Buckingham Palace confirmed on Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in British history and an icon instantly recognizable to billions of people worldwide, has passed away at the age of 96.
Charles, Prince of Wales, the oldest of her four children and the oldest heir apparent in British history at 73, succeeds her as monarch right away.
Following the palace’s Thursday announcement that doctors were “concerned” for the queen’s health and that she remain under medical monitoring, the queen passed away.
Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward, all of whom are now in their sixties and seventies, came to her Scottish Highland home, Balmoral.
Charles’s sons, Prince William and his estranged brother Prince Harry, joined them.
Liz Truss was selected as the 15th prime minister of her reign two days earlier by the queen, who was photographed grinning but appearing elderly and using a walking stick.
One image from the encounter that showed a dark purple bruise on the monarch’s right hand caused concern.
Following World War II, Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne at the young age of 25 in 1952, entering a political world stage dominated by leaders such as US president Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong of China.
Her 70-year rule coincided with enormous social, political, and technological change spanning two centuries.
The final ruins of Britain’s extensive empire fell. At home, Brexit rattled her kingdom’s underpinnings while her family dealt with a string of scandals.
She was the monarch and head of state of 14 former British colonies, including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, and she maintained her popularity throughout.
She also served as supreme ruler of the Church of England, the mother church of the global Anglican communion, and head of the 56-nation Commonwealth, which includes one-fourth of the world’s population.
However, concerns will be raised about whether the British monarchy’s heyday has come to an end, how a centuries-old institution can survive in the present, and whether Charles will demand the same respect or rule in his mother’s shadow.