After 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Upon her death, her eldest son and heir, King Charles III, immediately became king and his wife became Queen Consort Camilla.
“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,” King Charles said in a statement. “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.”
Still, there are plenty of questions surrounding the queen’s reign, what happens after her death and what her death means means for the British monarchy.
Here is everything we know.
OBITUARY:Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96; King Charles III takes the throne
How did the queen die?
The queen was 96 years old and while she remained active for a long time, in recent months her health declined. She struggled with mobility issues, causing her to skip events and postpone meetings at the suggestion of her doctors.
On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth’s doctors said they were “concerned for Her Majesty’s health.”
The news came a day after the queen postponed a meeting of senior governmental advisers known as the Privy Council. A few days prior, she decided to skip the Braemar Gathering, a popular Highland Games event she loves and attends every year. Prince Charles, now king, who normally accompanies the monarch to the Highland Games, attended in her stead.
Last week, the monarch also decided to formally appoint Britain’s new prime minister at Balmoral Castle rather than make the more than 800-mile round trip to London for the traditional ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
In February, the queen contracted COVID, during which the palace said she experienced “cold-like symptoms.”
UPDATES:Queen Elizabeth II dies ‘peacefully’ under medical supervision: William, Harry traveled to be by her side
Who succeeded the queen?
With Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Charles is king and his wife, Camilla, formerly the Duchess of Cornwall, becomes the Queen Consort, a request made by Queen Elizabeth. (Charles was previously married to the late Princess Diana.)
“It is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service,” the queen said on the eve of the 70th anniversary of her accession to the British throne, according to the statement issued by Buckingham Palace.
After Charles, the line of succession turns to his older son, Prince William, followed by Will and Duchess Kate’s children. The succession is as follows:
Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge (Charles and Diana’s first-born son)
Prince George of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s first-born son)
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s second-born daughter)
Prince Louis of Cambridge (Will and Kate’s third-born son)
► Royal news right in your inbox:Subscribe to Keep Calm and Carry On, a newsletter answering all of your questions about the royal family following Queen Elizabeth’s death.
What is a queen consort?
In general, a queen consort’s job is to support the king in any way she can. Among her duties are opening hospitals, cutting ribbons, planting trees and unveiling official plaques. As queen consort, she will never, ever get involved in politics.
Camilla is not the reigning queen, nor will she ever be. Only members of the royal family who are born in the direct line of succession can become the monarch, so a reigning queen is unlikely to take the throne anytime soon. (There have only been six reigning queens in British history since 1066.)
Camilla’s future title, explained:What’s the difference between queen and ‘Queen Consort’?
How old is King Charles?
Charles is 73. He is the oldest-recorded person to become a British monarch: King William IV was 64 when he was crowned in 1830.
Opinion:After Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Britain is now facing the unthinkable
Where is Balmoral Castle?
Balmoral Castle was the queen’s privately-owned residence in a remote highland area of Scotland. Queen Elizabeth spent much of her past two years at Windsor Castle, west of London, but usually spent about two months on holiday at Balmoral.
What is Operation London Bridge and Operation Unicorn?
Details of Operation London Bridge, as the queen’s funeral plan is known, first leaked in The Guardian in May 2017, describing what would happen during the 10-day period from the day after the death and the funeral at Westminster Abbey followed by interment in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
But another set of plans kicks into gear because the queen died at her beloved estate in Balmoral, Scotland. Dubbed Operation Unicorn, those plans, reports say, include having the queen’s body remain in Scotland for a number of days before eventually being transported likely by plane to London. There, the queen will lie in the throne room at Buckingham Palace overlooking the northwest corner of the Quadrangle interior courtyard.
The state funeral will be at Westminster Abbey, where the queen will lie in state. There will be a committal service in St. George’s Chapel, followed by burial in the royal vault’s King George VI Memorial Chapel, where the queen will join her parents and sister, and be reunited with her beloved late husband.
Operation Unicorn:From funeral plans to processions, what happens now that Queen Elizabeth II has died?
More details on what is set to happen:
- At the moment of the sovereign’s death, her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, instantly becomes Britain’s 42nd monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066.
- The new king will receive Parliament’s motion of condolence at Westminster Hall, then depart on a tour of the kingdom to meet his people.
- The procession of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster will take place, followed by a service in Westminster Hall.
- The queen lies in state at Westminster Hall.
- The queen’s state funeral will be at Westminster Abbey. The day will be declared a Day of National Mourning and two minutes of silence will be marked across the nation.
How long was Elizabeth queen?
Over the summer, the U.K. celebrated Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, honoring her unprecedented 70 years on the throne.
TIMELINE:Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96: Her life, royal reign
Who was Queen Elizabeth’s husband?
The queen was married to Prince Philip for more than 70 years before he died April 9, 2021, at 99 years old. Their love story spanned decades and garnered public interest.
Philip was a steady presence behind the queen at thousands of public events, becoming as familiar to the British people as Elizabeth, if not always as beloved. British historians and commentators often say Philip was one of the keys to the queen’s enduring success as a monarch. She famously described him as her “strength and stay” at the couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1997.
Who was Prince Philip? What to know about Queen Elizabeth II’s late husband
How old was Queen Elizabeth when she became the queen?
The former Princess Elizabeth was 25 years old when she became queen. It was not expected she would inherit the throne but that changed in December 1936 when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne. Her father, Prince Albert, the former Duke of York, became king and she, as his elder child at age 10, became the next in line.
When he died, she was in Kenya and instantly became the reigning monarch, although the news did not immediately reach her in an era of more primitive communications technology.
Who are the queen’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip had four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Their children are Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales; Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; Princess Anne, the Princess Royal; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
Her grandchildren include Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (Duchess Kate); Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (Duchess Meghan); Princess Eugenie (Jack Brooksbank); Princess Beatrice (Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi);Peter Philips; Zara Philips Tindall (Mike Tindall); Lady Louise Windsor; and James Viscount Severn.
Her great-grandchildren include William and Kate’s sons Prince George, 9, and Prince Louis, 4, and daughter Princess Charlotte, 7; Harry and Meghan’s son Archie, 3, and newborn daughter Lilibet, 1; Eugenie and Jack’s son August Philip, 1; Beatrice and Edoardo’s newborn daughter Sienna Elizabeth Mapelli Mozzi, who turns 1 Sept. 18; Zara and Mike’s daughters Mia Grace, 8, and Lena Elizabeth, 4, and newborn son Lucas, 1; and Peter and ex-wife Autumn’s daughters Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10.
Contributing: Maria Puenteand Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY; and The Associated Press