Breaking: Queen Elizabeth II Dies @ 96

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The Queen has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace has announced.

“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” Buckingham Palace said.

Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the world’s oldest head of state.

On her death, the Queen’s eldest son and heir, Charles, the former Prince of Wales, has become King of the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth realms.

No official details have been released about what will happen over the coming days, but it is anticipated that the Queen will be given a full state funeral, as is traditional to mark the death of a monarch.

It is also expected that her body will lie in state to allow the public to pay tribute.

The King will sign off the final plans in the coming days.

Reaction to the death of the Queen – latest updates

Image: The Queen was last seen on Tuesday welcoming her 15th prime minister

A life of service:

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was born in London on 21 April 1926.

At the time, no one expected her to be Queen as she was third in line to the throne behind her uncle and father.

During her record-breaking reign, she dedicated her life to serving her country and Commonwealth.

In a radio address in 1947 on her 21st birthday, she said: “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952 at the age of 25, when her father, King George VI, died.

Her coronation took place 16 months later at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen held a number of other titles, which will now automatically pass to her son and heir.

She was head of the Commonwealth, commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, and supreme governor of the Church of England. She was also patron of more than 600 charities and organisations

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