Buckingham Palace’s announcement Thursday that Queen Elizabeth II had died sparked mourning and reflection across the world.
Charles, the new King, issued a statement after his mother’s death, saying, “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.”
Reactions around the U.K. to the Queen’s passing
“Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her,” Prime Minister Liz Truss said after the news was announced.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “This is our country’s saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss — far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.”
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted, “Her life was one of extraordinary dedication and service. On behalf of the people of Scotland, I convey my deepest condolences to The King and the Royal Family.”
Mark Drakeford, the First Minister of Wales, said on Twitter, “As our longest reigning monarch, she firmly upheld the values and traditions of the British Monarchy.”
The office of First Minister of Northern Ireland is vacant but previous incumbent Paul Givan, tweeted that the Queen “has served our Nation and Commonwealth with remarkable grace and distinction.”
Even the leader of the nationalist party Sinn Féin in Northern Ireland offered her sympathies to the royal family. In a statement, Michelle O’Neill added that she was “grateful for Queen Elizabeth’s significant contribution and determined efforts to advancing peace and reconciliation between our two islands.”
Sympathy from Commonwealth leaders
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a speech in Vancouver shortly after the Queen’s death. “She was our Queen for almost half of Canada’s existence and she had an obvious, deep and abiding love and affection for Canadians,” Trudeau said. “She served us all with strength and wisdom for 70 years as we grew into the diverse, optimistic, responsible, ambitious and extraordinary country we are today.” King Charles III succeeds his mother as the head of state of Canada.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of Australia, where the Queen was also head of state, paid tribute to the“sympathy and kindness” that the Queen had shown to Australians.
“This is a loss we all feel, for few have known a world without Queen Elizabeth II,” Albanese said. “In her seven remarkable decades on the throne, Her Majesty was a rare and reassuring constant amidst rapid change. Through the noise and tumult of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote that she would “be remembered as a stalwart of our times. She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people.”
In Pakistan, President Dr. Arif Alvi revered the late monarch as the “greatest and most beneficent ruler” who “would be remembered in [the] annals of history.”
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hailed Queen Elizabeth II’s reign as one of the “longest periods of peace and prosperity” in the United Kingdom’s history. On Facebook, Lee said her passing is “greatly mourned” by everyone in the city-state.
Malaysia’s foreign minister, Datuk Serih Saifuddin Abdullah, called the late monarch a “towering figure,” and extended his condolences to the British public in a Facebook post.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa tweeted pictures of his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II in 2018, adding that the Queen’s “commitment & dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble & virtuous example to the world.”
Nigerian President Muhammad Buhari also extended his condolences to the Royal Family and the U.K., stating that the “story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll.”
In Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo ordered all official flags to fly at half-mast for a week, in honor of the “cherished and revered monarch of the British people.”
For Barbados, a former British colony in the Caribbean that became an independent republic last year, Queen Elizabeth’s passing marked the “end of an era.” The new nation’s first president, Sandra Mason, said the Queen “will always hold a special place in our hearts.”
Tributes to the Queen from the international community
U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden released a statement after the Queen’s death, saying that she “defined an era” and “deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”
They wrote: “She was the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection—whether they heard her on the radio as a young princess speaking to the children of the United Kingdom, or gathered around their televisions for her coronation, or watched her final Christmas speech or her Platinum Jubilee on their phones. And she, in turn, dedicated her whole life to their service.”
China’s official Xinhua news agency reported that President Xi Jinping, who met the Queen in 2015, had sent a message of condolence to King Charles III over the monarch’s passing.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters the Queen had a “significant role in creating world peace and prosperity,” adding that her passing was a “huge loss” to the international community.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, tweeted that his thoughts were with the royal family and all those mourning her across the world. “Once called Elizabeth the Steadfast, she never failed to show us the importance of lasting values in a modern world with her service and commitment,” Michel said.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted a photo of the Queen and wrote: “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that Ukraine extended its “sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss.”
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said the Dutch government had conveyed its sympathy to Prime Minister Truss. The Queen, he said, had been “a beacon of calm and stability for her country and the world, even at moments of the greatest historical upheaval.”
In Brazil, President Jair Bolsonaro, decreed three days of mourning to pay respects to the Queen.
But while leaders around the world paid solemn tribute to the late monarch, some observers reflected on how the British Empire’s suppression of independence movements complicated the Queen’s legacy.
“Black and brown people around the world who were subject to horrendous cruelties and economic deprivation under British colonialism are allowed to have feelings about Queen Elizabeth. After all, they were her ‘subjects’ too,” Washington Post columnist Karen Attiah wrote on Twitter.
—With additional reporting by Yasmeen Serhan/London and Chad de Guzman/Hong Kong
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