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Queen Elizabeth II passes away at 96

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Buckingham Palace announced that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of England, died peacefully at Balmoral Castle this afternoon. As the flags were lowered at the announcement of her death, a rainbow appeared in the sky over Windsor Castle in London.

Earlier in the day, doctors expressed concern over the Queen’s rapidly declining health. The official announcement from Buckingham Palace prompted the royal family to rush to Scotland and be at her side. Queen Elizabeth spent her last moments with her children and grandchildren.

Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, was installed in her role at a meeting with the Queen just two days ago. In immediate response to Her Majesty’s death, Truss, calling the Queen her “personal inspiration,” noted, “It’s an extraordinary achievement to have presided with such dignity and grace for 70 years.”

Prince Charles, immediately named King of England, and his wife Camilla, now the Queen Consort, will remain at Balmoral Castle tonight. Tributes and condolences are flooding in from all over the world. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth.”

The royal website has gone dark, featuring only a photograph of a young Elizabeth and the news of her passing. United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags at the Capital to be flown at half-staff in honor of the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth ruled for 70 years, making her reign the longest in the nation’s history. At 96 years old, she was the oldest monarch in the world. She ascended the throne when she was 25 years old, immediately after the death of her father, King George VI, in 1952. In June of 1953, she was crowned in a televised coronation. The young monarch came to power when much of the British Empire was still intact and the nation was still recovering from the effects of World War II.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair offered the poignant tribute, “Her reign was indeed glorious.”

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