By Kevin Zhang
Queen Elizabeth, longest-serving monarch of the United Kingdom, has died at Balmoral castle at age 96, after a reign of 70 years.
She died peacefully on Thursday afternoon at the Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer.
Her reign began in 1952 and bore witness to tremendous social change. Her son King Charles III said the death of his mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and the royal family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” all around the world.
“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.”
The King and his wife, Camilla, now Queen Consort, are expected to return to London on Friday, according to the Buckingham Palace. He is also expected the address the people of the UK.
Senior royals had gathered at Balmoral after the Queen’s doctors became concerned about her health earlier that day. All of the Queen’s children traveled to the estate after the doctors had placed her under medical supervision.
Her tenure as head of state spanned post World War II austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War, and both the UK’s entry and exit from the European Union. It spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill.
The next few days in the UK will be met with official engagements being cancelled, flags flying at half-mast, and members of Parliament paying tribute to the Queen and taking an oath to King Charles. A state funeral for the Queen is expected in the next two weeks.
Foreign leaders including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also paid their tributes to the queen.