‘Irreparable loss’: World leaders mourn death of Queen Elizabeth II

‘Irreparable loss’: World leaders mourn death of Queen Elizabeth II

Tributes began pouring in from around the world after it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II had died, Britain’s longest ever reigning monarch, aged 96.

Her death was announced on Thursday evening. Queen Elizabeth spent more than seven decades on the throne, overseeing a time of great transformation for Britain at home and a reign that saw the end of its global empire abroad after the Second World War.

At the time of her death she was the Head of the Commonwealth, which consists of 56 countries and more than two billion people. She was also the head of state in other countries, not just Britain, including Australia and Canada.

During her reign she became the most travelled British monarch in history and in the year of her coronation, she and her husband Prince Philip embarked on a seven-month round-the-world tour, visiting 13 countries. Among her many trips were ground-breaking state visits to China, Russia and Ireland. She visited or was visited by five popes and was the head of state in 15 countries at the time of her death.

Liz Truss, who became Britain’s new prime minister after meeting the Queen on Tuesday, said the monarch had “touched the lives of millions around the world”.

Joe Biden, US president, said her “legacy will loom large in the pages of British history and in the story of our world”.

He added that “Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy” who “helped make our relationship special”.

Queen Elizabeth came to the throne when Dwight Eisenhower was president and lived during the tenure of 13 US presidents.

A White House press briefing was cancelled after the death of the Queen was announced.

Former US president Barack Obama tweeted: “Like so many of you, Michelle and I are grateful to have witnessed Her Majesty’s dedicated leadership, and we are awed by her legacy of tireless, dignified public service. Our thoughts are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time.”

Donald Trump called it “a sad day”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his condolences to Britain for the “irreparable loss” of Queen Elizabeth.

In a message to King Charles, Putin said the Queen “rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as authority on the world stage”.

He added: “I wish you courage and resilience in the face of this difficult, irreparable loss. May I ask you to pass on sincere condolences and support to members of the royal family and the entire people of Great Britain.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called her “one of my favourite people in the world, and I will miss her so”.

Canada’s governor general Mary Simon said the country offered its “deepest condolences to the royal family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

“Canadians across the country will mourn the loss of the Queen. Let us take a moment to honour Her Majesty’s memory in each of our own ways,” she wrote on Twitter.

The Queen and Justin Trudeau in March (AP)
The Queen and Justin Trudeau in March (AP)

Ireland’s prime minister Micheal Martin said his country conveyed the “deepest sympathy to the British people on the loss”, and highlighted her groundbreaking visit to Ireland in 2011 as marking a turning point in both countries’ relations.

The Northern Irish leader of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein offered her sincere condolences to the family of the Queen, whom she said made a significant contribution to advancing peace and reconciliation between the two islands and also acknowledged “the profound sorrow” within Northern Ireland’s pro-British unionist community.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and US President Bill Clinton toast following the Queen’s speech at the Guildhall dinner in Portsmouth, 1994 (Reuters)
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and US President Bill Clinton toast following the Queen’s speech at the Guildhall dinner in Portsmouth, 1994 (Reuters)

“Personally, I am grateful for Queen Elizabeth’s significant contribution and determined efforts to advancing peace and reconciliation between our two islands,” she said.

French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “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.”

He also announced that flags in the country would fly at half-mast.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, announced that the lights of the Eiffel Tower would be turned off on Thursday to mourn her passing.

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted: “It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of the people, we extend sincere condolences to the @RoyalFamily, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss.”

Australia’s republican PM Anthony Albanese offered his condolences and praised the Queen’s “timeless decency”, before adding that her death marks the “end of an era”.

Spain’s King Felipe said: “We will miss her dearly.”

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