World

Royal Family members 'mourn profoundly' the death of mother and monarch Queen Elizabeth

The royal family is mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth after announcing Thursday that the long-serving monarch had died at age 96.

Long-serving monarch died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Edward, Earl of Wessex arrive at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeen, Scotland, where Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Sept. 8 at the age of 96. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The Royal Family is mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth, after announcing Thursday that the long-serving monarch had died at age 96.

"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," the Queen's son Charles, who automatically became king upon her death, said in a statement released Thursday.

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.

"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."

A framed notice hangs on a black metal fence.
An official statement, confirming the death of Queen Elizabeth II, is seen posted at the front of Buckingham Palace on Thursday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Senior members of the royal family had rushed to Scotland earlier Thursday to be with the Queen, after Buckingham Palace announced that she was under medical supervision with doctors "concerned for Her Majesty's health." 

The palace said she was "comfortable" and remained at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she had spent the summer.

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Charles, along with his wife, Camilla, and sister, Princess Anne, were already with the Queen at Balmoral Castle ahead of Thursday's announcement about her health.

A fleet of cars carrying Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, arrived at Balmoral Castle about 5 p.m. local time, about an hour after a plane carrying the royal party arrived at Aberdeen Airport.

Prince Harry, who was due to appear at a charity awards ceremony in London later Thursday, cancelled that appearance and was making his way to Scotland separately. He was travelling without his wife Meghan, PA Media reported.

A man with red hair, wearing a black suit jacket and white suit, seen through a rain-covered window in the back seat of black car.
Britain's Prince Harry arrived at Balmoral separately from other family members, following the death of his grandmother. His wife, Meghan, did not accompany him to Scotland. (Andrew Milligan/PA/The Associated Press)

The announcement about the Queen's health came a day after the Queen had cancelled a meeting of her Privy Council and was told to rest.

The Privy Council, a group of the monarch's senior advisers, was due to formally swear in Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss and her new Cabinet members at Wednesday's meeting. The session will be held at a later date.

The Queen, Britain's longest-reigning sovereign, had been suffering from what Buckingham Palace had called "episodic mobility problems" since the end of last year.

A member of Buckingham Palace staff holds a board in the palace's courtyard on Thursday. (Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images)

Last October, she spent a night in hospital, and she had been forced to cut back on public engagements after that.

Concern from world leaders

Prior to the news of the Queen's death, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had tweeted that his thoughts "and the thoughts of Canadians across the country" were with the monarch.

Truss, who was interrupted during a debate in the House of Commons to be informed about the Queen's condition, said on Twitter that the whole country was "deeply concerned".

"My thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time," she wrote.

Queen Elizabeth, left, welcomes Liz Truss during an audience at Balmoral, Scotland, where she invited the newly elected leader of the Conservative Party to become prime minister and form a new government, on Tuesday. (Jane Barlow/The Associated Press)

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed about the situation with the Queen.

"His and the first lady's thoughts are solidly and squarely with the Queen today and her family," White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters, earlier Thursday.

Britain's Parliament has Queen Elizabeth in its thoughts and prayers, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said.

Those sentiments were echoed by the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

"Along with the rest of the country, I am deeply worried by the news from Buckingham Palace this afternoon," said British opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer.

Elizabeth marked seven decades on the throne this year. She increasingly handed over duties to Charles and other members of the Royal Family in recent months as she struggled to get around.

Crowds outside Buckingham Palace

Hundreds of well wishers stood in the rain outside Buckingham Palace, some bringing flowers, as concern over the Queen's health grew.

"I work close by and I heard on the news about Her Majesty's failing health, so I was concerned and it led me to come to Buckingham Palace, to be at the heart of the monarchy," said Alexander Caplan, 40, a technology entrepreneur in London.

WATCH | Queen remembered for her service and duty: 

Death of Queen Elizabeth prompts outpouring of grief in Britain

3 months ago
Duration 7:27
Thousands of people rushed to Buckingham Palace as news broke of Queen Elizabeth’s death. How Britons are absorbing the momentous news.

Elizabeth had been Queen of Britain and more than a dozen other countries — including Canada, Australia and New Zealand — since 1952. Earlier this year, she marked her 70th year on the throne with four days of national celebrations in June.

"I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come," she said at the time.

Elizabeth came to the throne after the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25.

She was crowned in June the following year. The first televised coronation was a foretaste of a new world in which the lives of the royals were to become increasingly scrutinized by the media.

Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday after Queen Elizabeth's doctors expressed 'concern' for her health, according to a palace statement. The palace said the Queen was 'comfortable' and remained at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she has spent the summer. (Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images)

She became monarch at a time when Britain retained much of its empire. It was emerging from the ravages of the Second World War, with food rationing still in force and class and privilege still dominant in society.

Winston Churchill was the first prime minister who served during her reign, Joseph Stalin was leader of the Soviet Union, and the Korean War was raging.

With files from Reuters

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