Queen Elizabeth II Dies at 96: Political Leaders, Stars Around the World React

The longest reigning British monarch died at Balmoral Castle, Buckingham Palace announced.

People around the world are remembering the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II following her death at the age of 96. The longest reigning British monarch died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, surrounded by members of the royal family, including her four children -- Prince Charles of Wales, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. 

The royal family announced the queen's death with an official statement on their social media pages, sharing a portrait of the late monarch. 

"The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," the statement read, before referring to the newly ascended King Charles, her eldest son, who will succeed his mother on the throne. "The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow."

She is survived by her children, along with eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, which includes Prince William and Kate Middleton's kids, Prince GeorgePrincess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as well as Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle's children, Archie and Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor. Lilibet was named in her honor. 

Queen Elizabeth took the throne at 25 years old, and was officially crowned during a 1953 coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey. She cemented her new status with a seven-month tour of the Commonwealth, alongside husband Prince Philip. 

Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth met with numerous world leaders, including 12 U.S. presidents, and made her first visit to the United States in 1957, where she was hosted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Her Majesty also worked with 15 British prime ministers over her decades on the throne, including Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister (the two had a longstanding contentious relationship). 

In June 2022, she celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. The queen had to sit out several of the week-long festivities due to her health and mobility issues, though she made a surprise appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to close out the occasion. 

Days before her death, Elizabeth made history again, accepting the resignation of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and appointing new Prime Minister Liz Truss. She requested that these official events take place at Balmoral Castle rather than Buckingham Palace for the first time in her reign. Truss is the third female British prime minister ever and the 15th prime minister to be appointed during Her Majesty's reign. 

Immediately after the news of her death was confirmed, political leaders, celebrities and more from across the globe took to social media to honor the historic monarch. 

"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," the newly named King Charles III said in a statement provided by Buckingham Palace. "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," he concluded.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama shared a statement from him and his wife, Michelle Obama, writing, "From the day of her coronation 70 years ago -- the first one ever televised -- to this very moment, as countless tributes are being posted online in her honor, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has captivated the world. Today, Michelle and I join so many others who are celebrating her life and mourning her passing."

"Her Majesty was just 25 years old when she took on the enormous task of helming one of the world’s great democracies. In the decades that followed, she would go on to make the role of Queen her own -- with a reign defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic, defying the odds and expectations placed on women of her generation," the statement reads. "During World War II, she became the first-ever female royal to serve on active military duty. And through periods of prosperity and stagnation—from the moon landing, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the dawn of the digital age—she served as a beacon of hope and stability for the people of the United Kingdom and the world."

He added: "Her Majesty worked with 15 Prime Ministers and countless foreign heads of state. She listened deeply, thought strategically, and was responsible for considerable diplomatic achievements. And yet, she wore her lofty titles with a light touch—as willing to act in a comic sketch for the London Olympics as she was to record steadying messages for the people of the UK during the COVID-19 lockdowns."

"Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us. Back when we were just beginning to navigate life as President and First Lady, she welcomed us to the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity. Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance," he concluded. "Like so many, Michelle and I are grateful to have witnessed Her Majesty’s dedicated leadership, and we are awed by her legacy of tireless, dignified public service. Our thoughts are with her family and the people of the United Kingdom at this difficult time."

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, praised Her Majesty's "remarkable 70-year reign" in a statement provided to ET.

"Hillary and I mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and we join with people across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, and all around the world, in giving thanks for her extraordinary life," the statement reads. "Throughout her remarkable 70-year reign, she led Britain through great transformations with unfailing grace, dignity, and genuine care for the welfare of all its people.  In sunshine or storm, she was a source of stability, serenity, and strength." 

They added: "We will always be grateful for the kindness she showed us through the years, particularly during our visits to Buckingham Palace in 1995 and 2000, and for all she did to deepen the Special Relationship. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family and all the people Her Majesty inspired throughout her lifetime of service."

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch. She defined an era," President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden said in a statement. "In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her. ... In the years ahead, we look forward to continuing a close friendship with The King and The Queen Consort. Today, the thoughts and prayers of people all across the United States are with the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in their grief."

Keep reading to see how others are honoring the late monarch.

For updates on Queen Elizabeth's death, visit ET's ongoing coverage here.