Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch whose rule spanned seven decades is dead, Buckingham Palace has announced.
She died on Thursday at the age of 96.
“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,” the royal family announced in a statement posted on its official Twitter account, referring to Charles as the new King for the first time.
Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952, on the death of her father, King George VI. She oversaw the last throes of the British empire, weathered global upheaval and domestic scandal, and dramatically modernized the monarchy.
She died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after doctors said they had become concerned about her health on Thursday.
Elizabeth ruled over the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms, and became one of the most recognizable women ever to have lived.
The Queen’s four children were at Balmoral Castle when the announcement was made.
Charles rushed to the Scottish castle earlier on Thursday together with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. The Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, known as the Princess Royal, was already there.
Queen’s oldest son Charles has now become the King.
Charles is now King of the United Kingdom
Charles immediately became King upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.
The Royal family referred to Charles as King in announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth. The tweet referred to Camila as the Queen Consort.
As heir apparent since the age of three, he has been the longest serving heir to the throne in British history.
Upon becoming the sovereign, Charles has the option to take any name he chooses for his reign as King. For example, King George VI’s real name was actually Albert. Two previous monarchs have been called Charles.
Charles had already been taking on some of the Queen’s engagements this year as her health had become enough of a concern for her to cancel some of her commitments, including the State Opening of Parliament.
Both Charles and Prince William had been prioritizing the Queen’s diary over theirs. Both of them had been activated as Counsellors of State, where the Queen delegates her sovereign power for specific purposes, and they were obligated to be even more available for those duties.