London / New Delhi:
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in British history and an icon instantly known to billions of people around the world, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
Her eldest son, Charles, 73, ascended the throne immediately, following a centuries-old ritual, beginning a new, less certain chapter for the royal family after the queen’s record 70-year reign.
“The death of my beloved Mother, the Queen, is a moment of greatest grief for me and all members of my family,” King Charles said in a statement.
He said: “We deeply mourn the loss of a respected Sovereign and a very loving Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt across the country, Kingdom and Commonwealth, and countless people around the world”.
A statement from His Majesty the King: pic.twitter.com/AnBiyZCher
– Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
The Queen’s death comes after the palace announced on Thursday that doctors were “concerned” about her health and advised her to remain under medical supervision.
All her children – Charles, Princess Anne, 72, Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, flocked to her Scottish Highlands retreat, Balmoral.
They were joined by Charles’ sons Prince William and his estranged brother Prince Harry.
Two days earlier, the Queen had appointed Liz Truss as the 15th Prime Minister of her reign and can be seen in the photos smiling but looking weak and leaning on a cane.
Her 70-year reign spanned two centuries of terrifying social, political and technological upheaval.
The last vestiges of Britain’s vast empire had fallen. At home, Brexit has shaken the foundations of her kingdom, and her family has endured a series of scandals.
But all the while, she remained popular and was queen and head of state not only of Great Britain but also of 14 former British colonies, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
She is also the head of the 56-nation Commonwealth, making up a quarter of humanity, and the supreme governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the Anglican Communion worldwide.
But questions will be raised about whether the golden age of the British monarchy is over, how an ancient institution can survive in the modern era and whether Charles will command the same respect or reign in the shadow of his mother.
Charles’ coronation, an elaborate ceremony steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historical setting, as it has for centuries, on a set date.
With input from AFP