Charles, the new king of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, released his first statement regarding Queen Elizabeth II's death.
"The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family," he wrote.
"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by the countless people around the world."
"During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held."
Born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, she was Queen of the United Kingdom and of 14 other sovereign countries.
Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated privately at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children together: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (known today as Sri Lanka), as well as Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonization of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms has varied over time as territories have gained independence and some realms have become republics. Her many historic visits and meetings include state visits to China in 1986, Russia in 1994, the Republic of Ireland in 2011, and visits to or from five popes.
Significant events include Elizabeth's coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively. Elizabeth is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state, and the second-longest verifiable reigning sovereign monarch in world history. She has faced occasional republican sentiment and media criticism of her family, particularly after the breakdowns of her children's marriages, her annus horribilis in 1992, and the death of her former daughter-in-law Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. However, support for the monarchy in the United Kingdom remains consistently high, as does her personal popularity.