The Queen has died. Buckingham Palace has just confirmed that Her Majesty passed away at Balmoral this afternoon.
It was clear Her Majesty was most unwell when the canceling of the privy council yesterday was followed by a rare bulletin from Buckingham Palace on her health. The Speaker informed the House of Commons of the Queen’s ill-health this morning and since then the nation has been braced for the worse.
The Queen has reigned for seventy years. She worked until the very end. Just on Monday, she invited her 15th prime minister, Liz Truss, to form a government. In private, she will have dispensed the wisdom and advice that every prime minister came to value. She had, after all, an unparalleled knowledge of Britain’s recent political history. Her first prime minister was Winston Churchill; her last was her — and Britain’s — third female prime minister. She presided over a period of remarkable social and technological change. She remained throughout a link between the past, present and future.
The Queen was the model constitutional monarch. It is testament to her skill and dedication that despite all the changes that have occurred in Britain in the last 70 years, republicanism has never become a serious force.
When anyone dies at 96, one should be grateful for a long life. But it is a sign of how much she means to so many that there is such a profound sense of loss today. On her 21st birthday, she promised that her life would be dedicated to our service and to her dying day she fulfilled that vow.
Today, Britain lost a sovereign whose sense of duty was immense. They now enter a period of national mourning.