Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has died

Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning queen and the nation’s leader for seven decades, passed away on Thursday at the age of 96, according to Buckingham Palace.

Her eldest son Charles, 73, automatically succeeds to the thrones of the United Kingdom.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.

“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”

After doctors voiced concern for her health, her family flew to Balmoral Castle, her Scottish residence, to be by her side. Since the end of last year, she had been experiencing what Buckingham Palace termed “episodic mobility issues,” forcing her to cancel nearly all of her public appearances.

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s oldest and longest-reigning monarch, ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, at the age of 25 after the death of her father, King George VI.

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