Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died. She was 96. Elizabeth spent more than seven decades on the throne as the U.K. rebuilt from war, lost an empire, transformed its economy and both entered and left the European Union.
She was a constant presence, the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and she guided the institution of the monarchy through choppy waters. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image, which adorned stamps, coins and bank notes, was among the most reproduced in the world.
Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, his office announced. Charles' second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.
In a statement, Charles called his mother's death “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” adding: “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
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British Prime Minister Liz Truss, appointed by the queen just 48 hours earlier, pronounced the country “devastated” and called Elizabeth “the rock on which modern Britain was built.”
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