The Queen invited Liz Truss to form a new government just two days ago in an audience at Balmoral. (Photo: Jane Barlow via PA Wire/PA Images)
Liz Truss has described Queen Elizabeth II as “the rock on which modern Britain was built” following her death this afternoon.
The new prime minister paid an emotional tribute to the late monarch in a statement on the steps of 10 Downing Street.
The Queen’s death came just two days after she accepted Boris Johnson’s resignation as prime minister and then invited Truss to form a new government during an audience at Balmoral.
Truss said: “We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world.
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.”
Truss said the UK was now “a modern, thriving, dynamic nation” as a result of the Queen’s 70-year reign.
“Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed,” she said. “She was the very spirit of Great Britain and that spirit will endure.”
The PM said the late monarch had been “a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons - her devotion to duty is an example to us all”.
And she added: “In the difficult says ahead, we will come together with our friends across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world to celebrate her extra ordinary lifetime of service.
“It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.”
In his own tribute on Twitter, Johnson said: “This is our country’s saddest day,”
“We think of her deep wisdom, and historic understanding, and her seemingly inexhaustible but understated sense of duty,” he said.
“Relentless though her diary must have felt, she never once let it show, and to tens of thousands of events – great and small – she brought her smile and her warmth and her gentle humour – and for an unrivalled 70 years she spread that magic around her kingdom.
“This is our country’s saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy. That is why we loved her.
“That is why we grieve for Elizabeth the Great, the longest serving and in many ways the finest monarch in our history.”
Labour leader Keir Starmer said the country would mourn “the passing of a remarkable sovereign”.
He said: “We will always treasure Queen Elizabeth II’s life of service and devotion to our nation and the Commonwealth; our longest-serving and greatest monarch.”
Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tweeted: “Few of us in the House of Commons have ever known a time when Her Majesty was not there, so her passing has left a huge hole in our lives.
“She was our equilibrium, our history, our guide and our Queen - and we will miss her beyond measure.”
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and the world.
“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.”
Former prime minister Tony Blair said the Queen “was not only respected but loved”.
“Respected because of the qualities of duty, decency, integrity and fidelity which she embodied,” he said. “And loved because of the love and affection she bestowed on us.”
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said: “We are all deeply mourning the profound loss of a great monarch, who served our country so faithfully all her life and who was loved the world over.
“For many people, including myself, The Queen was an ever-fixed mark in our lives. As the world changed around us and politicians came and went, The Queen was our nation’s constant.
“The Queen represented duty and courage, as well as warmth and compassion. She was a living reminder of our collective past, of the greatest generation and their sacrifices for our freedom.”
Meanwhile, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch announced that the rail strikes planned for September 15 and 17 have been suspended following the Queen’s death.
He said: “The RMT joins the whole nation in paying its respects to Queen Elizabeth.
“The planned railway strike action on 15 and 17 September is suspended. We express our deepest condolences to her family, friends and the country.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.