Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s ruler for two millennia and a witness to turbulent periods for the world, her country, and the Royal Family, died on Thursday.
She was 96 years old and had the longest reign of any monarch in British history, reigning for 70 years.
“The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and return to London tomorrow,” Buckingham Palace added.
After her father, King George VI, died unexpectedly in February 1952, Elizabeth took the throne at 25. Sixty-six years later, in May 2018, the Queen witnessed the wedding of her grandson, Prince Harry. Earlier this year, the country recognized her remarkable seven decades as monarch.
The future Queen kept her promise, despite royal marriages, scandals, and the deaths of her sister Margaret and Princess Diana.
Before her death, members of the royal family were believed to be at her bedside.
She marked her Golden Jubilee, commemorating 50 years as monarch, in 2002, and her Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years, a decade later.
In 2015, Elizabeth became the country’s longest-serving monarch. Her Diamond Jubilee, which marked her 70th year, was honored in June.
Elizabeth was engaged in a family scandal during the final years of her reign, with her son Prince Andrew implicated in the huge sexual abuse scandal involving predatory billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
The prince reportedly paid a $13.5 million settlement for Epstein’s alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl. Epstein eventually committed suicide in prison.