Britons rarely looked to their monarchy for political leadership, but Elizabeth was the key figure who saw Britain transform from a war-weary, decaying imperial power into a modern multicultural nation. Over decades of change, it has been appreciated by many.
Outside Buckingham Palace in London, the Queen’s residence, Balmoral Castle where she was when she died, and other royal residences Thursday night, as news of the Queen’s death spread following an announcement from the royal family. Crowds of mourners gathered. Heavy rains in parts of England.
Many brought flowers and lit candles, and some were visibly shaken by the news. The quiet singing of “God Save the Queen” exploded across the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace, gathering crowds well into the night.
In keeping with royal tradition, a written statement announcing the Queen’s death was hung on the palace gates. In a shocking moment right after the official announcement, the heavy rains that hit London stopped and a large double rainbow appeared over the palace.
“The Queen passed away peacefully in Balmoral this afternoon. The King and Queen will remain in Balmoral tonight and return to London tomorrow.”
King Charles III is scheduled to make a speech on Friday, a royal spokesperson told CNN.
Within 24 hours of the Queen’s obituary being announced, gun salutes will be held across London. This is her one round in her year in Elizabeth’s life, with broadcasts by the new king. The bells of Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s and Windsor Castle will ring for the next few days.
As monarch, Queen Elizabeth will automatically be given a publicly funded state funeral, with details to be announced soon.
The Queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and arrangements are to be made for her return to England in the coming days.
Other formalities include a meeting of the Accession Councils in an old ceremony at the 500-year-old St James’s Palace in London. Part of that meeting included the formal announcement of the sovereign’s death and the formal proclamation of Charles III as the new sovereign.
Although this is a closed meeting, it is attended by hundreds of dignitaries and members of the Privy Council, a board of royal advisors, followed by the coat of arms of King Garter, the person responsible for overseeing royal ceremonial duties. . Edicts from palace balconies and gun salutes echo throughout the capital.
CNN’s David Wilkinson, Susannah Cullinane, Peter Wilkinson, Laura Smith-Spark, and Stephanie Busari contributed to this article.