Oklahoma leaders react to death of Queen Elizabeth II
LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and embarrassing dysfunction in her own family, died Thursday after 70 years on the throne. She was 96.
The palace announced she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.
A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known.
Her 73-year-old son Prince Charles automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III, his office announced. British monarchs in the past have selected new names upon taking the throne. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort.
U.S. President Joe Biden said Queen Elizabeth II “was more than a monarch. She defined an era. In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.”
A number of elected leaders from Oklahoma expressed their condolences as well.
“Sarah and I were saddened to learn about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a true patriot for her country and a transformational world leader. Our prayers are with the Royal Family and the UK,” said Gov. Kevin Stitt.
“I join millions around the world mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II,” said U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern. “Her life was defined by love for family & devotion to country. She served God with every breath.
“My prayers are with her family and the people of the UK who have lost a dearly loved matriarch and monarch.”
The BBC played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” over a portrait of Elizabeth in full regalia as her death was announced, and the flag over Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-staff as the second Elizabethan age came to a close.
Crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace in the rain and some members wept when officials carried a notice confirming the queen’s death to the gates of her London home.
In a statement, Charles called his mother’s death “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” adding: “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
British Prime Minister Liz Truss, appointed by the queen just 48 hours earlier, pronounced the country “devastated” and called Elizabeth “the rock on which modern Britain was built.”