Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, has died. She was 96.
Buckingham Palace made the announcement in a statement.
A link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known, and her name defines an age: the modern Elizabethan Era. The impact of her loss will be huge, and unpredictable, both for the nation and for the monarchy, an institution she helped stabilize and modernize across decades of huge social change and family scandals.
With the death of the queen, her son Charles, automatically becomes monarch, even though the coronation might not take place for months. It is not known whether he will choose to call himself King Charles III or some other name.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.