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Queen dies peacefully at Balmoral

08 September 2022

Alamy

The Queen during a visit to open a new building at Thames Hospice, Maidenhead, in July this year

The Queen during a visit to open a new building at Thames Hospice, Maidenhead, in July this year

THE Queen has died aged 96, after reigning for 70 years, Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Thursday evening.

It read: “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 flag over Buckingham Palace, where crowds had begun to gather during the afternoon, has been lowered to half-mast.

On Thursday lunchtime, an earlier statement from the Palace said that doctors were concerned for her health. “Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”

All of her children, alongside the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke of Cambridge, travelled to Balmoral that afternoon.

The BBC has suspended all UK programming, apart from news about the Queen’s death.

The Queen was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. 

The King said in a statement: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of great 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.”

Churches, chapels, and cathedrals are encouraged to toll their bells and open for prayer and special services, a statement from Church House, Westminster said. “Guidance from the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers recommends tolling bells for one hour from noon tomorrow,” it said. 

“Meanwhile parishes with flagpoles are advised to fly flags at half-mast until the day after the funeral of Her Late Majesty, other than for a period following the proclamation of the new King.”

General guidance for parishes on marking the passing of the Sovereign has been published online.

The Queen’s last official engagement was to confirm Liz Truss as the new Prime Minister in a private audience, on Tuesday. On Thursday, Ms Truss described the Queen as “the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.” 

World leaders also paid tribute. The US President Joe Biden said that the Queen was “more than a monarch. She defined an era.” He described her as “the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection” who had “led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example.”

He concluded: “In the years ahead, we look forward to continuing a close friendship with The King and The Queen Consort. Today, the thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief.”

The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, said: “Time and again, Her Majesty marked Canada’s modern history. Over the course of 70 years and twenty-three Royal Tours, Queen Elizabeth II saw this country from coast to coast to coast and was there for our major, historical milestones.

“She would proclaim ‘it was good to be home’ when returning to her beloved Canada. She was indeed at home here, and Canadians never ceased to return her affection.”

He thanked the late Queen for honouring her vow to the Commonwealth and its people. “A page has not only been turned, but a chapter in our shared history has drawn to a close.”

The French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described the late Queen as “symbol of reconciliation” after two world wars. “Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten.”

As news of her condition broke, Archbishop Welby, other bishops, church and faith leaders had issued prayers for her strength and comfort. Later on Thursday afternoon, the Governing Body of the Church in Wales was adjourned to free the bishops to be with their dioceses. The National Anthem, “God save our gracious Queen”, was sung before the meeting closed.

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