National | Prince Charles

Queen Elizabeth II dies; Governor-General, Prime Minister pay tribute

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of New Zealand, the UK and many other Commonwealth countries, has died at Balmoral, aged 96, having served as the UK's longest-serving monarch for over 70 years.

After worries about her health grew earlier on Thursday, her family gathered at her Scottish estate.

Since he was three years old,  Charles the Prince of Wales, now 73, has been the heir apparent to the throne. His wife, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, is now the Queen Consort.

Buckingham Palace released the following statement: "The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

In a statement, King Charles 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.”

Queen Elizabeth II died just two days after performing her final constitutional duty, formally appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss, the 15th of her reign.

The King and the Queen Consort will spend this evening and tomorrow at Balmoral before departing for London.

Credit: YouTube / BBC.

Tributes flow from New Zealand

New Zealand's Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro expressed condolences to the new king in a statement. It reads: "On behalf of the people of New Zealand, I convey our deepest condolences on the death of Her Majesty the Queen. To all members of the Royal Family, we extend our thoughts at this difficult time.

"New Zealand shares with the people of Her Majesty’s realms profound grief at the loss of a cherished monarch and honoured leader. Her Majesty The Queen was much loved and respected in New Zealand, and will be long remembered for her lifetime of dedicated service."

"E tangi ana te ngākau," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in her tribute to the "incredible woman who we were lucky enough to call our Queen" earlier this morning.

"The last days of the Queen's life captures who she was in so many ways, working to the very end on behalf of the people she loved."

Adern said the official state service for New Zealand will not happen until the official service for the Queen in the United Kingdom happens.

It is likely, Ardern said, that she and other NZ officials will head over to the UK for the Queen's funeral.

Except on Proclamation Day—the day the new Sovereign is formally announced—when flags are to be flown from the top of the mast—the New Zealand flag will be flown at half-mast from the moment of the death announcement until and including the day of the funeral.

A Death Gun Salute will be performed by the New Zealand Army on the Wellington Waterfront this evening, commencing at 6pm. 16 Field Regiment will fire 96 rounds - one round for every year of Her Majesty’s life, and is expected to last 16 minutes. Public access to the waterfront is currently restricted near Te Papa Museum.