Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96.
In a statement confirming the news, Buckingham Palace said: “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.”
Earlier today, in a rare update on her health, the palace revealed doctors had been “concerned” and recommended she remain under medical supervision.
Prince Charles and the Queen’s three other children travelled to Scotland to be by her side. The Duke of Sussex and Duke of Cambridge also travelled to Balmoral Castle.
Her death brings an end to a life served in dedication to others and the Crown, becoming one of the most famous faces in history and a constant presence in both British culture and around the world.
In June 2022 the Queen celebrated 70 years on the throne, making her the longest serving monarch in British history.
Earlier this week, she had looked bright but frail as she appointed Liz Truss as prime minister.
In a speech to mark her 21st birthday in 1947, Elizabeth vowed to dedicate her life to the service of the Commonwealth. She said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
It was a promise she would keep for the next 75 years – 70 of which would be spent on the throne.
When she was born in London, then known as Princess Elizabeth of York, the prospect on the throne was only a distant possibility.
As the daughter of the then king George V’s second son, she was always destined to live a privileged life, though not as much in the public.
But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated in December 1936 her father was thrust onto the throne – making her heir to the throne at the tender age of just 10.
In public, the Queen remained a calming presence for her 70 years on the throne, staying steadfast throughout wars, political upheaval and social unrest.
During her reign, the Queen has overseen 15 prime ministers, offering impartial advice and a level of consistency during even the most politically turbulent times.
In private, she was known as “Lilibet” to her closest family and her friends, fostering a love of animals and heading up one of the most famous families on the planet.
The loss of her husband Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in April 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic was described by the Queen herself as leaving a “huge void” in her life but she kept up with royal work after a period of mourning.
But in recent times, she had increasingly stepped back from royal duties amid well-documented issues with mobility – although she did make several public appearances during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Her appointment of Truss as prime minister at Balmoral on 6 September marked the first time an audience had been held with a new PM there and not at Buckingham Palace.