Macron says Queen Elizabeth 'held special place in the hearts of French people'

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© Ludovic Marin, AFP

President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday hailed Queen Elizabeth II as "a friend of France who has left her mark on her country and her century forever", following the announcement of her death.

As condolences are pouring in from around the world following the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the queen as "a friend of France".

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation's continuity and unity for over 70 years," he tweeted. "I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left her mark on her country and her century forever."

The Elysée Palace later released a longer statement of tribute to the Queen, hailing a monarch who "held a special status in France and a special place in the hearts of the French people."

"She who stood with the giants of the twentieth century on the path of history has now left to join them," the French presidency said.

Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy said the queen "was the symbol of the unfailing friendship between our two countries and of the values on which it is based".

"I cherish the memory of a brilliant and free spirit, faithful to the heavy burden of her duties; of a humble and generous personality, who inspired entire generations", he said.

Sarkozy also paid tribute to "her smile, full of kindness and playfulness" and her "deliciously British humour".

Former President François Hollande also paid a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as "France has lost a great and respected friend" and expressed "his solidarity to the British people".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)