Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96

·2 min read
Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth Samir Hussein/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in Britain's history, has died, Buckingham Palace confirmed Thursday. She was 96.

The palace in a statement said the queen "died peacefully" at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The news came just hours after Buckingham Palace released an alarming statement that doctors were "concerned for Her Majesty's health" and that she would remain under medical supervision. Members of the British royal family, including Prince Charles, were reportedly rushing to be by her side.

Elizabeth served on the throne for seven decades, during which time the United States had 14 presidents. She was crowned in 1953 after succeeding her father, George VI. Concerns over the queen's health grew in the past year as she adjusted travel plans numerous times, and she recently did not travel to Buckingham Palace to receive the new British prime minister.

The queen's death means her son, Charles, immediately becomes king, and his wife, Camilla, will serve as queen consort. "The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow," Buckingham Palace said.

In a statement from "His Majesty The King," Charles said the "death of my beloved mother" is a "moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family."

"I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world," Charles continued. "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."

British Prime Minister Liz Truss also described the queen's death as a "huge shock to the nation and to the world," adding, "Britain is the great country it is today because of her." U.S. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said "our hearts and our thoughts go to the family members of the queen" and "to the people of the United Kingdom."

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