Queen Elizabeth II Dies at 96 | Britain’s longest-serving monarch;

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“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

Buckingham Palace said the 96-year-old monarch—who ascended the throne when Winston Churchill was prime minister and the nation was recovering from World War II—died at her residence in Balmoral, Scotland. She was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

Her son Charles, 73, now becomes king. The queen’s eldest son was in Scotland with his family and is expected to return to London. If he keeps his name as monarch, he would become King Charles III.

The queen’s death marks a watershed moment for the U.K. Britons under the age of 70 have grown up knowing only one monarch. She was the most visible link to the country’s imperial past and the embodiment of national identity.

The House of Windsor is the last European monarchy to continue the practice of coronation. Marking her departure and the anointment of her successor will now be critical to that transition and to maintaining the pageantry vital to sustaining the monarchy’s role and power.

Queen Elizabeth’s historic reign spanned a period of deep social and economic change, from a nation of empire that pioneered globalization to a country that chose to pull out of the European Union, from a society with rigid class divisions to a diverse and more equal country.

There will be a 10-day period before her funeral during which a minutely choreographed commemoration will take place.

The government’s website will feature a black banner to commemorate her passing. Given her death took place in Scotland, she is expected to lie in state there before coming to London for a state funeral.

But there were periods of private and public pain. In 1992, the Queen’s “annus horribilis”, fire devastated Windsor Castle – a private residence as well as working palace – and three of her children’s marriages broke down.

After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, the Queen drew criticism for appearing reluctant to respond publicly.

There were questions about the monarchy’s relevance in modern society.

“No institution… should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t,” she acknowledged.


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