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Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace confirmed in a statement

By Nick Reilly

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (Picture: Alamy/DPPA/Sipa USA)

Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, bringing an end to her historic 70 year reign as monarch.

The news was confirmed in a statement from Buckingham Palace, who said Her Majesty passed away peacefully in Balmoral, with her family by her bedside.

The statement said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

Prince Charles will take over as king, with the full handover of power expected to take place tomorrow.

The monarch’s death marks one of the most significant moments in British history and brings an end to a rule which began in 1952. Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and the country was still rising from the ashes of World War II.

Her passing, some seventy years later, sees the country virtually unrecognisable to the one that she inherited following the death of her father, George VI. Throughout a reign of 15 Prime Ministers, various international conflicts and vast technological advancements, she has remained a constant overarching presence in British society.

As for the future of the Monarchy, the Accession Council – which includes senior government figures – is expected to meet tomorrow at St James’ Palace to proclaim the Prince of Wales as King Charles.

Privy counsellors are expected to attend the ceremony, before a proclamation is read at St James’ Palace and the Royal Exchange in the City of London to confirm Charles as king.