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The Queen has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace has announced. The Queen’s death ends the longest reign in British history. She was also the world’s oldest head of state.

“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,” Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the world’s oldest head of state.

On her death, the Queen’s eldest son and heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales, has become King of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms.

In a statement, he said: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, 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.”

No official details have been released about what will happen over the coming days, but it is anticipated that the Queen will be given a full state funeral, as is traditional to mark the death of a monarch.

It is also expected that her body will lie in state to allow the public to pay tribute.

The King will sign off the final plans in the coming days.

A life of service

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on April 21 1926.

At the time, no one expected her to be Queen as she was third in line to the throne behind her uncle and father.

During her record-breaking reign, she dedicated her life to serving her country and Commonwealth.

In a radio address in 1947 on her 21st birthday, she said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died.

Her coronation took place 16 months later at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen held a number of other titles, which will now automatically pass to her son and heir.

She was head of the Commonwealth, commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, and supreme governor of the Church of England. She was also patron of more than 600 charities and organisations.

Wife, mother, grandmother

Away from her official duties, she was a devoted wife and mother to four children, and dedicated grandmother to eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

In 1947, she married her wartime sweetheart Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, with a relatively simple ceremony as the country was still recovering from the war.

King George VI wrote to her about his feelings about giving her away: “I was so proud of you and thrilled at having you so close to me on our long walk in Westminster Abbey, but when I handed your hand to the Archbishop I felt that I had lost something very precious.”

The Queen gave birth to Prince Charles in 1948 and to Princess Anne two years later. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – who were born in 1960 and 1964 respectively – were the first children to be born to a reigning monarch since Queen Victoria had her family.

Until his death in 2021, the Duke of Edinburgh, “her beloved husband”, was always by the Queen’s side.

She described the Duke as her “constant strength and stay” and in 2017 the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, the only royal couple to ever reach their platinum anniversary.

A record-breaking reign

The Queen’s reign saw 15 different prime ministers, from Sir Winston Churchill to Liz Truss.

She was more widely travelled than any other international leader and the world’s oldest head of state, always using her own distinctive form of quiet diplomacy to represent the United Kingdom around the world.

In 2015, she also became the longest-serving British monarch in history, passing the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

As head of state and head of nation, Queen Elizabeth II was widely regarded as a symbol of stability, working tirelessly to make sure the monarchy remained relevant during a period of immense social, technological, and economic change.

She was a monarch without equal who will now be mourned across the globe.

What happens now

Upon the Queen’s death, Prince Charles has immediately become the new monarch and he will be known as King Charles III.

Buckingham Palace has outlined details of the period of royal mourning, which is observed by members of the Royal Family, their staff, and soldiers on ceremonial duties.

This will last until seven days after the Queen’s funeral, which is widely expected to take place 10 days after her death, but will be “confirmed in due course”, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

A gun salute will be fired for each of the 96 years of the Queen’s life in London at 1pm on the day following her death – at Hyde Park and the Tower of London.

At 6pm a service of prayer and reflection will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral, where there will be 2,000 seats available for members of the public.

Her body will be moved to Buckingham Palace, where it will likely remain for five days.

The government is not expected to announce any other business, unless urgent, to allow focus to fall completely on the Queen.

HER LIFE IN PICTURES// copyrit:BBC & PA MEDIA, GETTY IMAGES

Queen Elizabeth II lived her life in the spotlight. We look back at her reign, from baby to heir to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born on 21 April 1926, in a house off Berkeley Square in London. She was the first child of Albert, Duke of York – the second son of George V – and his wife, the former Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon
In her early years, the throne was not her destiny
However, she was said to have shown a sense of responsibility from a very young age
Both Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret Rose, who was born in 1930, were educated at home
Following the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936, Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and she became heir
During World War Two, Elizabeth and her sister Margaret were evacuated to Windsor. This picture shows them broadcasting to the nation for Children’s Hour on the BBC
The young princess briefly joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) towards the end of the war, learning to drive and service a lorry
In 1947 she married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, who became Duke of Edinburgh
Their first child, Charles (pictured), was born in 1948, followed by a sister, Anne, who arrived in 1950
Elizabeth remained very close to her mother throughout her life. They are pictured here in 1951 attending a wedding
In January 1952, Elizabeth and Philip set off on an overseas tour in place of her father, who had been ill. The King died in his sleep just days later
Elizabeth returned home immediately. The new Queen was just 25 years old
First came the King’s funeral. Here Queen Mary, his mother, watches as the body of George VI is brought to Westminster Hall, London, for the lying-in-state. Queen Elizabeth stands behind her grandmother, and the Queen Mother is on the right
Then, in June 1953, Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey
Following the coronation, Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh made an appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony and waved to the cheering crowds
Although Britain was still enduring post-war austerity, some commentators described the coronation as the dawn of a new Elizabethan age. Here, Queen Elizabeth II ascends the Grand Staircase at the Opera in Paris, France
In 1957, the Queen made the first of many televised Christmas Day broadcasts to the nation
British society and attitudes to the monarchy were changing and the term “the Monarchy” was gradually replaced by “the Royal Family”. The Queen is the object of the neighbours’ gaze while visiting the home of Mr and Mrs Eddie Hammond at Crawley New Town, Sussex in 1958
Between official engagements Elizabeth spent time with her family – here with her daughter Princess Anne at Frogmore, Windsor Castle
In 1966, at Wembley, the Queen presented the Jules Rimet Trophy to England captain Bobby Moore after he led his team to a 4-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany
On 29 October 1966, the Queen visited the Welsh village of Aberfan, eight days after a coal tip landslide engulfed Pantglas Junior School killing 144 people, 116 of them children. The Queen was visibly moved and it remains one of the most emotive moments of her reign
In 1969, the documentary Royal Family was first broadcast. It gave audiences an unprecedented view of a year in the private and public life of the Queen and her family
The Queen formally invested her son Prince Charles with the Coronet of the Prince of Wales during a ceremony at Caernarfon Castle. He took on the title when he was nine, but the Queen insisted the ceremony should wait until he fully understood its significance
In 1972 the Queen was pictured on board HMY Britannia as part of series of photographs taken for use during her Silver Wedding Celebrations.
Throughout her reign the Queen has been pictured with corgis at her side. The Royal Family’s ties with the breed began when the future George VI bought a corgi called Dookie for his daughters in 1933
In 1977 the country celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years on the throne. The Queen was met by enthusiastic crowds as she toured the country
Her Majesty visited 36 counties over 10 weeks – including Avon, where she observed people making the most of the summer weather. She also travelled 56,000 miles around the world in celebration






The Queen and the duke were on hand to wave as Concorde flew low past by the Royal Yacht Britannia as the royal couple neared Barbados
Year by year, the Queen’s public duties continued. Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh received a New Zealand Maori welcome at the opening of the Royal New Zealand Polynesian Festival
In August 1979, Prince Philip’s uncle and a cousin of the Queen, Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was killed by an IRA bomb while on his boat in Ireland. As well as being a close family member, Lord Mountbatten had held many senior military positions, and his funeral was held in Westminster Abbey
In 1981, Elizabeth’s eldest son Charles married Lady Diana Spencer. Charles and Diana had two sons, William and Harry, before divorcing. Diana died in a car accident in Paris in 1997
During her Christmas speech the Queen described 1992 as her “annus horribilis”, expressing sorrow at a year which saw the break-up of three of her children’s marriages and a fire at Windsor Castle
Public opinion was against the government paying for repairs to the castle. The monarchy was on the defensive, and Buckingham Palace was opened to visitors in order to raise the funds. The Queen fired the last shot on a standard SA80 rifle with the Army Rifle Association at Bisley
After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, the Queen faced criticism for not appearing in public. Eventually she viewed tributes outside Buckingham Palace and made a live broadcast to the nation
The Queen joined Mrs Susan McCarron for tea in her home in the Castlemilk area of Glasgow, as the Royal Family experimented with a more intimate, informal approach to meeting the public
In 2000, the Queen Mother celebrated her 100th birthday – here with her daughters Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth
In 2002, the Queen faced the deaths of her sister, Princess Margaret, and her mother, the Queen Mother, pictured here, just seven weeks apart
The Queen enjoyed a swell of support that summer as she celebrated her Golden Jubilee. Huge numbers turned out for a parade and a million people crowded into The Mall on the evening of the Jubilee on 4 June
In 2005, Queen Elizabeth watched her eldest son get married for a second time. Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles wed in a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall, followed by a blessing at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle
Elizabeth, Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall share a moment at the Braemar Highland Games in Aberdeenshire
In 2007 the Queen was pictured sheltering from the rain during the opening of the Lawn Tennis Association’s new headquarters in Roehampton
The Queen quoted Groucho Marx’s dictum on ageing in a speech to celebrate her official 80th birthday saying: “Anyone can get old; all you have to do is to live long enough”
One of the happiest events in her later years was the wedding of her grandson Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011. Here Prince William and his new bride bow to the Queen

The Queen nearly lost her hat on arrival at a windy RAF Valley in Anglesey where she and Prince Philip were visiting Prince William, who was posted to the base at the time
A visit to Leicester marked the start of her 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK in 2012
This was closely followed by an appearance in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, in a filmed sequence alongside another British icon, James Bond, played by actor Daniel Craig
Sixty years after enjoying a first Royal Ascot winner as an owner, the Queen’s horse Estimate won the 207th Gold Cup, bringing great joy to both herself and her racing manager John Warren
At 17:30 BST on 9 September 2015, Elizabeth had reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes – surpassing the reign of her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. She spent the day in Scotland opening a new railway
The Queen was joined by other members of the Royal Family for her official birthday celebrations in June 2016. She had turned 90 earlier that year
The Queen continued with her public duties, often alone after the retirement of the Duke of Edinburgh. The Queen watched her horse Sparkler compete at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2018
There was joy as her family grew – here she is pictured with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, their son Archie and the duchess’s mother Doria Ragland. But there were also continued strains on the family – including Prince Andrew’s friendship with US financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and Prince Harry’s growing disillusionment with life in the Royal Family
Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, died on 9 April 2021, aged 99 and after more than six decades at her side. The image of the Queen by herself at the funeral during the Covid pandemic resonated with the tens of thousands of families who had to honour loved ones in similar fashion
The Queen is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildr

About Post Author

Christophe UWIZEYIMANA

Christophe Uwizeyimana is a Rwandan journalist who studied in University of Rwanda. Worked on Environmental, Health, General and Business reporting from 2015 up to now.
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