LONDON – Condolences poured in from around the world Thursday after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, whose rule saw Britain through decades of change.
Elizabeth had been on the throne since 1952, when the nation was still rebuilding from the destruction of World War II, and became a global icon of calmness and fortitude through years of political upheaval and social changes at home and abroad.
“She lived history, she made history. And with her passing, she leaves a magnificent, inspirational legacy," Israeli President Isaac Herzog said.
In India, once a British colony, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called her “a stalwart of our times.”
“She personified dignity and decency in public life,” Modi tweeted.
Flags were ordered flown at half-staff from Washington to Ghana.
President Joe Biden was informed of her death by senior advisers during a meeting in the Oval Office.
Elizabeth, who the White House said had met with 14 American presidents, "was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” he and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement, saying she "she defined an era.”
She was mourned across the 54-nation Commonwealth, a group built around Britain and its former colonies.
“For most Canadians, we have known no other sovereign,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. He called her “a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”
Elizabeth, who is Canada’s head of state, visited the country 22 times as monarch. Trudeau first met her as a child when his father, the late Pierre Trudeau, was prime minister.
The queen’s death comes as a growing number of British territories in the Caribbean seek to replace the monarch with their own heads of state amid demands that Britain apologize for its colonial-era abuses and award its former colonies slavery reparations.
Still, Caribbean leaders from Bermuda to Dominica and beyond mourned her death.
“Her passing ends an iconic 70-year reign and is a profound loss for the commonwealth of nations and the world,” tweeted Roosevelt Skerrit, Dominica’s prime minister.
Minutes later, Bermuda Premier David Burt noted that her reign “has spanned decades of such immense change for the United Kingdom and the world.”
Tributes also came from celebrities. Elton John said in a tweet that she was “an inspiring presence to be around, and lead the country through some of our greatest, and darkest, moments.”
There was even praise from the fictional Paddington Bear, the beloved British children's book character. The bear shared tea with the queen in a video shown in June during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
“Thank you Ma’am, for everything," said a statement on the Paddington Bear Twitter feed.
Elizabeth died Thursday afternoon at age 96 at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the royal family had rushed to after her health worsened.
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