Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96; King Charles III vows to continue mother’s ‘lifelong service’

Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, officials with Buckingham Palace announced, hours after officials said doctors had concerns over her health. She was 96.

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The queen’s passing makes her son, the former Prince Charles, king. He will go by the name King Charles III.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace officials said the queen “died peacefully.”

Here are the latest updates:

Update 2:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: Mourners gathered Friday to remember Queen Elizabeth II at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London sang “God Save the King” to mark the end of the ceremony.

It was the first time the song was officially sung with the new lyrics. Previously, during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the lyrics were “God Save the Queen.”

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: President Joe Biden confirmed to reporters that he plans to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.

Arrangements have yet to be announced.

“I don’t know what the details are yet but I’ll be going,” he said, according to The Guardian.

Update 1:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: Watch the first public address by King Charles III:

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III shared affection for his son, Prince Harry, and his daughter-in-law, Meghan, during his first address as head of the British monarchy.

“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas,” he said.

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III said his eldest son, Prince William, will succeed him as Prince of Wales.

“With Catherine beside him, our new prince and princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the center ground where vital help can be given,” he said in his first address as king.

Earlier, officials confirmed that William and Kate have also been named the duke and duchess of Cornwall, in addition to being the duke and duchess of Cambridge. Previously, Charles and his wife, Camilla, were duke and duchess of Cambridge.

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III remembered his mother’s “life of service” and vowed to continue in her example Friday in his first address since the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

“I pay tribute to my mother’s memory,” he said. “I know that her death brings great sadness to so many of you, and I share that sense of loss beyond measure with you all.”

Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: Thousands of mourners gathered Friday for a service of prayer and reflection in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Update 12:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: Prime Minister Liz Truss and her cabinet will meet Saturday with King Charles III, The Guardian reported.

The king will hold an audience with the full cabinet around 2:30 p.m., according to the newspaper.

The meeting is scheduled after Charles’ accession to the throne is set to be officially proclaimed Saturday morning.

Update 12:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 9: The new lyrics to the British national anthem are set to be sung officially for the first time Friday, according to Sky News and The Guardian.

“God Save the Queen” was updated to “God Save the King” following the passing Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II.

The song will be played at the end of a memorial service Friday for the queen at St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Guardian reported.

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III held his first audience Friday with British Prime Minister Liz Truss, according to Sky News.

The pair met at Buckingham Palace on the day the king returned to the palace following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, at Balmoral. The meeting came three days after Truss became prime minister.

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: British Prime Minister Liz Truss arrived at Buckingham Palace on Friday ahead of her meeting with King Charles III, CNN reported.

Truss and Charles will meet ahead of the king’s first address, scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. EDT).

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: The children of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are entitled to be called prince and princess following the death Thursday of Queen Elizabeth II, according to BBC News and The Guardian.

Prince Harry and Meghan welcomed Archie in May 2019 and Lilibet in June 2021.

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Newspapers all over the world paid tribute Friday to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Update 9:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III greeted crowds outside Buckingham Palace on Friday as he arrived at the palace for the first time as king.

Some well-wishers sang “God save the king” as he shook hands and waved at those gathered.

Update 8:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla have landed in London ahead of the king’s first national address later Friday, according to BBC News and The Guardian.

Charles is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Liz Truss before his address, which will begin at 6 p.m. (1 p.m. EDT), BBC News reported.

Update 8:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III will be officially proclaimed Saturday morning at the “Accession Council,” royal family officials said Friday. The council includes members of the Privy Council, who advise the British monarch, and other officials.

Officials said the ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. EDT), will be televised, according to The Guardian.

Update 8:08 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Royal gun salutes have begun across the United Kingdom – including at London’s Hyde Park and the Tower Bridge – in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Ninety-six rounds are being fired in each salute, according to the Buckingham Palace website.

Update 7:15 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III and wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, have boarded a plane at Scotland’s Aberdeen Airport and are heading back to London, ITV is reporting.

Update 7:02 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Church bells have begun to toll across the United Kingdom in an hourlong tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, The Associated Press is reporting.

Update 6:22 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: King Charles III has left Balmoral Castle in Scotland to head to Aberdeen Airport, where he will board a plane to London, The Associated Press reported Friday morning.

Update 5:32 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Royal gun salutes by The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Honorable Artillery Company are scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. London time (8 a.m. EDT) Friday in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London, respectively, according to the Buckingham Palace website.

“One round will be fired for each year of The Queen’s life,” the palace wrote.

Update 4:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Buckingham Palace released the following statement Friday morning, according to The Telegraph and Reuters:

“Following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it is His Majesty The King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after The Queen’s Funeral,” the statement read.

“The date of the Funeral will be confirmed in due course.

“Royal Mourning will be observed by Members of the Royal Family, Royal Household staff and Representatives of the Royal Household on official duties, together with troops committed to Ceremonial Duties.”

A prerecorded, televised address from King Charles III is slated to air at 6 p.m. London time (1 p.m. EDT) Friday, The Telegraph reported.

Update 4 a.m. EDT Sept. 9: Several world monuments are paying tributes to the late queen, including the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower.

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 8: Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, has arrived at Balmoral after traveling to Scotland upon news of the queen’s deteriorating health, BBC News reported.

His wife, Megan, did not travel with him.

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT Sept. 8: World leaders including former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama on Thursday paid tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.

“Queen Elizabeth’s historic and remarkable reign left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain,” Trump wrote in a series of social media posts. “She will always be remembered for her faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women.”

Obama remembered Elizabeth’s warmth and “the way she put people at ease ... how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.”

“Our thoughts are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time,” he wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 8: A spokesperson told CNN that King Charles III will likely make an address on Friday.

Charles, 73, has been heir to the throne since he was 3 years old, according to The Guardian. On Thursday, he became the oldest person to ever assume the British throne, The Associated Press reported.

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 8: Prince William and his wife, Kate, have taken on the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in addition to the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, according to their Twitter account.

King Charles III and the queen consort, Camilla, previously held the titles of Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.

Original report: The king remembered his mother as “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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Speaking at 10 Downing Street on Thursday evening, Truss said, “We are all devastated” and remembered Elizabeth as “the very spirit of Great Britain.”

“The death of her majesty the queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world,” she said. “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 because of her.”

Truss had met with Elizabeth at Balmoral two days before the monarch’s death in a ceremony to mark the start of her time as prime minister, according to The Associated Press.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden remembered Elizabeth as “a steadying presence” in “a world of constant change.” The couple said they first met the late queen while traveling as part of a Senate delegation in 1982.

“Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” the Bidens said in a statement. “She helped make our relationship special.”

Members of the British royal family had gathered in Scotland earlier Thursday after doctors shared concerns for the queen’s health. They did not elaborate on the cause for concern.

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge; and the queen’s sons, Prince Charles; Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex were at Balmoral on Thursday, according to BBC News. Princess Anne was also at or headed for the estate, the news network reported. A spokesperson for Prince Harry told CNN that he was also going to Scotland.

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, remained in Windsor as her and Prince William’s children attended their first full day at a new school, BBC News reported. A spokesperson for Prince Harry told the news network that Meghan was not traveling to Balmoral with him.

Earlier this week, Elizabeth postponed a meeting of her privy council after doctors told her to rest, The Associated Press reported.

In June, the queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking her 70th year on the throne. However, she had to skip a thanksgiving service planned as part of the festivities because of unspecified discomfort.

Elizabeth became queen on Feb. 6, 1952, following the death of her father. She is the second-longest reigning monarch in history behind France’s King Louis XIV, who reigned for more than 72 years, and the longest reigning monarch in British history, according to NPR.

Elizabeth is preceded in death by her longtime husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2020. She is survived by her three sons and her daughter, eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

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