May 21, 2024

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died peacefully in a Scottish home at the age of 96

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has died peacefully in a Scottish home at the age of 96

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BALMORAL, Scotland (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in seven decades, has died at the age of 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

“The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” she said in a statement.

“The King and Queen will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

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The eldest son of Elizabeth Charles, 73, automatically becomes King of the United Kingdom and head of 14 other kingdoms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. His wife, Camilla, becomes the queen consort.

Her family was quick to stand by her in their Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, after doctors expressed concern about her health. She has been experiencing what Buckingham Palace describes as “occasional mobility issues” since the end of last year, forcing her to withdraw from nearly all of her public engagements.

Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, ascended to the throne after the death of her father, King George VI on February 6, 1952, when she was only 25 years old.

She was crowned in June of the following year. The first televised coronation was a prelude to a new world in which the lives of members of the royal family were under more scrutiny by the media.

She said in a letter addressed to her subjects on the day of her coronation.

Elizabeth became queen at a time when Britain still had much of its old empire. It was emerging from the ravages of World War II, with food rationing still in place and class and privilege still prevalent in society.

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Winston Churchill was Britain’s prime minister at the time, Joseph Stalin led the Soviet Union and the Korean War was raging.

In the decades that followed, Elizabeth experienced massive political change and social upheaval at home and abroad. Her family’s adversities, most notably the divorce of Charles and his late first wife Diana, have been cast in the glare of an entire year.

While Elizabeth remained an enduring symbol of stability and continuity for the British at a time of relative national economic decline, Elizabeth also attempted to adapt the ancient royal institution to the demands of modern times.

“She has been able to modernize and develop the monarchy like no other,” her grandson Prince William, now heir to the throne, said in a 2012 documentary.

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Additional reporting; Editing by Kate Holton and Janet Lawrence

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.