Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, passed away peacefully at her home in Scotland on Thursday (8 September) aged 96.
Buckingham Palace announced her death in a short statement, triggering 10 days of national mourning and an outpouring of tributes to her long life and record-breaking reign.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at 6:30 pm (1730 GMT).
Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign and the world’s oldest monarch, had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace has called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year.
However, news about the queen’s health was deteriorating emerged shortly after midday on Thursday (8 September) when her doctors said she was under medical supervision, prompting her family to rush to Scotland to be by her side.
Following the announcement, thousands were reported to have gathered outside Buckingham Palace, in central London, and there was a stunned silence when the flag was lowered to half-mast. The crowd surged to the gates as the notice announcing the death of the only monarch most Britons have ever known was attached to the black iron gates.
On the grand Mall boulevard leading to the palace, black London taxis lined up in tribute.
Elizabeth has been Queen of Britain and more than a dozen other countries since 1952, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Earlier this year, she marked her 70th year on the throne with 4 days of national celebrations in June.
She came to the throne after the death of her father King George VI on 6 February 1952, when she was just 25.
She was crowned in June of the following year. She became monarch at a time when Britain retained much of its empire and has seen 15 prime ministers serve under her, with Winston Churchill being the first, while Liz Truss is the 15th.
During her reign, she had visited Malaysia three times, namely in 1972 (special visit), 1989 (11th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting) and 1998 (the closing of the 16th Commonwealth Games).
Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, will now succeed as the ruling monarch of the United Kingdoms.