Queen Elizabeth II, one of the most iconic figures of both the 20th and 21st centuries, has died. She was 96.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace announced in an official statement on Thursday.
The statement continued, “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
The news of Queen Elizabeth’s death comes with another history-making moment: She is succeeded immediately by her eldest son, Prince Charles, 73, who will now be the monarch. Charles’ firstborn son, Prince William, 40, is now next in line to the world’s most famous throne, followed by his firstborn son, Prince George, 9. Her death follows her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died at age 99 in June 2021.
“I cannot lead you into battle,” the Queen, summing up her role in a 1957 Christmas broadcast, once told her subjects. “I do not give you laws or administer justice, but I can do something else: I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.”
Upon the Queen’s passing, the United Kingdom — where she reigned for a record 70 years — was plunged into public mourning. Around the world, including in the other nations that called her the head of state or Sovereign, her death was grieved by those to whom she was an unwavering fixture amid the turmoil of ever-changing times.
But the loss was most profound for her large family, including her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.