Her Majesty the Queen, Britain’s longest serving monarch, passed away on Thursday afternoon, aged 96, at Balmoral.
Senior members of the Royal family rushed to her bedside at the Scottish estate, where she had earlier been placed “under medical supervision.”
The Prince of Wales will now lead the nation in mourning, and will be known as King Charles III, and also take over as the head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms.
Buckingham Palace released a statement on his behalf, which read: “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother.
“I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth and by countless people around the world.
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held.”
Earlier a Dassault Falcon jet containing seven members of the Royal family touched down at Aberdeen airport at 3.50pm, having left RAF Northolt in Middlesex at 2.39pm local time.
Palace officials declined to say precisely who was on board the Royal Air Force flight KRF23R, but the Duke of Cambridge could be seen chatting to a woman in a hi viz jacket.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex, followed by Prince Andrew were also seen disembarking from the plane.
The party then sped off in Range Rovers on the 45 mile journey to Balmoral. Prince Harry is making his way back to the UK.
Liz Truss, who met the 96-year-old monarch when she was confirmed as the new Prime Minister on Tuesday, said Queen Elizabeth II “leaves a great legacy.”
“Today the Crown passes, as it has done for more than a thousand years, to our new monarch, our new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III,” she said. “With the King’s family we mourn the loss of his mother and come together.
“We offer him our loyalty and devotion, just as his mother devoted so much to us for so long.”
The Prime Minister finished her statement by saying: “God save the king.”
The Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, interrupted Parliament, saying on behalf of the entire house to send its best wishes, and that she and the entire Royal family “are in their thoughts and prayers.”
Crowds are meantime gathering outside Buckingham Palace, despite driving rain and overcast conditions.
The first clue the watching public had to the Queen’s passing was when BBC presenter Huw Edwards presented the afternoon bulletins in a black suit usually reserved for when a head of state dies. The broadcaster then announced it was suspending its normal programming.
Here at National Security News we too extend our deepest condolences to the family of Her Majesty, whose leadership in the face of adversity and upheaval during her 70 year reign has been the glue that has held this great nation and the Commonwealth together.