Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, has died in Scotland. Prince Charles is now King.
It is a moment that the United Kingdom has been bracing for, with an elaborate plan for “Operation London Bridge” mapping out what happens next. But it comes as a shock all the same.
Elizabeth, 96, was a symbol of stability and continuity — even through royal scandals, the contraction of the British Empire and massive changes around the world. Only days ago, she oversaw the appointment of her 15th prime minister.
The formal succession will unfold over the next 10 days, with Charles giving the world a first glimpse of what he will be like as monarch. But on Thursday, the focus was on the passing of the queen, with Britons laying flowers outside Buckingham Palace in London and tributes pouring in from around the world.