Balmoral – Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the nation’s figurehead for seven decades, died on Thursday. She was 96.
Her family rushed to her side earlier in the day at her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, after doctors expressed concern about her health.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral … and will return to London (on Friday).”
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.
Queen Elizabeth II had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all her public engagements.
The Queen, who was the world’s oldest and longest serving head of state, came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on February 6, 1952, when she was only 25.
She was crowned in June the following year.