After an image of the flag at Buckingham Palace was shown at half mast, he told viewers: “A few moments ago Buckingham Palace announced the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.”
Edwards then read out the statement from the Palace while dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, in line with the BBC’s dress code for when a member of the royal family dies as a mark of respect.
Later, as a clip of the official notice being pinned to the gate of Buckingham Palace aired, he said: “A lifetime of service to people in the United Kingdom, throughout the Commonwealth and in many parts of the world.
“An example of leadership which didn’t stray into the realm of politics and for lots of people the ideal symbol of what a constitutional monarchy should be like.
“Well, now the world has been told and the official notice has been posted.”
The broadcaster added that was a “seismic event” for the world as he discussed her historic reign with the BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell.
He said: “The longest reigning monarch in British history, who has left us at the age of 96.
“And it’s not a surprise when someone of that age suffers ill health and eventually passes away, but what is left of course is the reflection on what was achieved and the kind of life that was led, and the sense of duty and a sense of loyalty.
“And as Nick was saying, the sense of humility, which seems rather bizarre to say for a monarch, as someone who had a sense of service to others.
“And this was a theme that was repeated so often in the Queen’s statements and at great milestones in her life.”
As Edwards reflected on her life, the broadcaster aired images from key moments from the monarch’s reign.
Edwards had been presenting rolling news coverage on BBC One since midday when Buckingham Palace released its first statement which said royal doctors were concerned for the Queen’s health.
The veteran broadcaster has anchored on major royal milestones throughout the years including the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh last year.
He has also presented coverage of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018.
Major UK broadcasters are likely to adjust their schedules for the rest of the day to allow for continuous coverage of the Queen’s death.
Programmes that were scheduled to air on Thursday night include EastEnders and Celebrity Masterchef on BBC, Emmerdale on ITV and the documentary Katie Price: Trauma And Me on Channel 4.
ITV has confirmed its scheduling changes for overnight and September 9 following the death of the Queen.
The broadcaster said it will be showing continuous news coverage through the night which will look back at the Queen’s life and her reign, including her decades of service to the country.
Their coverage includes a special ITV News at Ten at 10pm and at 11pm they will broadcast Queen Elizabeth II, an obituary programme narrated by presenter Mary Nightingale.
On September 9, Good Morning Britain will air from 6am-9am, hosted by Susanna Reid and Ben Shephard.
At 9am, there will be an extended ITV News special, with another programme at 8:30pm called Queen Elizabeth II – The Longest Reign, to be presented by Jonathan Dimbleby.