Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at 96 years old Thursday afternoon, according to Buckingham Palace. Her death follows concern from her doctors for her deteriorating health Thursday morning. Reports showed the Royal Family traveling to Scotland this morning, and the Queen passed away at Balmoral Castle, the Scottish home of the royal family. The Royal consort will remain at Balmoral for the rest of the day and is set to return to London tomorrow.
She survived Philip, her husband of 73 years, who passed away at age 99 in April 2021. Charles, the Prince of Wales and the queen’s eldest son, will immediately inherit the throne at 73 years of age based on the royal line of succession. His wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will take her place as the queen consort. Following Charles’s accession, his eldest son, 40-year-old Prince William, will now be first in line for the throne.
In a statement released by the now King Charles III Thursday afternoon, the new King acknowledged his mother’s legacy and the impact her passing will have on the British Isle and beyond.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” he said. “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
Within the University of Michigan community, the response to the Queen’s death has been conflicted. On one hand, several students took to social media to share photos and news articles in honor of Her Majesty’s passing. However, others were more hesitant to commemorate the monarch, questioning the imperialist legacy of the British monarch and Elizabeth II’s role in it.
LSA junior Jamie Murray said she was sitting in East Quadrangle doing her French homework when she received a text from a friend letting her know the Queen had passed away. She said she was shocked, especially since she had studied abroad in London with a University program in May. Murray remembers seeing the Platinum Jubilee celebrations being set up at Buckingham Palace in honor of the Queen.
The Queen just celebrated her “Platinum Jubilee,” which officially lasted from February to June 2022. The Jubilee was a celebration of the seven decades she sat on the throne since she took the throne in 1952 at age 26. It marked the first Platinum Jubilee in the U.K.’s history, making Elizabeth II its longest-reigning monarch.
Murray said she does not pay a lot of attention to the British Royal family, but was sad to hear the Queen had passed away.
“It was such a surprise because it felt like a normal day, so to suddenly find out that this prominent female figure that has reigned for so long just died when I was doing French homework felt wrong,” Murray said. “I was obviously saddened by it. This is going to affect millions of people.”
Meanwhile, associate education professor Ebony Thomas tweeted after the Queen’s death had been announced that she had mixed feelings. While she tweeted that she grew up loving British literature and has been “taught to be solemn at a passing,” she does not generally support the British monarchy today. She posted several tweets about Britain’s imperial history with colonies and territories. Though decolonization, especially in Asia and Africa, sped up during Elizabeth II’s reign, the U.K. still has 14 overseas territories.
“I’m surprised,” Thomas wrote in a tweet. “I tend to weep even for personal enemies and structural oppressors, and US media, entertainment, and education has gilded her.”
The death of Queen Elizabeth marks the loss of a highly revered monarch, in Britain and abroad. In her lifetime, the Queen has borne witness to major historical events including World War II and more recently “Brexit,” Britain’s dissociation from the European Union.
Following her death, the country will enter into a period of mourning marked by a highly choreographed set of ceremonies — known colloquially as “Operation London Bridge” — designed to commemorate a Queen whose 70-year reign has defined generations. The Queen will first lie in state in Scotland before being transported to Buckingham Palace, where her funeral will take place 10 days from now in line with British custom.
The Queen’s last public appearance was on Tuesday, when she formally appointed Liz Truss as Britain’s new prime minister in the drawing room at Balmoral Castle. Essentially, in just two days, a new head of state has ascended to the throne — though Charles’s role as King will be largely symbolic — and Truss has become the new head of government in the U.K. Truss’s appointment follows former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation in July. Truss became the nation’s 15th prime minister to have an audience with Queen Elizabeth II.
In 1959, the Queen and her late husband Prince Phillip visited the Midwest, touring the St. Lawrence Seaway, which links the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. They passed by Detroit and under the Mackinac Bridge en route to Chicago following a ceremony, after which she and U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially opened the Seaway.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Queen Elizabeth II began her tenure as Queen at age 14. This article has been updated to reflect that she was 26 when she assumed the throne.
Managing News Editor Dominic Coletti and Daily News Editors Dominic Coletti, Roni Kane and Shannon Stocking can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org respectively.