Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.
Her son King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” around the world.
Senior royals had gathered at her Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday.
The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.
King Charles said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of 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 will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms. Camilla, his wife, becomes Queen Consort.
During the coming period, he said he and his family would be “comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held”.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “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.”
All the Queen’s children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.
Her grandson and now heir to the throne, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.
Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was appointed by the Queen on Tuesday, said the monarch was the rock on which modern Britain was built, who had “provided us with the stability and strength that we needed”.
Speaking about the new King, she said: “We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much, to so many, for so long.
“And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country, exactly as Her Majesty would have wished, by saying the words ‘God save the King’.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK’s entry into – and withdrawal from – the European Union.
Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Ms Truss, born 101 years later in 1975.
She held weekly audiences with her prime minister throughout her reign.
At Buckingham Palace in London, crowds awaiting updates on the Queen’s condition began crying as they heard of her death. The Union flag on top of the palace was lowered to half-mast at 18:30 BST and an official notice announcing the death was posted outside.
On the Queen’s death, Prince William and his wife, Catherine, became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall.
The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on 21 April 1926.
Few could have foreseen she would become monarch but in December 1936 her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne to marry the twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.
Elizabeth’s father became King George VI and, at age 10, Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne.
Within three years, Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected suggestions they be evacuated to Canada.
After turning 18, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned basic motor mechanic and driving skills. “I began to understand the esprit de corps that flourishes in the face of adversity,” she recalled later.
Through the war, she exchanged letters with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who was serving in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed and the couple married at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, with the prince taking the title of Duke of Edinburgh.
She would later describe him as “my strength and stay” through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021, aged 99.
Their first son, Charles, was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne, in 1950, Prince Andrew, in 1960, and Prince Edward, in 1964. Between them, they gave their parents eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya in 1952, representing the ailing King, when Philip broke the news that her father had died. She immediately returned to London as the new Queen.
“It was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can,” she later recalled.
Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, aged 27, in front of a then-record TV audience estimated at more than 20 million people.
Subsequent decades would see great change, with the end of the British Empire overseas and the swinging ’60s sweeping away social norms at home.
Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for this less deferential age, engaging with the public through walkabouts, royal visits and attendance at public events. Her commitment to the Commonwealth was a constant – she visited every Commonwealth country at least once.
But there were periods of private and public pain. In 1992, the Queen’s “annus horribilis”, fire devastated Windsor Castle – a private residence as well as working palace – and three of her children’s marriages broke down.
After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, the Queen drew criticism for appearing reluctant to respond publicly.
There were questions about the monarchy’s relevance in modern society.
“No institution… should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t,” she acknowledged.
As a 21-year-old princess, Elizabeth had vowed to devote her life to service.
Reflecting on those words decades later, during her Silver Jubilee in 1977, she declared: “Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”
That same commitment to serving was made 45 years later in a thank you letter to the nation on the weekend of her Platinum Jubilee in June.
The milestone was celebrated with a mix of state ceremonies and a colourful festival of all things British, as well as lively street parties.
Although the Queen’s health kept her from some events, she said: “My heart has been with you all.” (BBC)
This handout picture provided by the office of Libya’s Benghazi-based interim prime minister on September 11, 2023 shows a view of destroyed vehicles and damaged buildings in the eastern city of Derna, about 290 kilometres east of Benghazi, in the wake of the Mediterranean storm “Daniel”. (Photo by The Press Office of Libyan Prime Minister / AFP)
At least 2,300 people were killed in Libya and thousands more were reported missing after catastrophic flash floods broke river dams and tore through an eastern coastal city, devastating entire neighbourhoods.
As global concern spread, multiple nations offered to urgently send aid and rescue teams to help the war-scarred country that has been overwhelmed by what one UN official labelled “a calamity of epic proportions”.
Massive destruction shattered the Mediterranean coastal city of Derna, home to about 100,000 people, where multi-storey buildings on the river banks collapsed and houses and cars vanished in the raging waters.
Emergency services reported an initial death toll of more than 2,300 in Derna alone and said over 5,000 people remained missing while about 7,000 were injured.
“The situation in Derna is shocking and very dramatic,” said Osama Ali of the Tripoli-based Rescue and Emergency Service. “We need more support to save lives because there are people still under the rubble and every minute counts.”
The floods were caused by torrential rains from Storm Daniel, which made landfall in Libya on Sunday after earlier lashing Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Derna, 250 kilometres (150 miles) east of Benghazi, is ringed by hills and bisected by what is normally a dry riverbed in summer, but which has turned into a raging torrent of mud-brown water that also swept away several major bridges.
The number of dead given by the Libyan emergency service roughly matched the grim estimates provided by the Red Cross and by authorities in the east, who have warned the death toll may yet rise further.
“The death toll is huge and might reach thousands,” said Tamer Ramadan of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, three of whose volunteers were also reported dead.
“We confirm from our independent sources of information that the number of missing people is hitting 10,000 persons so far,” Ramadan added.
Elsewhere in Libya’s east, aid group the Norwegian Refugee Council said “entire villages have been overwhelmed by the floods and the death toll continues to rise”.
“Communities across Libya have endured years of conflict, poverty and displacement. The latest disaster will exacerbate the situation for these people. Hospitals and shelters will be overstretched.”
People look at the damage caused by freak floods in Derna, eastern Libya, on September 11, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
The storm also hit Benghazi and the hill district of Jabal al-Akhdar. Flooding, mudslides and other major damage were reported from the wider region, with images showing overturned cars and trucks.
Libya’s National Oil Corporation, which has its main fields and terminals in eastern Libya, declared “a state of maximum alert” and suspended flights between production sites where it said activity was drastically reduced.
Oil-rich Libya is still recovering from the years of war and chaos that followed the 2011 NATO-backed popular uprising which toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
The country is divided between two rival governments — the UN-brokered, internationally recognised administration based in Tripoli, and a separate administration in the disaster-hit east.
Access to the east is limited. Phone and online links have been largely severed, but the administration’s prime minister Oussama Hamad has reported “more than 2,000 dead and thousands missing” in Derna alone.
A Derna city council official described the situation as “catastrophic” and asked for a “national and international intervention”.
Libya’s UN-backed government under Abdelhamid Dbeibah announced three days of national mourning on Monday and emphasised “the unity of all Libyans”.
Aid convoys from Tripoli were heading east and Dbeibah’s government announced the dispatch of two ambulance planes and a helicopter, as well as rescue teams, canine search squads and 87 doctors, and technicians to restore power.
Rescue teams from Turkey have arrived in eastern Libya, according to authorities, and the United Nations and several countries offered to send aid.
Egypt announced three days of mourning “in solidarity” with Libya and earthquake-hit Morocco and offered to send aid to both countries.
Algeria said it was sending aid aboard eight military planes and Italy said it was “responding immediately to requests for support” with an assessment team on the way.
The United States embassy said it had “issued an official declaration of humanitarian need in response to the devastating floods in Libya”.
Two easyJet passengers were caught by a cabin crew member having sex on the flight to Ibiza
• Cabin crew member caught them in the act during flight
Two easyJet passengers were led away by police in Ibiza after they were caught having sex in the plane toilet during a flight when a cabin crew member opened the door to expose them.
Video shows passengers cheering and shouting as the easyJet employee pulled back the door on the duo.
But footage from the fight from Luton appears to show the couple were in no mood to stop early, with the man promptly shutting the door again so they could join the so-called ‘Mile High Club’.
An EasyJet spokesperson told MailOnline the flight was met by police on arrival on the Spanish party island.
• Two easyJet passengers were caught by a cabin crew member having sex on the flight to Ibiza
Those in the rear seats who watched the situation unfold appeared to find what was happening hilarious and could be seen watching opened mouthed. One woman was heard screaming ‘Oh my f***ing God’, before asking her friend if she had videoed what happened.
But the cabin crew member seemed unsure how to respond and could be seen in the clip holding his head in the hands after catching the couple in the act.
The video has been shared widely on social media, with one user joking: ‘Ryanair would charge extra.’ Another added: ‘Hope that wasn’t the pilot.’
….The incident happened on an easyJet flight from London Luton to Ibiza last Friday (file image)
An easyJet spokeswoman told MailOnline: ‘We can confirm that this flight from Luton to Ibiza on September 8 was met by police on arrival due to the behaviour of two passengers onboard.’