Britain’s Queen Elizabeth dies peacefully at her Scottish home aged 96

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BALMORAL, Scotland, September 8 (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the country’s figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, the palace said on Thursday. Buckingham.

“The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” he said in a statement.

“The King and Queen Consort will stay at Balmoral tonight and return to London tomorrow.”

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Elizabeth’s eldest son, Charles, 73, automatically becomes king of the United Kingdom and head of state of 14 other kingdoms, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. His wife Camilla becomes queen consort.

His family had rushed to be by his side at his Scottish home, Balmoral Castle, after doctors became concerned about his health. She had suffered from what Buckingham Palace called “episodic mobility issues” since late last year, forcing her to step back from almost all of her public engagements.

Queen Elizabeth II, who was also the oldest and longest serving head of state in the world, ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was n was only 25 years old.

She is crowned in June of the following year. The first televised coronation was a taste of a new world in which the lives of members of the royal family were to come under increasing media scrutiny.

“I am sincerely committed to your service, as so many of you are committed to mine. Throughout my life and with all my heart, I will strive to be worthy of your trust”, a- she declared in a speech to her subjects on her coronation day.

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

Winston Churchill was then British Prime Minister, Josef Stalin led the Soviet Union and the Korean War was raging.

In the decades that followed, Elizabeth witnessed massive political change and social upheaval at home and abroad. The tribulations of his own family, including the divorce of Charles from his late first wife Diana, unfolded in the public eye.

While remaining an enduring symbol of stability and continuity for Britons at a time of relative national economic decline, Elizabeth also attempted to adapt the ancient institution of monarchy to the demands of the modern age.

“She managed to modernize and evolve the monarchy like no other,” her grandson Prince William, now heir to the throne, said in a 2012 documentary.

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Additional reporting by Muvija M, Kate Holton, William James, Alistair Smout, Paul Sandle, Kylie MacLellan, Sachin Ravikumar, Farouq Suleiman, Elizabeth Piper, William Schomberg, David Milliken, Hannah McKay and Sarah McFarlane; Editing by Kate Holton and Janet Lawrence

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