that we have just heard from Blamoral. The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” Truss said.

“It’s an extraordinary achievement to have presided with such dignity and grace for 70 years. Her life of service stretched beyond most of our living memories.

“In return she was loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom and all around the world.

“She has been a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons – her devotion to duty is an example to us all,” the UK leader added.

Tributes

News of the death unleashed a flood of tributes from around the world. 

President Michael D Higgins issued a statement expressing sympathy with the UK royal family on behalf of the people of Ireland.

“On behalf of the people of Ireland, may I express my heartfelt sympathy to His Majesty King Charles and to the Royal Family on their very great personal loss. May I offer my deepest condolences to the British people and to the members of the Commonwealth on the loss of a unique, committed and deeply respected Head of State,” he said.

“Her Majesty served the British people with exceptional dignity. Her personal commitment to her role and extraordinary sense of duty were the hallmarks of her period as queen, which will hold a unique place in British history,” president Higgins added.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin conveyed his deepest sympathy following the death of the queen.

“The queen’s reign was one of historic duration, immense consequence and a focus of respect and admiration around the world. Her dedication to duty and public service were self-evident and her wisdom and experience truly unique,” Martin said.

The Taoiseach said that Elizabeth’s passing is “the end of an era”.

“Her state visit to Ireland in 2011 marked a crucial step in the normalisation of relations with our nearest neighbour. That visit was a great success, largely because of the many gracious gestures and warm remarks made by the queen during her time in Ireland,” he added.

In her 70 years as queen, she was seen as a uniting presence for Britain as it underwent massive social and economic change, serving as a living reminder of the country’s best days and a steady force during the most divisive of times.

In September 2015, she surpassed the length of reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria to become the longest-serving monarch in British history. Her reign saw her preside over 15 British Prime Ministers.

Born on 21 April 1926 in Mayfair, London, she ascended to the throne in 1952 aged just 25 when her father King George VI died aged 56.

Lilibet

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, known as “Lilibet”, was born with no expectation of being queen.

Her fate dramatically changed when her childless uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 to marry Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American. Princess Elizabeth’s father inherited the crown as George VI and she suddenly became heir to the throne.

Source: pedrcymro29/YouTube

On her 21st birthday, she vowed to spend her life serving her country, but this promise was put to the test sooner than she could have imagined.

Her father died suddenly in 1952 at the age of 56, making Elizabeth queen at the age of 25.

She was coronated in 1953 at 27, and reigned as Queen Elizabeth the Second – officially, ‘Queen Elizabeth the Second by the Grace of God Queen of this Realm and of Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith’.

By then she was married to Philip, a distant cousin, who she has described as “my strength and stay”. They had four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward.

Philip died in April 2021, at the age of 99. The two had been married for almost 74 years. 

Elizabeth became the world’s longest-reigning monarch in October 2016 following the death of Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Ireland

Source: RTÉ - IRELAND’S NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA/YouTube

Having overseen British rule of the North for over 50 years, in 2011 she became the first British sovereign to visit Ireland since independence in 1922.

She flew home after one of the most significant and groundbreaking visits of her reign in which she faced thorny historical issues head-on – and won plaudits for doing so. She notably began a speech in Dublin Castle as Gaeilge.

 ”A Úachtárain agus a chairde,” she began. Then-President Mary McAleese responded with an exclamation of “wow”. 

The speech, in which she noted with respect to Ireland that there were “things we wish had been done differently or not at all”, was greeted with near universal praise from Irish politicians. 

She even ended her trip with an impromptu walkabout in Cork.

Queen Elizabeth is followed in the line of succession by Charles III. 

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