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Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday expressed deep sadness at the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

As the UK’s oldest and longest serving head of state, the 96-year-old Queen was widely admired for her “grace, dignity and devotion around the world”, he said in a statement.

“She has been a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonization of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth.”

“Good friend” of the organization

Queen Elizabeth II was “a good friend of the United Nations”, he said, recalling that she had visited the New York headquarters twice, more than fifty years apart.

“She was deeply committed to many charitable and environmental causes and spoke with emotion to delegates at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow,” the UN chief recalled.

“I would like to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her unwavering and lifelong dedication to the service of her people.”

“Dedication and Leadership”

Mr. Guterres offered his heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family, to the government and people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and to all Commonwealth nations.

“The world will long remember his dedication and leadership,” he concluded.

Last days in Scotland

Queen Elizabeth II died on the estate known as Balmoral Castle in Scotland, which had served as a royal summer residence.

Over the past year, she had delegated certain royal duties to her eldest son, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, including presiding over the official opening of Parliament in May. It was the first time since 1963 that the Queen had not attended the ceremony.

The Queen died at a politically fragile time following the recent resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The new Prime Minister Liz Truss went to the Royal Castle of Scotland on Tuesday to be officially invited to form a government.

She became the 15th Prime Minister to hold office during the Queen’s reign – the first was Winston Churchill.

The life of a queen

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, aged just 25.

She is crowned in June of the following year.

In February, the UK launched a series of celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of her service to the British Commonwealth.

Throughout her tenure, the monarch has served as a living link to World War II Britain, presided over a post-colonial era adjustment and watched the country go through what some have called “a bitter divorce” with the European Union during Brexit.

Say goodbye

Following news of his death, crowds outside Buckingham Palace continued to grow significantly as others braved heavy rain at Balmoral.

The official Royal Family website was temporarily unavailable immediately after her death, but published that the Queen passed away peacefully.

He added that his son Charles and his wife Camilla, the King and Queen consort, “will be staying at Balmoral tonight and returning to London tomorrow”.

According to media reports, there will be a 10-day mourning period before his funeral takes place.

Teresa H. Sadler