As Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II had died, the world began mourning. Earlier in the day, doctors had expressed concerns about the 96-year-old monarch’s health and several members of the royal family traveled to the Balmoral estate in Scotland where she was staying at the time.
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” Prime Minister Liz Truss said in a speech after the news was announced.
Charles, the new King, issued a statement after his mother’s death, saying, “During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.”
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “This is our country’s saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss — far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, “Her life was one of extraordinary dedication and service. On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to The King and the Royal Family.” Meanwhile, First Minister of Wales tweeted, “As our longest reigning monarch, she firmly upheld the values and traditions of the British Monarchy.”
The role of First Minister of Northern Ireland remains vacant but the former office holder, Paul Givan, tweeted that the Queen had “dedicated to public duty the Queen has served our Nation and Commonwealth with remarkable grace and distinction.”
Outside the U.K., U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released a statement after the Queen’s death, saying that she “defined an era” and “deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
“She was the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection—whether they heard her on the radio as a young princess speaking to the children of the United Kingdom, or gathered around their televisions for her coronation, or watched her final Christmas speech or her Platinum Jubilee on their phones. And she, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service,” they wrote.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudea gave a speech in Vancouver shortly after the Queen’s death. “She was our Queen for almost half of Canada’s existence and she had an obvious, deep and abiding love and affection for Canadians,” Trudeau said. “She served us all with strength and wisdom for 70 years as we grew into the diverse, optimistic, responsible, ambitious and extraordinary country we are today.” The Queen remains the official head of state of Canada but Trudeau is the head of government.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, tweeted that his thoughts were with the royal family and all those mourning her across the world. “Once called Elizabeth the Steadfast, she never failed to show us the importance of lasting values in a modern world with her service and commitment,” Michel said.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted out a photo of the Queen accompanying a message of support. “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years,” he wrote. “I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that Ukraine extended its “sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss.”
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte wrote in a statement that the Dutch government had conveyed its sympathy to Prime Minister Truss. “During her exceptionally long reign, she was a beacon of calm and stability for her country and the world, even at moments of the greatest historical upheaval,” Rutte said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote that she would “be remembered as a stalwart of our times. She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people.”
Arsenal, a soccer club in the English Premier League, held a moment of silence before the second half of their match against FC Zurich.
Manchester United announced that it would wear black armbands and hold a minute’s silence before their game with Real Sociedad.
Some, however, reflected on how the British Empire’s suppression of independence movements complicated the Queen’s legacy. “Black and brown people around the world who were subject to horrendous cruelties and economic deprivation under British colonialism are allowed to have feelings about Queen Elizabeth. After all, they were her ‘subjects’ too,” Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah wrote on Twitter.
— With additional reporting by Yasmeen Serhan.