World leaders and dignitaries have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who has died at the age of 96.
They have honoured her deep sense of duty and her resilience, as well as the Queen’s sense of humour and kindness.
France’s Emmanuel Macron led the tributes, remembering “a kind-hearted queen” who was “a friend of France”.
And former US President Barack Obama said the Queen had “captivated the world” with a “reign defined by grace, elegance and a tireless work ethic”.
“Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humour and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance,” Mr Obama, who met the Queen on several occasions, said in a statement.
Current US President Joe Biden – who first met Her Majesty 40 years ago – described her as “more than a monarch – she defined an era”.
Remembering his visit to the UK in 2021 as president, Mr Biden said “she charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom”.
Queen Elizabeth II met 13 US presidents during her reign.
The Queen during a dinner reception at the G7 summit in St Austell, Cornwall, Britain 11 June 2021Image source, 10 Downing Street
The Queen with Joe and Jill Biden last year at the G7 summit in Cornwall, England
Donald Trump said he would “never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humour”.
“What a grand and beautiful lady she was – there was nobody like her!” the former president wrote on his online platform, Truth Social.
And another former president, George W Bush, reflected fondly on the time he spent having tea with Her Majesty and her corgis, describing her “great intellect, charm and wit”.
Queen Elizabeth II and the President of the United States of America George W. Bush are accompanied by their spouses, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Laura Bush, on the balcony of the White House, Washington DC, on May 7, 2007Image source, Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth with Laura Bush, Prince Philip and George W Bush at the White House in 2007
Canada – where Queen Elizabeth was head of state – has seen 12 prime ministers during her reign.
An emotional Justin Trudeau said she had “an obvious deep and abiding love for Canadians”.
“In a complicated world, her steady grace and resolve brought comfort to us all,” the prime minister said, adding that he would miss their “chats” where she was “thoughtful, wise, curious, helpful, funny and so much more”.
“She was one of my favourite people in the world, and I will miss her so,” he said, holding back tears.
Queen Elizabeth II receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an audience at Windsor Castle, on March 7, 2022 in Windsor, EnglandImage source, Getty Images
Her Majesty met Canada’s Justin Trudeau several times, including earlier this year at Windsor
‘An extraordinary personality’
Flags have been lowered to half-mast around the world – including at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the Queen’s “empathy and ability to connect with every passing generation, while remaining rooted in the tradition that truly mattered to her, was an example of true leadership”.
King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands – who is Queen Elizabeth’s fifth cousin – said he and Queen Maxima remembered the “steadfast and wise” monarch with “deep respect and great affection”.
Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf, also a distant relative to Her Majesty, said: “She has always been dear to my family and a precious link in our shared family history.”
And Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde said she was “an extraordinary personality… who, throughout her reign, showed dignity, courage and devotion”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz paid tribute to the Queen’s “wonderful humour” and said in a statement that “her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War Two will remain unforgotten”.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his “memorable meetings” with the monarch during two UK visits.
“I will never forget her warmth and kindness,” he tweeted. “During one of the meetings, she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture.”
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent their condolences, with the king describing her as “a role model for leadership that will be immortalised in history”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping offered “sincere sympathies to the British government and people” following the Queen’s death, adding: “Her passing is a great loss to the British people.”
Queen Elizabeth and India’s Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace in 2015Image source, Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and India’s Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace in 2015
‘A reassuring presence’
As monarch for seven decades, Queen Elizabeth lived through times of extraordinary change, and this was reflected in several tributes.
As Barack Obama noted, she lived “through periods of prosperity and stagnation – from the Moon landing to the fall of the Berlin Wall”.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his “deep sorrow”. “The death of the queen, who led Britain through turbulent times in the world, is a great loss not only for the British people but also the international community,” he told reporters.
Irish President Michael D Higgins honoured the Queen’s “extraordinary sense of duty”, which he said would “hold a unique place in British history”.
“Her reign of 70 years encompassed periods of enormous change, during which she represented a remarkable source of reassurance to the British people,” he said in a lengthy statement.
Ireland’s Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, spoke of her reign as one of “historic duration” and described the Queen’s passing as “the end of an era”.
“Her dedication to duty and public service were self-evident and her wisdom and experience truly unique,” Mr Martin said in a statement. He also recalled her “many gracious gestures and warm remarks” during a state visit to Ireland in 2011.
António Guterres, the UN’s secretary-general, said Queen Elizabeth was “a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonisation of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth”.
In a statement, he paid tribute to “her unwavering, lifelong dedication to serving her people. The world will long remember her devotion and leadership”