Queen Elizabeth, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and the nation's figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
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. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
"The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow."
Her eldest son Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Former British Prime Minister John Major called Queen Elizabeth "selfless and wise, with a wonderful generosity of spirit," reacting to news that the monarch has died.
"For 70 years Her Majesty The Queen devoted her life to the service of our nation and its wellbeing," he said in a statement on Thursday. "In her public duties, she was selfless and wise, with a wonderful generosity of spirit. That is how she lived – and how she led."
"For millions of people – across the Commonwealth and the wider world – she embodied the heart and soul of our nation, and was admired and respected around the globe," he added.
All of Queen Elizabeth's four children including daughter Princess Anne and youngest son Prince Edward were at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with the British monarch, ITV reported. Prince Harry arrived as well.
What happened on Wednesday?
On Wednesday the queen was forced to cancel a planned 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 her Scottish home, Balmoral Castle.
Prince Charles mourns his mother
"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
"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."
Boris Johnson paid his tribute to the Queen
Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday that the country felt a deep and personal sense of loss at the passing of Queen Elizabeth, paying his tribute to the monarch.
"She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on," Johnson said.
"Wave after wave of grief is rolling across the world, from Balmoral — where our thoughts are with all the Royal Family — and breaking far beyond this country and throughout that great Commonwealth of nations that she so cherished and which cherished her in return."
British Prime Minister Liz Truss paid tribute to the Queen
British Prime Minister Liz Truss paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth following the monarch's death aged 96 on Thursday.
"We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world. Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign.
"Britain is the great country it is today because of her. She ascended the throne just after the Second World War. She championed the development of the Commonwealth - from a small group of seven countries to a family of 56 nations spanning every continent of the world. We are now a modern, thriving, dynamic nation.
"Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure. She has been our longest-ever reigning monarch.
"In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime of service.
"It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.
"And as we mourn, we must come together as a people to support him. To help him bear the awesome responsibility that he now carries for us all.
"We offer him our loyalty and devotion just as his mother devoted so much to so many for so long. And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country - exactly as Her Majesty would have wished - by saying the words God save the King."
Former British prime minister David Cameron offered his condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday.
"No matter how prepared one could be for this day, there are no words that can adequately express the sense of loss our nation will feel," Cameron said in a statement posted on Twitter.
At this solemn and profoundly sad time for our country, the Commonwealth and the world, I offer His Majesty The King and the whole Royal Family, my heartfelt condolences on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. My statement: pic.twitter.com/UGGdt04v1I— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) September 8, 2022