At 1:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, the Royal Family posted a statement on Twitter, saying the queen had “died peacefully at Balmoral” alongside her family. Below is an earlier story from Reuters chronicling the moments leading to her death.
The Queen, Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign and the world’s oldest monarch, has been suffering from what Buckingham Palace has called “episodic mobility problems” since the end of last year.
“Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision,” the palace said in a statement.
“The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”
Her eldest son and heir Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have travelled to her Scottish home Balmoral Castle, where she is staying. Prince William, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward have arrived in Scotland by plane to be with the ailing monarch.
Prince Harry was supposed to be travelling with his wife Meghan to Balmoral, but BBC and PA Media report he will be going alone.
Such a family gathering, outside of holiday events such as Christmas or Easter or major public events, is extremely rare.
The BBC interrupted its normal schedule to switch to constant coverage of the Queen.
“My prayers, and the prayers of people across the @churchofengland and the nation, are with Her Majesty The Queen today,” Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said on Twitter.
Last October, Elizabeth spent a night in hospital and she has been forced to cut back on her public engagements since then. On Wednesday she canceled a virtual meeting with senior ministers after being advised to rest by her doctors.
The previous day she had been pictured appointing Liz Truss as the country’s new prime minister at Balmoral.
A palace source played down speculation that the monarch had suffered a fall.
Elizabeth has been queen of Britain and more than a dozen other countries since 1952, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and earlier this year marked her 70th year on the throne with four days of national celebrations in June.
“I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come,” she said at the time.
Elizabeth came to the throne after the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.
She was crowned in June the following year. The first televised coronation was a foretaste of a new world in which the lives of the royals were to become increasingly scrutinized by the media.
She became monarch at a time when Britain retained much of its empire. It was emerging from the ravages of the Second World War, with food rationing still in force and class and privilege still dominant in society.
Winston Churchill was the first prime minister who served during her reign, Joseph Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union, the Korean War was raging. Truss is the 15th premier of her record-breaking reign.
The prime minister said: “My thoughts – and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom – are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time.”
Lindsay Hoyle, speaker of the House of Commons, interrupted an energy debate in parliament to say he sent his best wishes to the monarch.
“Along with the rest of the country, I am deeply worried by the news from Buckingham Palace this afternoon,” opposition Labour leader Keir Starmer said.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter: “All of us are feeling profoundly concerned at reports of Her Majesty’s health. My thoughts and wishes are with the Queen and all of the Royal Family at this time.”
Well-wishers gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London.
Alexander Caplan, 40, a technology entrepreneur, said: “I work close by and I heard on the news about her Majesty’s failing health so I was concerned and it led me to come to Buckingham Palace, to be at the heart of the monarchy.”
He added: “I think that Charles will become a very good king one day.”
Outside of Britain, reaction also poured in. Mary Simon, the governor general of Canada, said in a statement on Twitter she “joins all Canadians in sending thoughts of comfort and healing to her and her family.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said in Twitter statement his thoughts are with the Queen at this time.
“My thoughts, and the thoughts of Canadians across the country, are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at this time,” he said.
“We’re wishing her well, and sending our best to the Royal Family.”
The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed about the situation, and that his thoughts were with her and her family.
“His and the first lady’s thoughts are solidly and squarely with the queen today and her family,” White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.