Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, as reported in a statement by Buckingham Palace. The statement reads: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow." The sad news comes after Buckingham Palace released a statement on Sept. 8 confirming concerns about the Queen's health. Her family had rushed to her side.
Elizabeth dealt with a number of health issues in the past year, including a hospitalisation, mobility issues, and a February 2022 COVID-19 diagnosis, all of which saw her scaling back on royal engagements. With the news of her passing, Operation London Bridge is activated - the national plan for what happens next.
Elizabeth was the second-longest-ruling monarch in history, reigning for over 70 years, having celebrated her Platinum Jubilee this year. The Queen's legacy is one for the history books. Elizabeth was just 25 years old when she was appointed to the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. Elizabeth and Prince Philip, whom she married in November 1947, were on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with a stop in Kenya when they got word that the King had died, making Elizabeth the Queen. In June 1953, Elizabeth was coronated at Westminster Abbey. While she inherited an immense amount of responsibility overnight, her duty was something she never took for granted throughout her entire reign.
During her time as Queen, she was head of the Commonwealth, which currently includes 54 countries. She celebrated huge milestones with her Silver, Golden, Diamond, Sapphire, and Platinum Jubilees. She was the first British monarch to address the US Congress, guided the transformation of the Commonwealth, reformed the monarchy's finances by paying tax on royal income that had previously been exempt, and modernised the monarchy via the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, doing away with outdated gender preferences and allowing the line of succession to be decided via age and not gender. Not to mention her extensive charity work and stability for the nation.
Elizabeth is survived by her four children: Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, and Prince Andrew.