The Queen died with her two eldest children, Charles and Princess Anne, at her bedside as other royals rushed to Balmoral.
Close relatives, such as Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Prince William and Prince Harry, had been alerted to the Monarch’s sudden turn for the worse and were racing to the Royal Family's Scottish palace, where Her Majesty based herself in her final days, but weren’t able to reach the remote Aberdeenshire castle in time.
The first public announcement about concerns for the Queen's health came just after 12:30pm on Thursday (September 8).
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As social media buzzed with speculation about the end of the second Elizabethan Era, the heir to the throne, the now King Charles III, was already in Balmoral.
Charles had been alerted to doctors’ concerns early on Thursday morning and was collected from Dumfries House in Ayrshire by helicopter, before arriving at Balmoral just before 10:30am.
Princess Anne, like her brother, was already in the area on an official engagement and also rushed to her mother's bedside.
Royal staff hastily arranged for a private jet to collect the Queen’s other two children – Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex – to deliver them to Aberdeen airport.
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Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, also travelled up to Balmoral with Andrew, Edward, and Prince William. The group seemed in sombre mood as they piled into a car at the airport for the hour-long journey to Balmoral.
Prince William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, remained behind in Windsor to provide some measure of stability to her three children, Charlotte, Louis and George, who had all started at a new school that day.
By complete chance Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were in the UK when the call went out that the Queen was entering her final hours.
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The Sussexes, who were preparing for a public appearance at the WellChild Awards in London, cancelled their plans.
Harry didn’t join the main royal party on the private jet but is understood to have made his own way to Balmoral, arriving at around 8pm.
But Her Majesty had died in the early afternoon, while most of her family were still en route.
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Prime Minister Liz Truss was informed about the monarch's death at 4.30pm, according to her official spokesman – two hours before the Palace shared a public statement.
Just after 6.30pm, Buckingham Palace released a statement to confirm the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The only relatives who were with her in her final moments were Anne, who is widely regarded as the hardest-working senior royal, and Charles, who with his mother’s last breath became King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as Head of the Commonwealth.
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The new king paid tribute to the his mother, saying: "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.
"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.
"During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held."
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- Prince Charles
- Princess Anne
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