At the age of 96, the Queen has passed away. It’s the end of an era for Britain, who had seen her Highness reigning for the past seven decades. She passed on at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, and the entire family rushed to be with her during her final moments on Thursday. She was the country’s longest-reining monarch, and her eldest son Charles read out the following statement to the public: 

“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.”

After news broke that the Queen’s health was deteriorating, thousands of people started to gather outside Buckingham Palace. She had been experiencing “episodic mobility problems” which caused her to stop attending public events. When the flag was lowered to half-mast, there was somber energy in the air, and crowds charged the gates as the official announcement was posted to the black gates.  Shortly before the Queen’s death was announced, a rainbow appeared over Buckingham palace.