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Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s monarch for 70 years, dies

ILE - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II looks on during a visit to officially open the new building at Thames Hospice, Maidenhead, England July 15, 2022.

Updated Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden went to the British Embassy on Thursday to offer condolences for the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The U.S. leader sat at a desk and signed the condolence book at the embassy. His wife, Jill Biden, brought a bouquet of flowers. She stood next to him before she, too, wrote in the book.

The president then spoke with embassy staff and could be overhead saying of the former British monarch, “We mourn for all of you. She was a great lady.”

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PARIS — Britain’s historic rival and contemporary ally France lowered flags at the presidential palace and public buildings to half-staff in honor of Queen Elizabeth II who died at the age of 96.

President Emmanuel Macron said no other foreign sovereign had visited the Elysee Palace more than Elizabeth, who knew all eight presidents of contemporary France.

He hailed her “immutable moral authority,” her intimate knowledge of French and the stability she brought “across the fluctuations and upheavals of politics, a permanence with the scent of eternity.”

“The woman who stood alongside the giants of the 20th century on the path of history has left to join them,” he said in a statement, sharing condolences to Britain from “the French Republic and the French people.”

At the British Embassy in Paris, a 20-year-old fashion student was among many who gathered, moist-eyed, with flowers and candles, to bid her adieu.

“When we learned the news we said to ourselves that Queen Elizabeth had followed us a good part of our lives,” said fashion student Theo Maillet. “We wanted to pay homage to her tonight, think of her family, and tell her one final goodbye.”

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Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness noted that ever since she was crowned in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II visited the island every decade until 2002.

“Undoubtedly, she formed a special bond with the people of Jamaica during her reign,” he said. “We are saddened that we will not see her light again, but we will remember her historic reign.”

In March, when Prince William and Kate visited Jamaica as part of an official trip to the Caribbean, Holness made an unexpected announcement in public that the British commonwealth intended to become fully independent.

Since then, Jamaica has established a Constitution Reform Committee and is scheduled to hold a referendum in 2025. If approved, it would join other republics in the region including Barbados, Dominica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.

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LONDON — Police in Scotland have removed barriers blocking the gates to Balmoral Castle to allow the public to lay flowers for Queen Elizabeth II.

The area had been blocked off as members of the royal family arrived earlier Thursday.

In London, the wrought iron gates at Buckingham Palace were brightened by dozens of colorful bouquets laid by mourners.

On the Mall, the main road leading to Buckingham Palace, around 50 black cabs lined up to pay tribute to the monarch. In nearby Green Park, hundreds of people streamed down the pavements winding through the park on their way to the palace.

“As a young person, this is a really huge moment,” said Romy McCarthy, 20. “It marks the end of an era, particularly as a woman – we had a woman who was in power as someone to look up to.”

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LONDON — Several sporting events in Britain were called off as a mark of respect following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Organizers of the BMW PGA Championship golf event immediately suspended play, with many players still out on the course at Wentworth. The course and practice facilities will be closed Friday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said Friday’s play in the second test between England and South Africa at the Oval would not take place.

Horse racing meetings in Britain were suspended on Thursday night and Friday, with the governing body wanting to “remember her extraordinary life and contribution to our sport and our nation.”

Domestic rugby matches in England and Scotland were called off on Thursday and games will not be played over the weekend, either.

Friday’s stage in cycling’s Tour of Britain was canceled, with a decision on the final two stages over the weekend to be taken in due course.

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LONDON — People grieved in the crowds outside Buckingham Palace when officials carried a notice confirming the Queen Elizabeth II’s death to the gates of her London home.

Thousands gathered in the pouring rain to mark their respects for the late monarch, who died Thursday at age 96.

Royal superfan John Loughrey, 67, wept outside the palace as he paid tribute to the “inspirational” queen. He compared her and the late Prince Philip to swans, which are said to die of broken hearts when they lose their mate. She and Philip were married for 73 years until his death in April of last year.

“She went downhill after the Duke of Edinburgh died,″ Loughrey said. “They were like two swans.

“God save the Queen.”

FILE – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving Liz Truss for an audience at Balmoral, in Scotland, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022, where Truss was invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government. (Jane Barlow/Pool Photo via AP, File) AP

LONDON — Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died. She was 96. Elizabeth spent more than seven decades on the throne as the U.K. rebuilt from war, lost an empire, transformed its economy and both entered and left the European Union.

She was a constant presence, the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and she guided the institution of the monarchy through choppy waters.

She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image, which adorned stamps, coins and bank notes, was among the most reproduced in the world.

But her inner life and opinions remained largely an enigma. The impact of her loss will be huge, and unpredictable.

She was a constant presence, the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and she guided the institution of the monarchy through choppy waters.

She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image, which adorned stamps, coins and bank notes, was among the most reproduced in the world. But her inner life and opinions remained largely an enigma. The impact of her loss will be huge, and unpredictable.

People gather outside Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) AP

Formal steps after instant shift from UK queen to king

The British monarchy’s rules state that “a new sovereign succeeds to the throne as soon as his or her predecessor dies.” That means Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, Prince Charles, became king immediately upon her death Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Within 24 hours of a monarch’s death, a new sovereign is proclaimed formally as soon as possible at St. James’s Palace in London by the “Accession Council.” However, it may be months or even longer before Charles’ formal coronation. In Elizabeth’s case, her coronation came on June 2, 1953 — 16 months after her accession on Feb. 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died. – Associated Press

FILE – In this Tuesday, June 8, 1982 file photo, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, left, on Centennial, and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, on Burmese, go horseback riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle, England. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, file) ap
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