People gather at the gates of Buckingham Palace following the official announcement of the death of Queen Elizabeth II in London on Thursday. Photo by Neil Hall/EPA-EFE
Sept. 8 (BP) — Queen Elizabeth II is being remembered by world leaders for her dedication and service to the United Kingdom over a 70-year reign.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson called news of her death on Thursday “our country’s saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us, there is an ache at the passing of our queen, a deep and personal sense of loss — far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”
“I know that millions and millions of people have been pausing whatever they have been doing, to think about Queen Elizabeth, about the bright and shining light that has finally gone out,” Johnson said in a statement, days after stepping down as leader.
People began gathering outside Buckingham Palace, laying flowers where an official proclamation of her death was posted. Crowds took to the streets of London, with some singing “God Save the Queen” in tribute as the news filtered out.
“The queen died peacefully at Balmoral [in Scotland] this afternoon. The king and the queen consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow,” reads the statement from Buckingham Palace that is posted on its gates, referring to King Charles and his wife, Camilla.
“The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge loss for the nation,” UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said during a news conference outside 10 Downing Street, calling her “the rock on which modern Britain was built on.”
Truss met with Queen Elizabeth at her castle in Scotland only two days ago, when she formally accepted the prime minister’s job.
“She has been an inspiration to me and to many Britons. Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.”
U.S. President Joe Biden called her “more than a monarch” in a written statement.
“She defined an era,” Biden said. “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.”
Other world leaders were quick to express their sadness.
“The death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth is a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the commonwealth and the world,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon wrote on Twitter, one of the first politicians to pay respects.
“Her life was one of extraordinary dedication and service. On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to the king and the royal family.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touched on his country’s connection with Britain.
“It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth.”
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century,” French President Emmanuel Macron wrote in a statement on Twitter.
The queen’s popularity transcended popular culture, with people from all walks of life mourning her passing.
“For more than seven decades, she dedicated her life to public service with dignity and devotion and inspired so many around the world. Formula 1 sends its deepest condolences to the royal family and to the people of the United Kingdom and the commonwealth,” the racing series said in a statement.
“Manchester United shares the sorrow of the entire nation following the announcement from Buckingham Palace on the passing of Her Royal Highness The Queen Elizabeth II,” the storied franchise wrote on Twitter.
The royal family will now enter a period of mourning. Official engagements are being canceled and union flags will be flown at half-staff on royal residences, government buildings and across the armed forces.
Queen Elizabeth II greets Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 6, 2022. The queen asked Truss to form a new administration. Truss accepted and was appointed prime minister and first lord of the treasury. Photo courtesy of The Royal Family/Twitter