The queen’s eldest son, Charles, is now king of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth Realms.
“The queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the royal family said in a statement. “The king and the queen consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”Queen Elizabeth II Has Died at 96
The longest-serving British monarch was 96.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor is also survived by her other children, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Prince William, next in line to the throne, and Prince Harry are among her eight grandchildren. She has a dozen great-grandchildren.
Tributes for the queen poured in from around the world as soon as the news was announced.
President Joe Biden called Elizabeth “a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
In a statement, Biden and the first lady wrote that “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era.”
The death of a monarch whose life spanned era-defining events, from the discovery of penicillin to the ubiquity of the internet, casts the United Kingdom into the unknown.
It’s “a really shocking and discombobulating moment for a lot of Brits,” NBC royal commentator Daisy McAndrew said before the queen’s death. “Everybody realizes that when she dies, it’s going to be a very big deal. But I don’t think that we really know the shockwaves that it’s going to send.”
“It’s going to make us, as a nation, look at ourselves and think: Everything’s changed,” she added.
The queen’s official title spoke to the world she was born into in 1926: Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of her other realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. Back then, her country was near the peak of the British Empire, spanning India, swaths of the Caribbean and Africa, Canada and Australia — a territory about equal to the Moon’s surface.
A speech on the day of her coronation June 2, 1953, spelled out the 27-year-old’s understanding of her outsize role as a constitutional monarch.
“I have behind me not only the splendid traditions and the annals of more than a thousand years but the living strength and majesty of the Commonwealth and Empire; of societies old and new; of lands and races different in history and origins but all, by God’s Will, united in spirit and in aim,” she said.
Shorn of that empire in the previous and over the following decades, the U.K. increasingly came to rely on the queen’s emblematic status for its international relevance. Throughout, Elizabeth was courted by world leaders who vied for her time and to be photographed alongside her practiced smile.
Elizabeth’s financial and property holdings made her one of the world’s richest women. While she also owned a spectacular and priceless jewelry collection, it was her bright, color-coordinated outfits, upper-class, countryside style accessorized by trademark hats, handbags and her companion Corgi dogs that are widely emulated, as well as caricatured.