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The Queen has died, Buckingham Palace announces

Photo by PA/Jane Barlow.

By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

The Queen has died, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Elizabeth II, 96, was the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, serving as head of state for more than 70 years.

The Prince of Wales is now King, having acceded to the throne immediately on the death of his mother.

In a statement, the Palace said: “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 Queen dedicated her life to her royal duty.

She was the first British monarch in history to reach her Platinum Jubilee, and has died just three months after the national celebrations in June celebrating her 70 years on the throne.

The Queen was also the longest-reigning still-serving monarch in the world.

She mourned the loss of her beloved husband of 73 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99 in April 2021.

A figure of stability in national life, the Queen was head of state, the armed forces, the Commonwealth and the Church of England.

The majority of the population has known no other monarch.

Britain will enter a period of national mourning, as tributes flood in from around the globe, hailing the Queen’s unwavering commitment to serving her country and the Commonwealth.

The long-held so-called London Bridge plans for the coming days and the Queen’s state funeral will now be put in place, as will the contingency element Operation Unicorn for a death in Scotland.

The Queen is expected to lie in state in a few days’ time, with her funeral held in Westminster Abbey in central London in around 10 days.

Alongside her public duties, the Queen was also a mother of four, grandmother to eight and great-grandmother of 12 great-grandchildren, and the royal family is now grieving for its matriarch.

One of the most famous women in the world, the Queen, recognisable for her colourful hats and distinctive wave, was known for her love of horses, racing and corgis.

She also had a deep Christian faith, and as a long-reigning constitutional monarch, her knowledge and professionalism were unparalleled.

The new King – Charles – is expected to speak to the nation and lead the tributes to his beloved mother.

The Duchess of Cornwall is now Queen, and as a Queen Consort, will be crowned at Charles’s side at his eventual coronation.

Fears dramatically escalated for the Queen’s health on Thursday when the Palace announced the Queen was under medical supervision at Balmoral.

The royal family including all of the monarch’s four children and the Duke of Cambridge made the urgent dash to be by her bedside.