Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch of Great Britain, died in Balmoral at the age of 96 after a 70-year reign.
Her family gathered at her Scottish estate after concerns were raised about her health earlier on Thursday.
The Queen ascended the throne in 1952 and witnessed huge social changes.
After her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the mourning for the country as the new king and head of state of the 14 Commonwealth kingdoms.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen passed away peacefully this afternoon at Balmoral.
“The King and Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral tonight and return to London tomorrow.”
All of the Queen’s children went to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.
Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, and his brother, Prince Harry, is on the way.
Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as head of state coincided with a period of post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and Britain’s entry into and exit from the European Union.
Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers, starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975 and appointed by the Queen earlier this week.
Throughout her reign, she held weekly audiences with her Prime Minister.
At Buckingham Palace in London, a crowd waiting for news of the Queen’s condition began to cry upon learning of her death. The Union flag on top of the palace was lowered to half mast at 18:30 Moscow time.
Queen Elizabeth Alexandra Maria Windsor was born on April 21, 1926 in Mayfair, London.
Few people could have foreseen that she would become a monarch, but in December 1936, her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated to marry the twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth’s father became King George VI, and at the age of 10, Lilibet, as she was called in the family, became the heir to the throne.
For three years, Great Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Elizabeth and her younger sister Princess Margaret spent most of the wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected offers to evacuate them to Canada.
After the age of 18, Elizabeth spent five months in the Auxiliary Territorial Service and mastered the basic skills of an auto mechanic and driving. “I began to understand the corporate spirit that thrives in the face of adversity,” she later recalled.
During the war, she corresponded with her second cousin Philip, Prince of Greece, who served in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed, and on November 20, 1947, the couple married in Westminster Abbey, and the prince assumed the title of Duke of Edinburgh.
She would later call him “my strength and support” for 74 years of marriage, until his death in 2021 at the age of 99.
Their first son Charles was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964. Together they gave their parents eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya in 1952 representing the ailing king when Philip broke the news of her father’s death. She immediately returned to London as the new queen.
“It was all very unexpected to get down to work and make it as good as possible,” she later recalled.
Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, at the age of 27, in front of a then-record television audience of more than 20 million people.
In the following decades, great changes took place: the end of the British Empire abroad and the turbulent 60s, sweeping away social norms at home.
Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for this less deferential age by interacting with the public through walks, royal visits, and attending public events. Her commitment to the Commonwealth was constant – she visited every country of the Commonwealth at least once.
But there were periods of personal and public pain. In 1992, the Queen’s “terrible year”, a fire destroyed Windsor Castle – a private residence, as well as a working palace – and the marriages of her three children broke up.
After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car crash in Paris in 1997, the Queen was criticized for not responding publicly.
There were questions about the relevance of the monarchy in modern society.
“No institution … should be free from the scrutiny of those who show loyalty and support to it, let alone those who do not,” she admitted.