Heartfelt tributes are pouring in from across the world as The Queen has died at the age of 96.
Buckingham Palace announced today (8 September) that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died peacefully at Balmoral, surrounded by her family. The palace had released a statement earlier this afternoon to say The Queen’s doctors were concerned about her health, since which members of her family had been travelling to be with her.
A statement from the palace said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Horses were one of The Queen’s biggest loves throughout her life; she had her first lesson aged three, and her first pony, a Shetland called Peggy, was given to her by her grandfather King George V on her fourth birthday.
Since then, Her Majesty had owned and bred countless horses and ponies, from the hundreds of winning racehorses, some of whom went on also to enjoy showing success, to carriage horses, hunters, sport horses and polo ponies. One of those she bred was Doublet, with whom Princess Anne won individual European Eventing Championships gold in 1971, leading Her Majesty to joke that she had bred both horse and rider.
Pictures of The Queen riding out in Windsor Great Park on an immaculate Fell, headscarf in place, have always been a common sight, and there were reports this spring that she had returned to the saddle following a break.
In a statement, The King said: “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.”
Rest in peace, Your Majesty.