Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, and the nation's figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, Michael Holden and Russell Cheyne reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: The Queen is dead; long live the king.
"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow."
Her eldest son Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Her family had rushed to be by her side at her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle after doctors expressed concern about her health.
She had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace has called "episodic mobility problems" since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements.
Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world's oldest and longest-serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25. She was crowned in June the following year.
Since Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth reigned over a Britain that rebuilt from war and lost its empire; joined the European Union and then left it; and transformed from an industrial powerhouse to an uncertain 21st-century society.
She endured through 15 prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss, becoming an institution and an icon -- a fixed point and a reassuring presence even for those who ignored or loathed the monarchy, Danica Kirka, Jill Lawless, and Sylvia Hui reported for the Associated Press (AP).