The Queen, Britain’s reigning monarch of 70 years has died at the age of 96, it has been confirmed.
A statement confirming the news read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
“The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
Her remarkable reign started at a young age when she ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI on 6 February 1952.
She dedicated her life to public service all the while accompanied by her late husband, Prince Philip.
The Duke of Edinburgh was the longest-serving consort in British history after marrying Queen Elizabeth II in July 1947.
Together for more than 70 years, the Duke of Edinburgh lived through the ups and down of the monarch’s life and reign with her.
In 2002, her Golden Jubilee year, the Queen lost both her mother and sister within weeks of one another. But Philip was at her side.
Here is the story of how the couple met and fell in love before becoming the leading figures of the British monarchy for nearly seven decades.
Queen Elizabeth II – A life in pctures
How did the Queen and Prince Philip meet?
They were distant cousins and both great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria.
They attended some of the same events in their youth – a wedding in 1934 and King George VI’s coronation in 1937.
But they had their first publicised meeting in 1939 when Philip was 18 and Princess Elizabeth was 13.
The princess’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, had taken her and her sister, Princess Margaret, to visit the naval college in Dartmouth and cadet Philip was assigned to entertain the princesses.
When did they fall in love?
Elizabeth first fell for tall, blond, athletic Philip during their Dartmouth encounter when he amused her by jumping over tennis nets.
The pair wrote regular letters to one another and later met on numerous occasions, with Philip even spending Christmas with the royal family during the Second World War.
When did Prince Philip marry Princess Elizabeth?
Philip and Elizabeth’s engagement was announced in July 1947 and the royal wedding took place on November 20 1947 in London’s Westminster Abbey. Elizabeth was 21 and not yet Queen.
Five years after they married – in 1952 – George VI died and Elizabeth became the monarch.
How did the Queen and the duke manage to stay married for so long?
They shared interests – a love of horses and outdoor life – and had the same dutiful royal training.
They were content in each other’s company but also happy to spend time apart.
Philip loved carriage driving, while the Queen might go to dinner with friends.
In character, they were very different. The duke was seen as cantankerous and adventurous, while the Queen is viewed as passive, cautious and conventional.