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London Bridge is down- Queen Elizabeth II passes on


Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

Her family gathered at her Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday.

The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.

With her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms.

In a statement, Buckingham 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.”

All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.

Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.

Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK’s entry into – and withdrawal from – the European Union.

Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975, and appointed by the Queen earlier this week.

She held weekly audiences with her prime minister throughout her reign.

At Buckingham Palace in London, crowds awaiting updates on the Queen’s condition began crying as they heard of her death.

The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on 21 April 1926.

Royal Family goes into mourning

The Queen leaves a large and devoted family – one that has recently mourned the death of her husband Prince Philip.

Her four children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, gave her eight grandchildren. She also leaves 12 great-grandchildren.

Prince William has become the heir to the throne, at the age of 40.

The Royal Family will now enter a period of mourning. Official engagements will be cancelled and union flags will be flown at half-mast on royal residences, and government buildings, across the Armed Forces and UK Posts overseas.

The flag at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half mast at 6.30pm.

London Mourns

In the last few moments staff have carried a podium onto Downing Street after Buckingham Palace announced the news of the Queen’s death.

As the news of the Queen’s death was announced, hundreds of people were gathered outside the gates. Some began crying. A single helicopter circled the sky above.

The crowd at Buckingham Palace

As news has spread, the crowds have grown significantly outside Buckingham Palace.

Many people have come alone to take at the moment, while others have come in groups with friends.

Around Buckingham Palace, dozens of news cameras can be seen pointing at the Queen’s London residence.

American tourist Judy Jones who is visiting with her sister told me she remembers watching the Queen’s coronation in 1953 on a black and white TV when she was a girl.

“All my memory she has been Queen of England, it’s very sad,” she said.

The Union flags have been lowered to half-mast and Prime Minister Liz Truss is expected to speak shortly.


Earlier before her death

Her daughter Princess Anne was already in Scotland undertaking engagements and is in Balmoral.

The Duchess of Cambridge has remained in Windsor with her children on their first full day at school.

The Duke of Sussex is travelling separately to Balmoral. A spokeswoman said his wife Meghan was not accompanying him. The US-based couple had been in the UK to attend a charity function.

There are clearly pressing concerns for the Queen’s health – much more explicitly put than before and without any reference to this only being about difficulties with mobility.

There are also warnings against unfounded speculation, such as that she might have had a fall. And on Tuesday she was photographed smiling as she appointed new Prime Minister Liz Truss.

But from the last-minute cancellation of what would only have been a virtual meeting of the Privy Council – of senior ministers – there is no mistaking the fragility of the Queen’s health.

Ms Truss said the “whole country” would be “deeply concerned” by the news.

“My thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time,” she added.

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The Queen appointed Ms Truss as prime minister at Balmoral, instead of travelling to London for the event.

During her 70-year reign, the Queen has typically had an audience with her new prime minister at Buckingham Palace.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “My prayers, and the prayers of people across the [Church of England] and the nation, are with Her Majesty The Queen today.

“May God’s presence strengthen and comfort Her Majesty, her family, and those who are caring for her at Balmoral.”

The Queen is also head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was “wishing her well, and sending our best to the Royal Family”.

The White House said US President Joe Biden had been briefed and that his and First Lady Jill Biden’s thoughts were “solidly and squarely with the Queen today and her family”.

News of the Queen’s ill-health came as MPs heard details of the government’s new plan to help households and businesses with energy costs in the House of Commons.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi entered the Commons and spoke to Ms Truss. Notes were then passed to the Commons speaker and Labour front bench. The palace statement came minutes later.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he was “deeply worried”, while Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent her thoughts and wishes to the Queen.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford sent his best wishes on behalf of the people of Wales.

The monarch has been on a summer break at her Scottish home since July.

Barriers have been placed outside one of the entrances to the estate.

Meanwhile, a subdued crowd gathered at Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s official London residence, under dark skies and with rain showers forecast.

Many of the Queen’s duties go unseen – Before her death

The Queen’s sense of duty is well known across the world, after seven decades as head of state.

But, as BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond explained earlier on BBC Radio 5 Live, most of us aren’t aware of the “enormous number” of duties carried out by the Queen.

“Most of them happen below the surface – we don’t see them,” says Dymond.

“We might see the State Opening of Parliament or we might see her at Remembrance Day, but day-to-day there are literally hours of state duties.

Queen Elizabeth presented the George Cross to representatives of the National Health Service in July

“A lot of it is reading state papers – these great red boxes turn up at Buckingham Palace with all the state papers – she’s spent seven decades reading these things, she does it on her holidays, she did it when she was on royal tours.”

He adds the Queen also receives incoming ambassadors, as well as carries out a myriad of other duties including the Privy Council, which she had to miss last night on medical advice.

This is “a ceremonial part of state”, says Dymond, “but an important one – part of what we are and what she has done for so long”.




Source: BBC

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