Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the British crown, has passed away at the age of 96.
Upon her death Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, became King of the United Kingdom.
Charles has been heir apparent since the age of three, making him the longest serving heir to the throne in British history.
According to a statement from Buckingham Palace, the Queen passed peacefully at her Balmoral estate in Scotland sometime Thursday afternoon.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” reads a tweet from the official Twitter account of the royal family.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Rumors of the Queen’s failing health began to circulate early this year, but the ailing monarch continued to make public appearances, culminating in June’s Platinum Jubilee, a celebration of her unprecedented 70 years on the throne.
The Queen’s last official act was a meeting with the UK’s new prime minister Liz Truss, at which she carried out the tradition of asking the newly-elected leader to serve as PM.
“The death of her majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” Truss said moments ago in a press conference outside of 10 Downing Street.
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built.Our country has grown and flourished under her reign,” she continued.
“She was the very spirit of Great Britain, and that spirit will endure.”
Truss is the 15th prime minister to serve under the Queen, whose reign dates back to the time of Winston Churchill.
Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.
Already a beloved figure for her courageous radio broadcasts during World War II, the young Queen was promptly embraced by the British people, and she was crowned in the nation’s first-ever televised coronation ceremony.
Though a controversial ruler at times, Elizabeth was undeniably one of the most influential historical figures of the past century.
In reign that spanned eight decades, she helped to shape the national identity of the United Kingdom and served as a unifying figure for the dozens of nations that make up the Commonwealth.
Today, subjects, admirers, and fellow world leaders across the globe are mourning the loss of a woman whose steadfast bravery and commitment to duty carried her nation through countless travails.
Of course, no one’s grief is more acute than that of the friends and family who knew Elizabeth best during her extraordinary life.
We’ll leave you with a statement issued by Charles moments ago:
“The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” wrote the new King of England.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” Charles continued.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
Our thoughts go out to the Queen’s loved ones during this difficult time.