LONDON (AP) – Buckingham Palace says Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died. She was 96. President Biden and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued orders that all State and U.S. flags are to fly at half staff in honor of her death. They are to remain at half staff until sunset on the day of her internment.
Elizabeth spent more than seven decades on the throne as the U.K. rebuilt from war, lost an empire, transformed its economy and both entered and left the European Union. She was a constant presence, the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and she guided the institution of the monarchy through choppy waters. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image, which adorned stamps, coins and bank notes, was among the most reproduced in the world. But her inner life and opinions remained largely an enigma. The impact of her loss will be huge, and unpredictable.
The British monarchy’s rules state that “a new sovereign succeeds to the throne as soon as his or her predecessor dies.”
That means Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, Prince Charles, became king immediately upon her death Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Within 24 hours of a monarch’s death, a new sovereign is proclaimed formally as soon as possible at St. James’s Palace in London by the “Accession Council.” However, it may be months or even longer before Charles’ formal coronation.
In Elizabeth’s case, her coronation came on June 2, 1953 — 16 months after her accession on Feb. 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died.