Balmoral (Scotland), Sept. 8, 2022
Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the nation’s figurehead for seven decades, has died aged 96, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.
Prince Charles is now king.
It is a moment that the United Kingdom has been bracing for, with an elaborate plan for “Operation London Bridge” mapping out what happens next. But it comes as a shock all the same.
The royal family said in a statement: “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.”
The queen planned for her succession for some time — and Charles increasingly took on more royal duties as her health worsened.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was about to end her briefing Thursday when reporters informed her of the queen’s death.
“Okay. All right. Well, so that’s been confirmed?” a visibly shocked Jean-Pierre said as reporters read her the notification. “As I said earlier, you know, our hearts and our thoughts go to the family members of the queen, to the people of the United Kingdom.”
Jean-Pierre said she did not want to “get ahead of what the president is going to say.”