World leaders have started to pay tribute to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II after her family announced her passing Thursday at the age of 96.
Elizabeth’s 70-year reign ended as she passed peacefully in her Scottish home of Balmoral, surrounded by her family. Her son King Charles III said the Queen’s passing was a moment of “the greatest sadness” for the Royal family, and that her death will be “deeply felt” by “countless people around the world.”
President Biden praised the Queen for her “steadying presence” and acting as “a source of comfort and pride.” He highlighted the Queen’s “unmatched dignity” and her unmatched role as “the bedrock” of the special relationship between the U.S. and U.K.
“She was the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection—whether they heard her on the radio as a young princess speaking to the children of the United Kingdom, or gathered around their televisions for her coronation, or watched her final Christmas speech or her Platinum Jubilee on their phones. And she, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service,” he wrote in a statement.
He also remembered the Queen’s comments following 9/11 in which the Queen reminded the world that “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
U.S. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Cali, ordered flags flown at half-staff in response to the Queen’s passing. The House will also pass a “bereavement resolution” in honor of the Queen, which the House previously did with her father King George VI’s passing in 1952.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KT, said that “the British people’s loss is the entire world’s loss,” adding that “Americans join our friends in prayer, in grief, and in gratitude for such a remarkable leader and such a successful reign,” he wrote in a statement, adding that the Queen was a “shining example” of “sterling character.”
Former President Donald Trump spoke of his “tremendous loss and sadness” upon learning of the Queen’s passing and sent condolences to the Royal Family and people of the U.K. during their “great sorrow and grief.” He remarked that the Queen would be remembered for her “faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women.”
“What a grand and beautiful lady she was—there was nobody like her!” Trump wrote on a Truth Social post.
Former President Barack Obama said he and Michelle were “lucky” to have met the Queen, who meant “a great deal” to them. “Back when we were just beginning to navigate life as President and First Lady, she welcomed us to the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity,” adding that she showed them great warmth and “considerable humor and charm.”
Former President George W. Bush remarked on the Queen’s “great intellect, charm and wit.”
“Spending time at Buckingham Palace, and having tea with Her Majesty – and her Corgis – is among our fondest memories of the presidency,” Bush said in a statement, adding that the world “benefitted from her steady resolve” and “her strong and steadfast friendship.”
“Despite spending nearly three quarters of a century as one of the most famous and admired individuals on the planet, the Queen made sure her reign was never really about herself — not her fame, not her feelings, not her personal wants or needs,” he continued. “She guided venerable institutions through modern times using timeless virtues like duty, dignity, and sacrifice.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the Queen “a good friend” of the United Nations, noting two visits she made to speak at the New York headquarters. He added that she was “a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change.”
“She was deeply committed to many charitable and environmental causes and spoke movingly to delegates at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow,” Guterres wrote in his statement. “I would like to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her unwavering, lifelong dedication to serving her people. The world will long remember her devotion and leadership.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid said the Queen leaves behind “an unparalleled legacy of leadership and service,” adding, “May her memory be for a blessing!”
President of Israel Isaac Herzog said, “HM Queen Elizabeth II was known far and wide simply as The Queen. Her passing is the end of an era. Together with the Israeli people, I grieve her loss and extend my deepest sympathies to the British people and all nations of the Commonwealth, who have lost their matriarch.”
“In her life and in her service to her people, the Queen embodied a spirit of integrity, duty & ancient tradition,” Herzog added. “My late mother and father had several audiences with the Queen over the years. Her fond welcome and warm hospitality left a profound impression down the generations.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that he learned of the Queen’s death “with deep sadness” and that he extended “sincere condolences to the Royal Family” and the entire United Kingdom for the “irreparable loss.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said he remembered the Queen as “a friend of France,” and that she “left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”
This is a developing story.