Queen Elizabeth II, who had been under medical supervision after royal doctors began to show concern for her health, died peacefully Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She was 96.
Buckingham Palace confirmed the news via social media at 6:30 p.m. GMT. The Queen’s death comes one day after she postponed an online meeting of her Privy Council after doctors advised her to rest.
With her death, Charles, the Queen’s eldest son and the former Prince of Wales, became the new king and head of state for the United Kingdom and 14 Commonwealth countries and realms — including Canada.
A statement released by His Majesty on social media said the death of his mother is “a moment of the greatest sadness” for him and all of his family members.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother,” read the statement issued by King Charles III.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
Buckingham Palace said the King and the Queen Consort, Camilla, would remain at Balmoral Thursday evening and return to London on Friday.
Queen Elizabeth II was the U.K.’s longest-serving monarch, reigning for 70 years. She celebrated her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. She came to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, at just 25 years old after the death of her father, King George VI.
Mary Simon, governor-general of Canada, who serves as the federal representative of the Canadian monarch, offered her deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty.
“Canadians across the country will mourn the loss of The Queen,” reads a post on Simon’s Twitter account.
“Let us take a moment to honour Her Majesty’s memory in each of our own ways.”
At a Thursday press conference in Vancouver, B.C., Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Queen had an “obvious, deep, abiding love and affection for Canadians.” He said she served the country with strength and wisdom.
“As her 12th Canadian prime minister, I’m having trouble believing that my last sit-down with her was my last,” said Trudeau.
“Canada is in mourning. She was one of my favourite people in the world and I will miss her.”
New Brunswick reacts to Her Majesty’s death
With the Queen’s death, many New Brunswickers are looking back at her reign.
Graydon Nicholas, who served as New Brunswick’s lieutenant governor from 2009 to 2014, said he learned of the Queen’s passing while working in his home office. While he knew she had not been well, Nicholas admits the news still shocked him.
“I was very sad [about her passing],” said Nicholas.
“I was a bit shocked, but at the same time [expected] that something was going to happen — I didn’t realize it would be that fast and quick.”
Nicholas, now the endowed chair in native studies at St. Thomas University, visited England with his wife in June 2010 to meet Her Majesty. She greeted the pair inside a “beautiful room” at Buckingham Palace.
At the time, Nicholas remembers being “very nervous.”
“It’s not often you meet someone of that particular stature and importance,” he said.
After shaking hands with the Queen, she asked Nicholas about his plans as her representative for New Brunswick. He admits that he wasn’t sure how to respond to her question at the time, which made him feel “so embarrassed.”
Nicholas remembers that his wife answered the question, telling the Queen that he wanted to visit every school in New Brunswick. The trio also discussed Nicholas’s goals as lieutenant governor and the political landscape in England and Canada.
During the conversation, Nicholas said Her Majesty asked him to let New Brunswickers know how much she loved them and how much she loved Indigenous Peoples across Canada. He remembers her as a “beautiful and heartwarming” person.
“We spoke to her … I’d say about 30 to 35 minutes, which is a long time for just a formal protocol meeting,” said Nicholas.
Nicholas also met King Charles III during one of his visits to New Brunswick and Prince Philip during one of his visits to Ottawa. He remembers both men being “very welcoming people.”
“My mother had always been an admirer of Her Majesty, but I never, in my wildest dreams, would ever think I would meet her,” he said. “I’m glad I had that opportunity.”
New Brunswick’s current lieutenant governor, Brenda Murphy, issued a statement late Thursday afternoon, offering heartfelt condolences to His Majesty and the Royal Family.
She said messages of sympathy from around the world demonstrate “the profound respect, admiration and appreciation for the Queen’s lifetime of public service.”
“Those who had the opportunity to meet her often mention her magnetic personality and unique ability to make everyone feel at ease in her presence,” said Murphy. “In her five visits to our province, the Queen made a lasting impression on many New Brunswickers.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said he was saddened to learn of the Queen’s passing, calling her a symbol of strength and resolve, a guiding light in turbulent times and a figure of stability.
“During her many years as our country’s head of state, Canadians welcomed her into their hearts,” said Higgs in an issued statement. “During her reign, she forged a close and lasting relationship with our country and our province.”
Higgs said books of condolence would be available beginning Friday for the public to sign at Government House and the New Brunswick legislature between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
In the U.K., the Queen’s death triggers 12 days of national mourning.
According to BBC News, the Queen’s funeral is expected in the next two weeks and will take place at Westminster Abbey. She will then be buried in the royal vault at Windsor Castle with Prince Philip, to whom she was married for 74 years before his passing in June 2021.