The Queen has died

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the country’s figurehead for seven decades, has died. She was 96.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, UK time.

Her eldest son, Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and the head of state of 14 other realms including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In a statement, the Palace said “the King and the Queen Consort. Camilla, will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Doctors had expressed concerns about the Queen’s health on Thursday, and her family had rushed to her side at Balmoral through the day.

Queen Elizabeth had been suffering from what the Palace called “episodic mobility problems” since late last year, forcing her to withdraw from most of her public engagements.

The Queen was the UK’s longest serving monarch and was the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state.

She was crowned following the death of her father King George VI in 1952, when she was 25.

“I have in sincerity pledged myself to your service, as so many of you are pledged to mine,” the Queen said in her Coronation day speech.

“Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.”

Winston Churchill was prime minister at the time, Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union and the Korean War was still raging.

Her reign covered periods of massive political change and social upheaval in the UK and around the world.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to the Queen.

“The government and the people of Australia offer our deepest condolences to the royal family, who are grieving for a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother – the person whom for so long was their greatest inner strength.”

“As monarch for more than half the life of our Federation, the relationship between Australia and Britain matured and evolved throughout Her Majesty’s reign.

“The Queen greeted each and every change with understanding, good grace and an abiding faith in the Australian people’s good judgment.

“This was the deft and diplomatic way she bound the diversity of the modern Commonwealth, nations around the world who will mourn her passing.

“This time of mourning will pass but the deep respect and warm regard in which Australians always held Her Majesty will never fade.”