Queen Elizabeth II of England, has passed away at the age of 96, ending her reign as the longest serving monarch in English history.
Her eldest son will now take the throne as King Charles III.
A statement from Buckingham Palace was released at 6:30pm, on Thursday evening GMT (about 4.30am Australian time) announcing the Queen’s passing at Balmoral Castle. The royal family gathered in Scotland on Thursday to be with her in her final hours, after an announcement was made that she was under medical supervision.
Britain will now enter a 10-day period of mourning, in which flags will fly at half mast, and many businesses and government agencies will close.
King Charles III released his first statement as monarch, expressing his sorrow at the loss of his mother, stating: “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”
Australian Parliament will be halted for the next fortnight, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, and Governor-General David Hurley travelling to London in anticipation of the upcoming funeral.
As the world wakes up to the news, leaders have been expressing their condolences, with the Prime Minister sharing this letter:
The Prime Minister's statement on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. pic.twitter.com/P6l00TQkId
— Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) September 8, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II was the only sitting head of state to visit Australia, having travelled to the country 16 times, first arriving in 1954 at the age of 27. Since her first tour she had visited every Australian state and Territory.
Main image Gerald Stolk/Flickr.