Queen Elizabeth II was the “very spirit of Britain” and the “rock on which modern Britain was built”, Liz Truss has said in a tribute to Her Majesty.
The Prime Minister said outside Number 10 that “our country has grown and flourished under her reign” and that “Britain is the great country it is today because of her”.
It is understood that Truss was told about the Queen’s death at about 4.30pm yesterday by cabinet secretary Simon Case.
She spoke to King Charles III shortly after.
The Queen invited Truss to become the UK’s new Prime Minister on Tuesday at Balmoral, marking the 15th time she ushered in a new leader.
“She has been our longest ever reigning monarch. It’s an extraordinary achievement to have presided with such dignity and grace for 70 years,” Truss said.
“She was loved and admired by people in the United Kingdom and all around the world.”
She said that “as we we mourn we must come together as a people to support” the new King and “to help him bear the awesome responsibility he carries for us all”.
“God save the King,” she said.
Buckingham Palace made the announcement at 6.30pm that the Queen “died peacefully” this afternoon at Balmoral.
There will be a state funeral in 10 days’ time at Westminster Abbey and her body will lie in state for three days at Westminster Hall in parliament afterward.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said she was “our longest-serving and greatest ever monarch”.
“Above the clashes of politics, she stood not for what the nation fought over. But what it agreed upon,” he said.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today was “our country’s saddest day”.
“In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of the Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss – far more intense, perhaps, than we expected,” he said.
“This is our country’s saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy.”
US President Joe Biden said the Queen “was more than a monarch … she defined an era”.
Biden said: “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.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said she “was a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history”.
“As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”