Queen Elizabeth II in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace in June 1953, after her coronation.Credit…Associated Press
An era comes to an end
Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, died at 96 yesterday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, her summer retreat. Members of the royal family rushed to be at her bedside. The family’s announcement did not specify a cause, but said she had “died peacefully.” Read our obituary.
Visibly frail, the queen had been in the twilight of her reign for some years. But the news of her death still landed with a thunderclap across the British realm, where she was a widely revered figure viewed as an anchor of stability. See photos from her reign.
Her death comes at a time of acute uncertainty in Britain. Prime Minister Liz Truss has been in office for only three days, following months of political turmoil. The country faces its gravest economic threats in a generation.
A changing world: Over Elizabeth’s 70 years as sovereign, she sought to protect the royal family as a rare bastion of permanence. At the time of her coronation in 1953, Britain’s empire stretched across the globe. Now, a growing clamor for independence in Scotland threatens to narrow its horizons yet further.
Analysis: “There is no analogous public figure who will have been mourned as deeply in Britain — Winston Churchill might come closest — or whose death could provoke a greater reckoning with the identity and future of the country,” Mark Landler, our London bureau chief, writes.
Look back to 1926 and the announcement of Elizabeth’s birth in The Times. It described her as “the fourth lady in the land” and “a possible, though improbable, successor to the throne of England.”
From Prince William (next in line) to Lucas Tindall (No. 23): A visual breakdown of the new line of royal succession.
An Elizabeth reading list: Times editors recommend nine books that cover the turbulence, celebration, success and scandal of her long reign.
King Charles III assumes the throne
Charles, Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest son, yesterday acceded to the throne at 73,after being the designated successor for longer than anyone in British history. He will be sovereign of the world’s most important constitutional monarchy and head of a storied royal family — though it is unclear whether he will ever enjoy the respect or affection showered on his mother.
As Prince of Wales, Charles founded charities like the Prince’s Trust, which has helped nearly a million disadvantaged young people, and championed causes like sustainable urban planning, climate change and environmental protection. He has also spoken out regularly for religious tolerance and against Islamophobia.
For many, his marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales, which crumbled amid lurid tabloid headlines and mutual charges of infidelity, remains the defining event of Charles’s public life. But her death proved a turning point: Charles worked with Tony Blair, the prime minister at the time, to nudge his mother into honoring Diana’s memory and then set about rehabilitating his own image. He has been married to Camilla, now the queen consort, since 2005.
Future plans: Charles has long pushed to streamline the monarchy, partly to reduce its drain on the public purse. As king, he will be able to put that plan fully into action.
Troubles: The royal family has in recent years been rocked by a bitter falling-out between Charles and his younger son, Prince Harry, and the ties of his brother Prince Andrew to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Andrew in February settled a lawsuit brought by a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager.
The days to come
Britain now enters an official period of mourning that continues until after the queen’s funeral, which is expected to take place 10 days after her death and be a public holiday. Charles will address the nation as king for the first time today; tomorrow, heralds will travel to Trafalgar Square in London by horse to read a proclamation declaring his reign.
The queen’s coffin will rest at Buckingham Palace for four days, then lie in state in Westminster Hall for several more, atop a platform draped in regal purple with guards at each corner. The days-long process of ritual mourning was mainly created in the late 19th century by Queen Victoria and her son, Edward VII.
While the sovereign’s political power is largely symbolic, the monarchy has a constitutional role in Britain, so there will be formalities conducted with royal flair. According to protocol, within 24 hours of the queen’s death, lawmakers in Parliament will take oaths of allegiance to the new king. The national anthem will shift back to “God Save the King.”
Global response: See photographs of how the world responded to the queen’s death, from London to Paris, Washington to Tel Aviv.
Recollections: All across London,there was a palpable sense of mourning. But while many will remember Elizabeth for her grace, humor and longevity, others have more ambivalent views of the monarchy.
THE LATEST NEWS
Other Big Stories
As global warming passes certain limits, dire changes will probably become irreversible, researchers said, including the loss of polar ice sheets and the death of coral reefs.
Europe is suffering through economic turmoil. Yesterday, the European Central Bank raised interest rates, an aggressive move to fight inflation.
The Justice Department asked a judge to revisit her decision to block prosecutors from accessing documents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.
Steve Bannon, a former top Trump aide, was charged with financial crimes related to a crowdfunded border wall project.
War in Ukraine
Antony Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, made a surprise visit to Kyiv, pledging $2.8 billion in aid for Ukraine and other countries seen as vulnerable to Russia.
The U.S. accused Moscow of forcibly deporting up to 1.6 million Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory.
The C.I.A. director said Russia’s invasion looked like a “failure” after six grinding months of fighting.
A Morning Read
In a decidedly nonfactual rock biopic, the pop-music parodist Weird Al Yankovic and Daniel Radcliffe, the “Harry Potter” star who plays him, found themselves on the same wavelength.
“I hope this confuses a lot of people,” Yankovic said. “We want to lead them down a path and think, Is this a real biopic? Is this the real story? The movie starts out pretty normal. Then it progressively goes way off the rails.”
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Women’s U.S. Open final set: Emerging superstar Iga Swiatek clinched a berth in the U.S. Open final Saturday with a three-set win over Aryna Sabalenka last night. The Polish 21-year-old is now 50-7 in 2022 singles matches and will be attempting to win her second Grand Slam this year, after winning the French Open in dominant fashion in June.
Thomas Tuchel’s firing, told from both sides: Tensions finally reached a breaking point at Chelsea between its new American owners and its Champions League-winning manager. The takeaway? This was always the plan, Thomas Tuchel just didn’t know it.
Leah Williamson hungry for Arsenal success after England glory: The defender has been gearing up for the new Women’s Super League season after captaining England to Euro 2022 victory on home soil — and now she wants more.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Tom Stoppard’s most personal play
Sir Tom Stoppard’s latest work, “Leopoldstadt,” an epic inspired by his reckoning with his Jewish roots, begins previews on Broadway next week.
Stoppard emigrated to England at the age of 8 and quickly assumed an identity as British as white flannel cricket pants. Even when, in his 50s, he was eventually prodded into examining the identity of his Eastern European family and their fate in the Holocaust, it would take him six years to write a magazine piece about their story. The play came more than two decades later.
“My mother essentially drew a line and didn’t look back,” he said. “My name was changed, I was British, and I really began to love England in every sense — the landscape, the literature. I don’t recall ever consciously resisting finding out about myself. It’s worse than that. I wasn’t actually interested. I was never curious enough. I just looked in one direction: forward.”
Read more in this profile of the playwright at 85.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This 15-minute chicken and green bean stir-fry delivers a wallop of flavor.
What to Read
Here are 33 works of fiction and poetry coming this fall.
What to Listen to
Take five minutes to fall in love with Alice Coltrane’s spiritual jazz.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Garden of ___ (four letters).
And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Happy 126th birthday to The Times Magazine, which debuted this week in 1896.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on electric vehicles.
You can reach Natasha and the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.