Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II, England’s longest-reigning royalty and the country’s icon for seventy years, has passed away aged of 96.
The United Kingdom has been preparing for this moment, with an intricate plan for “Operation London Bridge” outlining what would happen next. But it still comes as a surprise. Elizabeth, 96, was a symbol of consistency and stability despite royal scandals, the shrinking of the British Empire, and huge global upheavals. She just supervised the selection of her 15th prime minister.
After physicians voiced worry about her illness, her family went to her Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle. She had battled from “episodic mobility issues” since the end of last year, requiring her to cancel virtually all of her public engagements, according to Buckingham Palace.
According to the PA news agency in the United Kingdom, Prince Harry, better known as the Duke of Sussex, has also arrived at Balmoral castle in Scotland. His wife, Meghan Markle, who is now known as the Duchess of Sussex, has not accompanied him on this tour. Harry has travelled alone.
Both radio and television broadcasters paused regular operations to deliver the news, with special programs in order to commemorate her long life and rule.
“God Save the Queen,” the national song, was performed to pay respect to the queen as well. Flags were draped and church bells tolled to praise a lady dubbed the “last global monarch.”
The nationwide grieving will conclude with a last public goodbye at Westminster Abbey in central London.
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign as head of state covered postwar austerity, the shift from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War, and the United Kingdom’s membership into – and exit from – the European Union.
Her tenure encompassed 15 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill in 1874 and ending with Ms Truss in 1975, 101 years later. Throughout her rule, she met with her prime minister on a weekly basis.
Crowds waiting for information on the Queen’s status at Buckingham Palace in London started sobbing as they learned of her death. At 18:30 BST, the Union flag above the castle was dropped to half-mast, and a formal notification notifying the death was put outside.
Following the death of the Queen, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, were named Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall.
For latest updates, stay connected to The UK Time.