Queen Elizabeth II, the oldest monarch in British history to survive World War II and meet three US presidents, died on Thursday aged 96.
According to the British royal family, the monarch died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The nation will mourn for ten days under the long-standing Operation London Bridge plan.
News of Queen Elizabeth II’s death has gone around the world and US President Joe Biden and the White House have released a statement honoring the late Queen.
Statement from the White House
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era,” the statement began.
“In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.”
“An enduring admiration for Queen Elizabeth II united people across the Commonwealth. The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.”
“She was the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection—whether they heard her on the radio as a young princess speaking to the children of the United Kingdom, or gathered around their televisions for her coronation, or watched her final Christmas speech or her Platinum Jubilee on their phones.”
“And she, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service.”
“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 statement continued.
“She helped make our relationship special.”
Biden and the United States are in mourning
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden also expressed their condolences at the British Embassy in Washington.
The First Lady presented a bouquet of flowers to the British Ambassador to the United States, Karen Pierce. In honor of the Queen, Biden will fly American flags at half-mast at the White House, federal buildings, military installations, and embassies abroad “until internment day.”
Biden recalled the first meeting in 1982 as part of a Senate delegation to Britain.
The last time the couple saw and spoke was when they visited the UK in June 2021.
Other leaders mourn
Many leaders from Britain, the Commonwealth and other parts of the world expressed their condolences upon learning of the Queen’s death.
The Australian Prime Minister wrote a statement saying: “it was clear Her Majesty held a special place in her heart for Australia.”
The Queen had previously visited Australia 16 times.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Queen Elizabeth II was “a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave a nationwide address after the Queen’s death and said she defined “notions of service, charity, and consistency.”
Ardern also said New Zealand would be in mourning.
Flags are to be waved at half mast while preparations are underway for a state monument to be held in Britain following the Queen’s official funeral.
Scottish Prime Minister Nicholas Sturgeon spoke fondly of her and said her Queen was loved and admired in Scotland.
“And by all accounts, Her Majesty was rarely happier than when she was here in Scotland at her beloved Balmoral,” said Sturgeon.
Meanwhile, Asian leaders have awakened to news of the queen’s death.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled memorable meetings with the queen in a statement.
“During one of the meetings, she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding,” he mused.
“I will always cherish that gesture.”
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the queen helped strengthen ties between her countries as Japan is also home to the world’s oldest continuous monarchy.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was deeply saddened by her death.
“Her Majesty left a significant mark on Singapore’s history and our longstanding close relations with the United Kingdom,” said Loong.
“Her passing is greatly mourned by everyone in Singapore.”
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol expressed his condolences on Twitter, writing:
“Her kind heart and good deeds will remain in our memories. She had a strong belief in the cause of human freedom and left great legacies of dignity.”
Pope Francis also praised the late queen, saying she was an “steadfast witness of faith in Jesus Christ.”
“Commending her noble soul to the merciful goodness of our Heavenly Father, I assure your majesty of my prayers that Almighty God will sustain you with his unfailing grace as you now take up your high responsibilities as King,” wrote the Pope.
Biden joins world leaders in mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II
Statement of President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on the death of Queen Elizabeth II