We are deeply saddened to hear that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II peacefully passed away today at her much loved home, Balmoral in Scotland, surrounded by family members. Queen Elizabeth was the spirit of the Commonwealth; her devotion and commitment to a life of service were unparalleled, and her 70-year reign unprecedented. This is not only a sombre day but a hugely poignant moment in history. Her loss will be felt across the globe, and she will be sadly missed by all she served.
The statement from Royal Communications reads: “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.”
A statement from the Queen’s son, now King Charles III, followed shortly after. It reads: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest 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.”
So today, we reflect not only on her contribution to history but her legacy. For many of us, this will likely have been the last Queen we see leading the monarchy — with Charles, William and George set to carry on the Windsor family line.
Born in 1926, it was not at first thought likely that Elizabeth would ever reign. Her father, then the Duke of York, was the second son of King George V, and not expected to become king himself. Following the abdication of King Edward VIII, her parents became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, with the young Elizabeth becoming the heir presumptive.
The Queen enjoyed many years of good health throughout her long life, only recently starting to scale back her engagements due to mobility issues. Just this summer, she appeared during the Platinum Jubilee festivities, waving to the delighted public from the Buckingham Palace balcony at the start and close of the four-day bank holiday weekend in June.
Earlier this week, the Queen carried out another historic engagement, meeting with the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and officially inviting her to form a government. The audience took place at Balmoral Castle, rather than Buckingham Palace (as is traditional), likely to alleviate the discomfort of travelling for the monarch. She then pulled out of virtually attending a Privy Council meeting on Wednesday evening, with a Palace spokesperson stating that she had ‘accepted doctors’ advice to rest’.
While her 70-year reign was not without controversy or concern, it should be remembered that Queen Elizabeth showed many what it meant to lead with compassion. One who, above all, holds both family and kindness very dear.
Today, leaders around the world acknowledge the impact she has had — a truly unprecedented leadership by a truly remarkable woman.
“My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the life of our great imperial family to which we all belong… [I] speak to all the peoples of the British Commonwealth and Empire, wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak.”
Statement on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1/3) pic.twitter.com/kDN6cW8Njp— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) September 8, 2022
Like so many of you, Michelle and I are grateful to have witnessed Her Majesty’s dedicated leadership, and we are awed by her legacy of tireless, dignified public service. Our thoughts are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/sbID222iSQ— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 8, 2022
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.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) September 8, 2022
Thank you Ma’am, for everything.— Paddington (@paddingtonbear) September 8, 2022