London: Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, died on Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after reigning for 70 years. She was 96.
Her family had been gathering at her Scottish estate in Aberdeenshire after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday. The UK now has a new monarch in Charles, the former Prince of Wales.
"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
"The King and the Queen Consort [Charles and Camilla] will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow [Friday]," the statement said.
The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.
With her death, her eldest son and heir Charles will lead the country in mourning as the new King and Head of State for 14 Commonwealth realms. Charles and the Queen's close family members travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.
Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.
The Queen's daughter, Princess Anne, was already by her side at the Scottish castle and her other children Prince Andrew and Prince Edward joined later. Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex who were in London for a charity event, also rushed to Harry's grandmother's summer residence.
William's wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, has remained in Windsor as their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis started their first full day at a new school there earlier on Thursday.
The 96-year-old monarch has been suffering from age-related mobility issues and had cut down her travels, including appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss in Scotland earlier this week.
QUEEN’S ‘JEWEL IN THE CROWN’ CONNECTION
Queen Elizabeth II, who completed 70 years on the throne, had a long connection with India that the British in the postcolonial world projected as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’.
The 96-year-old Queen, who was Britain’s longest-serving monarch, became the Queen as a 27-year-old on June 2 in 1953.
Queen Elizabeth II, who was the queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms, this year became the first British monarch in history to reach a Platinum Jubilee, which marks her 70 years on the throne.
Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, Queen Elizabeth II was married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who passed away in 2021 aged 99.
The two were married for 73 years.
Queen Elizabeth II thrice visited India that once used to be a part of the British Empire.
The British monarchy’s connection to India dates back to the year 1600.
It was in this year that a Royal Charter granted the British East India Company control over the trade with what they referred to as “the East Indies”.
The East India Company was dissolved in 1858 to pave way for the British Crown’s rule.
Queen Elizabeth II, who recovered from a bout of COVID-19 that she contracted earlier this year, last visited India in 1997, the year marking India’s 50th independence anniversary.
During her visit, she along with Prince Philip visited Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar to lay a wreath on the site at which General Dyer had opened fire at a gathering of people in 1919.
Before that, the Queen visited India in 1983 at the invitation of then-Indian President Giani Zial Singh.
During the visit, the queen along with Prince Philip stayed in the guesthouse of the Rashtrapati Bhavan that once used to be the home of the British Viceroy.
This visit is also known for the Queen presenting Mother Teresa with an honorary Order of Merit.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first visit to India was in 1961, 14 years after India won its independence from the British and nine years after she took over the throne.
Invited by the then President of India, Rajendra Prasad, she visited the Taj Mahal in Agra along with Prince Philip.
That year, the two were also the guest of honour for the Republic Day parade in Delhi.
During her stay in the country, the Queen also visited Bombay, Madras, Jaipur, and Calcutta.
During the ongoing four-day festivities, Britain’s News Channel GBN is organising an event to discuss the views of the Queen and monarchy in India.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee ‘read list’ includes prominent Indian authors including Arundhati Roy, Raj Kamal Jha, R K Narayan, V S Naipul, and Kamala Markandaya.
The Queen remains in India’s literary psyche finding a mention even in poems in the curriculum for kindergarten children: “… I have been to London to look after the Queen. … I frightened a little mouse under her (Queen’s) chair.”
Before India’s independence, the British ruled three-fourths of the Indian subcontinent.
Indian rulers collectively referred to as “Maharajas”, who were linked to the British by a resident governor, governed remaining India comprising 560 principalities.
With Inputs from PTI