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Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch, has died at 96

Queen Elizabeth II pictured in 2012.
Eddie Mulholland
/
WPA Pool/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II pictured in 2012.

Updated September 8, 2022 at 1:47 PM ET

Queen Elizabeth II, whose seven decades on the throne of the United Kingdom was a longer reign than any other British monarch, has died at the age of 96.

The queen "died peacefully" on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle, her estate in the Scottish Highlands, royal family officials announced. King Charles, her son, is at Balmoral and will return to London on Friday.

The queen had been placed under medical supervision earlier Thursday, officials said. "Following further evaluation this morning, The Queen's doctors are concerned for Her Majesty's health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision," the palace had said in a statement.

Other members of the royal family had also traveled to Balmoral, including her grandson Prince William, who is now the heir apparent. Prince Harry, who was already in the country for a charity event, was also reportedly en route.

In recent years, the queen had taken on fewer public duties, occasionally canceling appearances in which her attendance was once tradition. Mobility issues had troubled her in recent months, and she had taken to spending much of her time at Windsor Castle, the family's country estate near London, and at Balmoral, the castle in Scotland.

In February, she contracted COVID-19, which she later described as leaving her "very tired and exhausted."

In June, Elizabeth appeared at her Platinum Jubilee celebrating her 70 years on the throne, watching the parade from a balcony of Buckingham Palace. But she missed most of the other festivities. And on Tuesday, she met with the U.K.'s new prime minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral, a first in her reign.

Elizabeth acceded to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952. Over her 70-year-long reign, she oversaw an extraordinary period of British history, including decolonization and the independence of more than 20 countries that were once a part of the British Empire.

Charles, 73, is now Britain's king.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Sullivan
Becky Sullivan has been a producer for NPR since 2011. She is one of the network's go-to breaking news producers and has been on the ground for many major news stories of the past several years. She traveled to Tehran for the funeral of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, to Colombia to cover the Zika virus, to Afghanistan for the anniversary of Sept. 11 and to Pyongyang to report on the regime of Kim Jong-Un. She's also reported from around the U.S., including Hurricane Michael in Florida and the mass shooting in San Bernardino.

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