Queen Elizabeth II Has Died At 96 & The Royal Family Says It Was 'Peaceful'
Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, ending her 70-year reign as the longest-serving monarch in U.K. history.
She died on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral, the royal family's official Twitter account said.
"The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow," said the tweet.
Her death immediately triggered an intricate plan to crown her heir, Prince Charles, and prepare for her funeral, which is expected to draw world leaders from Canada and many other countries, both in and outside the Commonwealth.
The queen's health noticeably declined in late 2021 and into 2022, during which time she took weeks off at a time and even stayed over at the hospital on at least one occasion. She started using a cane and began to scale back many of her duties, allowing other members of the royal family to step in for her at official events.
Her declining health also became an issue during her Platinum Jubilee celebration in June, at which she only made a brief appearance.
Queen Elizabeth's death comes after her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died in April 2021 at the age of 99.
The queen was one of the most recognizable people in the world, and her life story was just as well known, inspiring countless movies and TV shows, including several seasons of the Netflix hit The Crown.
She was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor on April 21, 1926, to the reigning king's second-born son, Prince Albert. She wasn't expected to become queen at the time, but things changed when she was 10.
That's when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne, leaving her dad to take over as King George VI. George didn't have any sons, and Elizabeth was older than her sister Margaret, so that left her next in line for the throne.
Princess Elizabeth grew up in the U.K. and learned to drive and fix ambulances and other trucks during the Second World War.
By that point, she was also already in love with her future husband, Philip Mountbatten, whom she met when she was a girl. The two began exchanging letters and ultimately got married in 1947 when Elizabeth was 21.
She gave birth to Charles in 1948, followed later by Anne, Andrew and Edward.
Elizabeth started filling in for her dad in 1951 as his health declined, and she was standing in for him on a visit to Kenya when he died in February 1952, leaving her to become queen at age 25.
Queen Elizabeth would become a steadying presence in the U.K. over several decades of global change and progress.
She also served as the head of a family that saw its share of scandals over the decades, from Charles and Princess Diana's divorce, to Diana's death, to Prince Harry's move to the U.S. and Prince Andrew's sexual abuse scandal.
In early 2022, she became the first-ever British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne.
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