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Queen Elizabeth dead at the age of 96 after 70-year rule of UK

Queen Elizabeth II has died peacefully at the age of 96 in Balmoral, ending a remarkable reign of more than 70 years.

The national anthem was played on the BBC after Buckingham Palace confirmed the sad news, while mourners outside the gates were in tears shortly after the announcement.

Earlier today, at 12.32pm, the Palace said that doctors were concerned for the monarch’s health, sparking widespread concerns across the country.

Elizabeth’s children – including the new King Charles – flew to the Scottish Highlands, so that her family could be at Her Majesty’s side in her final moments.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement at around 6.30pm: ‘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.’

Prince William, now first in line to the throne, also headed to Scotland, with Prince Andrew and the Duke and Duchess of Wessex.

Prince Harry travelled without the Duchess of Sussex to be at the Queen’s bedside.

Kate stayed in Windsor to take care of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis who had their first full day at their new school.

The first indication that the Queen’s health had deteriorated came on Wednesday evening when she pulled out of a virtual Privy Council meeting, a day after appointing Liz Truss.

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The country will now go into a period of mourning, led by Charles – likely to be known as King Charles III following his automatic accession to the throne.

The UK’s longest-serving and oldest ever monarch, she has suffered a series of illnesses over the last few months.

She was ordered to rest for weeks following an overnight stay in hospital, missing a series of public events.

Then in February she contracted Covid-19, which she said made her feel exhausted.

There was also speculation about her mobility in her final months, with reports that Balmoral had been fitted with chairlifts.

Elizabeth became Queen in February 1952 and her coronation was 16 months later.

Her reign saw a period of significant change with 15 prime ministers serving under her.

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