Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, according to Buckingham Palace.
Her death brings to a close a reign that spanned seven decades and made her the most recognized woman in the world.
As monarch, the Queen is automatically granted a publicly funded state funeral. Details for the funeral are expected to be released by the palace soon.
White House reacts to Queen’s death: “Our hearts and our thoughts go to the family members of the Queen”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reacted Thursday to the news that Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96, saying that “our hearts and our thoughts” go to the family and the people of the United Kingdom.
“Our hearts and our thoughts go to the family members of the Queen, goes to the people of United Kingdom. I don’t want to get ahead of what the President is going to say,” Jean-Pierre said at the end of the White House press briefing, reacting live to the news of the Queen’s passing.
“My life will always be devoted to your service.”
It was a vow she made repeatedly throughout her record-breaking reign, most recently in a message marking the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Elizabeth II may not have been born to be monarch, but once fate had intervened, she steadfastly committed her time on earth to duty and service.
Even in the twilight years of her life, as many speculated on whether she might step back or perhaps even abdicate, she remained resolute in her devotion to her role.
As the coronavirus pandemic swept the world in 2020, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, retreated from London to Windsor Castle. As in other times of crisis, the nation sought reassurance from the monarch, who evoked wartime references before firmly declaring “we will succeed.”
Keen to remain a presence in public life amid the lockdowns and social distancing measures, she pivoted like many of us did and began working from home, participating in virtual engagements and undertaking more calls.
Following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in April 2021, she resumed her royal duties with typical steadfastness.
Her first public appearance took place a month after the death of her “strength and stay” with the State Opening of Parliament.
She tested positive for Covid-19 in February 2022, though she continued with some of her light duties despite suffering from mild cold-like symptoms.
In July, she traveled to her private Scottish home of Balmoral for the start of her traditional summer break. On Sept. 6, the Queen received former Prime Minister Boris Johnson at Balmoral Castle as he left office before she greeted Liz Truss to ask her to form a government and become prime minister. The historic audience was the first time the 96-year-old monarch carried out the key duty at her retreat in Aberdeenshire, rather than at London’s Buckingham Palace.
News of her death truly marks the end of an era for the United Kingdom, with most of its people having known no other monarch at their head.