It’s a tragic and momentous day. Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96. The news was announced by Buckingham Palace this evening. In a statement the palace 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.’
Elizabeth – who was born in 1926 – became monarch of the UK in 1953. She is known for introducing the tradition of the ‘royal walkabout’ – getting up close and personal with the crowds who’d come to see her rather than keeping a safe distance – as well as being a mother to Prince Charles, grandmother to Princes William and Harry and fan of jazzy hats. Her husband Prince Philip died in April 2021.
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No matter how you feel about the royals, her death marks a moment of change in our country. In the coming weeks you can expect to see Charles crowned as King and our stamps and money changed to show the face of our new monarch.
Her funeral will likely take place in ten days’ time, on Saturday September 17 – an official ‘day of national mourning’. The service will be held to an audience of 2,000 guests at Westminster Abbey followed by a procession down the Mall. It will be shown on big screens around the city and country.
In the meantime, you can expect to see the UK go into a period of mourning. In London, Big Ben will be muffled, venues will close early and there’ll be designated areas around the city where Londoners can lay flowers. There’ll be more on that as we get more information.