Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-ever reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, has died aged 96.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the heartbreaking news in a statement.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the statement read. “The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

The Queen had been had been under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle.

A monumental life

The Queen had a monumental life, devoted to the service of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations.

Her Majesty, then Princess Elizabeth, ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952, after her father, King George VI, passed away after 16 years on the throne, leaving his eldest daughter, then 25 years old to succeed him as monarch.

The long-reigning British monarch marked her Platinum Jubilee, celebrating an incredible and monumental 70 years on the throne this year.

When she was 21 years old, the then princess promised, in a heartfelt speech, that her “whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”.

These important words were a symbol of her long-standing devotion, dedicating her life to the service of her country and the Commonwealth of Nations.

For the majority of her reign, Her Majesty was supported by her devoted husband Prince Philip, whom she married in November 1947. The Duke of Edinburgh died in 2021 at the age of 99.

Queen Elizabeth II Prince Philip

In her Platinum Jubilee statement, Her Majesty reflected on being “fortunate” to have had her late husband Prince Philip as firm support by her side for most of her reign.

“I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it,” she said. “It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father’s reign.”

What lies ahead

So, what’s next for the monarchy?

The former Prince of Wales, who is now king, succeeds his late mother as monarch. The late Queen laid out her hopes for the future when she marked her Platinum Jubilee.

Queen, Prince Charles

While she thanked everyone for the support and loyalty they have shown her over the years during her reign, the Queen acknowledged that when “the fullness of time” would come apparent for Prince Charles to become king, the public would show the same support and gratitude to the heir apparent and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, now the Queen Consort.

To which the Queen then acknowledged Camilla would be known as Queen Consort. Over the years, this has been up for debate as Camilla is the second wife of Charles, who was married to the beloved late Princess Diana from 1981 to 1996.

Concluding her Platinum Jubilee message, the Queen shared her hopes that it would be an occasion to bring loved ones and family together.

“And so as I look forward to continuing to serve you with all my heart, I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities – after some difficult times for so many of us – in order to enjoy the celebrations and to reflect on the positive developments in our day-to-day lives that have so happily coincided with my reign,” she said.

Her Majesty’s reign and influence across the global stage for over seven decades was nothing short of iconic and we hope she may rest in peace.

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Images: Royal Family Instagram