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Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96, the palace confirms. The queen took the throne in 1953 at the age of 25. She was the second-longest serving sovereign in world history, and spent her life in the public eye.
For many in the U.K. and beyond, she served as a symbol of stability through the changes of the 20th and 21st centuries. The former Prince Charles, her eldest son and heir to the throne, immediately became King Charles III upon her death.
“The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family," the new king shared in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.
Reports of the queen’s health emerged on Wednesday, when she postponed a virtual meeting with Privy Council advisors on doctors’ advice to rest. On Thursday at 7:30 a.m. ET, the palace issued a statement that the queen’s doctors were “concerned” for her health, recommending she remain under medical supervision at Balmoral, the family estate in Scotland.
She was the last woman in the line of succession for the coming generations. After Charles, next in line is Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Charles’ son with Princess Diana. Following is Prince George, Prince William’s son with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
The monarch’s husband, Prince Philip, died at age 99 in 2021. They were married for over 73 years. Ahead, the latest live updates on the queen’s passing and what happens next, including reactions from her son, King Charles III, and the world leaders who knew her.
Queen's death revives criticism of Britain’s legacy of colonialism
As the death of Queen Elizabeth II prompted an outpouring of grief from millions across the world, it also revived criticism of her legacy, highlighting the complicated feelings of those who saw her as a symbol of the British colonial empire — an institution that enriched itself through violence, theft and oppression.
While Elizabeth ruled as Britain navigated a post-colonial era, she still bore a connection to its colonial past, which was rooted in racism and violence against Asian and African colonies. There have been growing calls in recent years for the monarchy to confront its colonial past.
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York releases statement on death of the queen
Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, released a statement on Thursday following news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
"I am heartbroken by the passing of Her Majesty the Queen," she wrote in a social media post. "She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy: the most fantastic example of duty and service and steadfastness, and a constant steadying presence as our head of state for more than 70 years."
Ferguson was married to Prince Andrew from 1986 until 1996. They share two children, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit British Embassy to pay respects
President Joe Biden went to the British Embassy on Thursday to offer condolences for the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The U.S. leader sat at a desk and signed the condolence book at the embassy. His wife, Jill Biden, brought a bouquet of flowers. She stood next to him before she, too, wrote in the book.
The president then spoke with embassy staff and could be overhead saying of the former British monarch, “We mourn for all of you. She was a great lady.”
Former President Trump's statement on Queen Elizabeth's passing
In response to Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Former President Donald Trump offered his sympathies in a post shared on his Truth Social platform.
“Melania and I are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” he wrote. “Together with our family and fellow Americans, we send our sincere condolences to the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom during this time of great sorrow and grief.
The politician and businessman who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021 described the queen's “historic and remarkable reign” as having “left a tremendous legacy of peace and prosperity for Great Britain.”
“Her leadership and enduring diplomacy secured and advanced alliances with the United States and countries ... around the world. However, she will always be remembered for her faithfulness to her country and her unwavering devotion to her fellow countrymen and women,” he wrote.
“Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor. What a grand and beautiful lady she was — there was nobody like her! ... Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the great people of the United Kingdom as you honor her most meaningful life and exceptional service to the people. May God bless the Queen, may she reign forever in our hearts, and may God hold her and Prince Philip in abiding care.”
For more reactions from world leaders, read here.
On Tuesday, the queen posed for a photo at Balmoral
Queen Elizabeth II took photos at Balmoral on September 6, the same day she met Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Photos from the event caused some concern about the monarch's health. The skin on her hand appeared to be bruised.
That could be due to senile purpura, NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres told TODAY via email. “As we age, our skin and the connective tissues underneath become more fragile so even a minor bump can cause this type of bruising,” he said.
The queen’s health made headlines after she was hospitalized in October 2021 and contracted COVID-19 in February 2022.
Empire State Building, Eiffel Tower to commemorate the queen through lighting
Around the world are emblems of mourning. The Eiffel Tower is set to switch of its lights on Thursday night, and the London Eye will dim its lights.
The Empire State Building will project purple, a color associated with royalty, and silver lights to commemorate the queen.
President Joe Biden says U.S. flags to be flown at half-mast
Joe Biden has issued a statement saying the U.S. flag on public buildings throughout America and on its embassies should be flown at half-mast until the queen's internment, as a "mark of respect for the memory of Queen Elizabeth II."
Pope Francis sends a telegram to the king, says he is 'deeply saddened'
Pope Francis sent a telegram to King Charles III offering his condolences, the Vatican News reports.
“Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, I offer heartfelt condolences to Your Majesty, the Members of the Royal Family, the People of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth," the statement reads.
"I assure Your Majesty of my prayers that Almighty God will sustain you with his unfailing grace as you now take up your high responsibilities as King. Upon you and all who cherish the memory of your late mother, I invoke an abundance of divine blessings as a pledge of comfort and strength in the Lord."
'The Crown' to pause filming in respect to the queen
"The Crown" is an award-winning Netflix drama about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, with actors playing the monarch at different stages of her rule. Season Six of the series is currently filming, with Imelda Staunton cast to play the queen in her later years.
"Crown" creator Peter Morgan said in a statement to Deadline that production may halt.
“'The Crown' is a love letter to (the Queen) and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect,” Morgan wrote. “I expect we will stop filming out of respect too.”
Prince Harry arrives at Balmoral
The Duke of Sussex was pictured arriving at Balmoral Castle in the afternoon on Sept. 8.
The queen's death begins national mourning period in the U.K.
A 10-day mourning period has begun in the U.K. following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
During this time, numerous important events will take place, including Queen Elizabeth II's funeral and King Charles III's coronation, both of which will be national holidays in the U.K.
Flags will be flown half-mast in the U.K. during this period of mourning, which concludes with the queen's funeral. She will be buried along with her husband, parents and sister at Windsor Castle’s King George VI Memorial Chapel.
Paddington Bear pays respect to the queen
Even Paddington, the beloved fictional bear and symbol of Great Britain, is paying his respects to the queen.
Made famous by Michael Bond's children's book series and later movie adaptations, Paddington tweeted, "Thank you Ma'am, for everything."
King Charles III to give televised address tomorrow
The King's spokesperson has announced that the new king will make a televised address September 9.
World leaders, celebrities respond to the queen's death
Reactions poured in following the announcement from civilians and leaders alike.
Former U.K. prime minister Tony Blair said, in an except of an extensive statement, “We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature, personified everything which makes us proud to be British.”
Former U.S. president Barack Obama recalled his personal relationship with the queen in this excerpt of a longer statement: "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."
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton said in a statement, "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."
Fellow former president Jimmy Carter said in a statement, "Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and the citizens of the United Kingdom. Her dignity, graciousness, and sense of duty have been an inspiration, and we join the millions around the world in mourning a remarkable leader."
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, said, "It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history."
Former Vice President Mike Pence said, "@Karen Pence and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth’s incredible life of service and devotion to country as the longest serving Monarch in British history will be celebrated for generations to come."
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Queen Elizabeth II led with grace, conviction, and dedication to her people. My heart goes out to her family and to all who loved her."
U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy wrote, "For 70 years, the Queen has demonstrated civility, class, and compassion for all. My condolences to the royal family, the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth. Her loss is immense, but her legacy is even greater."
Charles Michel, president of the EU Council, wrote, "Our thoughts are with the royal family and all those who mourn Queen Elizabeth II in the UK and worldwide. 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."
Royal-affiliated websites like Archewell reflect the queen's passing
The interfaces of royal-affiliated websites have been altered to reflect the queen's passing.
The homepage of Archewell, the website of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, has been replaced with a takeover commemorating the queen's life. The website has white text on a black background that reads: "In loving memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 1926 - 2022."
Royal.uk, the royal family's website, has a blacked out screen with an illustration of Queen Elizabeth II and the years of her life.
The BBC's website also has been altered to dark tones, with articles devoted to the queen and the succession of King Charles III.
President Joe Biden responds: 'She defined an era'
President Joe Biden said in a statement that Queen Elizabeth was "more than a monarch," saying "she defined an era."
The statement goes on to read, "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. An enduring admiration for Queen Elizabeth II united people across the Commonwealth. The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.
"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.
"Supported by her beloved Prince Philip for 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example. She endured the dangers and deprivations of a world war alongside the British people and rallied them during the devastation of a global pandemic to look to better days ahead. Through her dedication to her patronages and charities, she supported causes that uplifted people and expanded opportunity. By showing friendship and respect to newly independent nations around the world, she elevated the cause of liberty and fostered enduring bonds that helped strengthen the Commonwealth, which she loved so deeply, into a community to promote peace and shared values.
"Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special.
"We first met the Queen in 1982, traveling to the UK as part of a Senate delegation. And we were honored that she extended her hospitality to us in June 2021 during our first overseas trip as President and First Lady, where she charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom. All told, she met 14 American presidents. She helped Americans commemorate both the anniversary of the founding of Jamestown and the bicentennial of our independence. And she stood in solidarity with the United States during our darkest days after 9/11, when she poignantly reminded us that “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
"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. We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, who are not only mourning their Queen, but their dear mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world."
Prince William and Kate get new titles
As per the succession process, following the death of the queen, William and Kate automatically became The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, as their updated Twitter bio reflects.
Prime Minister Liz Truss responds: 'She was the very spirit of Great Britain'
Two days after becoming prime minister and two days after meeting the queen, Liz Truss is now responding to Queen Elizabeth's death. Her statement reads as follows:
"We are all devastated by the news we have just heard from Balmoral. The death of Her Majesty the Queen is a huge shock to the nation and to the world.
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.
She ascended the throne just after the Second World War.
She championed the development of the Commonwealth — from a small group of seven countries to a family of 56 nations spanning every continent of the world.
We are now a modern, thriving, dynamic nation.
Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed.
She was the very spirit of Great Britain — and that spirit will endure.
She has been our longest-ever reigning monarch.
It is an extraordinary achievement to have presided with such dignity and grace for 70 years.
Her life of service stretched beyond most of our living memories.
In return, she was loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom and all around the world.
She has been a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons. Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.
Earlier this week, at 96, she remained determined to carry out her duties as she appointed me as her 15th Prime Minister.
Throughout her life she has visited more than 100 countries and she has touched the lives of millions around the world.
In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends…
….across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world…
…to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime of service.
It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.
Today the Crown passes — as it is has done for more than a thousand years — to our new monarch, our new head of state:
His Majesty King Charles III.
With the King’s family, we mourn the loss of his mother.
And as we mourn, we must come together as a people to support him.
To help him bear the awesome responsibility that he now carries for us all.
We offer him our loyalty and devotion just as his mother devoted so much to so many for so long.
And with the passing of the second Elizabethan age, we usher in a new era in the magnificent history of our great country,
- exactly as Her Majesty would have wished —
by saying the words…
God save the King.
The new king has a name: King Charles III
His majesty will officially go by King Charles III, Clarence House confirms.
As part of the ascension process, the 73-year-old monarch had to choose an official new title. He could choose to reign as Charles III, or adopt one of his middle names: Philip, Arthur or George.
There would have been precedent for a name change: The king's grandfather George VI’s first name was Albert.
'A moment of great sadness:' The king responds to his mother's death
King Charles is the first member of the royal family to speak out about the death of Queen Elizabeth II, with a message that commemorates both the mother and the monarch, posted onto the royal family Twitter account.
"The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family.
"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," Charles wrote.
What the British monarchy's line of succession looks like
Operation Spring Tide is the nickname for the protocol for the ascension of Charles, the king, to the throne. Now, here's a brief summary of the new, current line of succession.
- Prince William, Duke of Cambridge — first in line of succession
- Prince George of Cambridge — second in the line of succession
- Princess Charlotte of Cambridge — third in line of succession
- Prince Louis of Cambridge — fourth in line of succession
- Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex— fifth in line of succession
- Archie Mountbatten-Windsor — sixth in line of succession
- Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor — seventh in line of succession
Prince Charles becomes king
Prince Charles, the queen’s eldest son, became King of England at age 73 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Operation Spring Tide is the nickname for the plan in place for the Prince of Wales’ ascension to the throne.
As per Queen Elizabeth II's wishes, Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge, will now be known as “queen consort.” In a message marking her Platinum Jubilee earlier this year, the queen said: “When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.”
The King and The Queen Consort will remain in Scotland this evening and will return to London tomorrow.
Queen Elizabeth II dies "peacefully" at age 96
Queen Elizabeth II has died at 96, the palace confirms.
She ruled for over 70 years, making her the second-longest reigning monarch in world history. She leaves behind four children, eight grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and a nation in mourning. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II worked with 15 prime ministers.
Ruling since 1953, for many, she served as a symbol of stability through the changes of the 20th and 21st centuries.
A double rainbow rises above Buckingham Palace
As crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace, onlookers noticed a double rainbow in the sky.
U.K. news reporters wear black attire awaiting news on the queen's health
News in the U.K. reflects the grave nature of news surrounding the queen's health. As of the morning of September 8, BBC and Sky news reporters were wearing black attire, with viewers on social media remarking on the change.
The BBC's website has also been altered to display a black theme. Indicating that the news would be ongoing, the BBC suspended BBC One's schedule until 6 a.m. ET. BBC Two is playing BBC One's coverage.
President Joe Biden briefed on Queen Elizabeth II's health
During an off camera press briefling, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby told reporters that President Biden has been briefed on the queen’s health.
"His and the first lady’s thoughts are solidly with the Queen and her family," Kirby said.
Prince William drives members of the royal family to Balmoral
Prince William, Prince Edward, Sophie Countess of Wessex and Prince Andrew pulled up to Balmoral after previously landing at the Aberdeen airport.
William drove the Range Rover taking his uncles and aunt to Balmoral. Their car arrived alongside others.
U.K. Prime Minister Liz Truss not planning to travel to Scotland
There are no plans for the Prime Minister to travel to Scotland on Thursday or Friday, Downing Street confirmed.
Truss was appointed prime minister after meeting with the queen at Balmoral on Tuesday. Queen Elizabeth II has appointed 15 prime ministers total. Tuesday's was the first time the ceremonial handover of power took place at Balmoral.
Princes Harry and William to reunite in Balmoral, where they learned of Princess Diana’s death
The queen is currently at Balmoral, her summer residence in Scotland. She typically spends a portion of the year at the sprawling Aberdeenshire castle, from August through October.
The estate also holds a significant place in Windsor family history: Prince Harry and Prince William were at Balmoral when they learned of their mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997.
“Scotland is the source of some of my happiest memories but also some of my saddest. I was in Balmoral when I was told my mother had died,” William said earlier this year in a speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh.
William later met his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, while studying in Scotland.
Justin Trudeau says his thoughts and 'the thoughts of Canadians across the country' are with the queen
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, tweeted his statement.
"My thoughts, and the thoughts of Canadians across the country, are with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at this time. We’re wishing her well, and sending our best to the Royal Family," Trudeau wrote.
Canada is part of the British Commonwealth, and features Queen Elizabeth II on a bank note.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, is not traveling to Balmoral
Prince Harry is traveling to Balmoral alone, contradicting previous reports of his traveling with his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, sources told NBC News. Meghan will remain in London, but will not attend the WellChild awards tonight as scheduled.
The Duchess of Sussex could potentially join Harry in Scotland at later date, sources said.
Prince Charles is by his mother's side
Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, have arrived at Balmoral, his Clarence House office said on Thursday.
Prince Harry and Meghan traveling 'separately' from other royal family members
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are traveling “separately but in co-ordination with other family members,” a spokesperson the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirms. Their arrival time is not known.
Prince William arrives along with other royal family members
Prince William, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex land at Aberdeen airport shortly after 11 a.m. ET, traveling via an RAF plane.
Concerned crowds gather outside of Buckingham Palace
Amid reports of the head of state's health, crowds are gathering outside of Buckingham Palace. Crowds similarly gathered to mourn Prince Philip in 2021.
Operation Unicorn: What to expect if the queen dies in Scotland
The queen's death will trigger a series of protocol and plans for how the event will be handled, according to British historian Andrew Roberts.
Should the queen die in London, that would trigger Operation London Bridge. Should she die in Scotland, where she is currently, that would trigger Operation Unicorn. The nickname is likely derived from the unicorn, the national animal of Scotland.
As Roberts explained to TODAY, after the queen dies, her private secretary, Edward Young, will call Prime Minister Liz Truss and inform her of her death. Then the Privy Council of the United Kingdom is informed, followed by various official notifications that go out to the civil service.
'A very somber tone:' Jenna Bush Hager provides an update from Scotland
Reporting live from Dumfries House in Scotland, TODAY host Jenna Bush Hager provided updates on the "very somber tone" in the U.K.
Jenna revealed that she was in Scotland with the intention to interview Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, for a joint collaboration between their book clubs. Minutes before the interview was scheduled, Charles and Camilla flew to Balmoral, located about four hours north from where the interview was set to take place.
"Our hearts are not only with her family, but all of those that have loved this queen for decades and decades," Jenna said.
"She has been this cornerstone, this steadiness, not only for this country but for this family. She’s a mother, she’s a grandmother, she's a great-grandmother, and now she has her family by her bedside," she said.
The Archbishop of Canterbury responds
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England, issued a statement this morning as news broke of the Queen's health concerns.
“My prayers, and the prayers of people across the @churchofengland and the nation, are with Her Majesty The Queen today. May God’s presence strengthen and comfort Her Majesty, her family, and those who are caring for her at Balmoral," Justin Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote.
Prince William travels to Balmoral
Prince William is traveling to Balmoral, Kensington Palace confirmed to NBC News.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stayed at their home in Windsor while Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis embark on their first day of school, Kensington Palace told the UK Press Association.
Yesterday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge accompanied their three children to a welcome afternoon for new pupils at Lambrook School in Berkshire.
The Queen's children gather at Balmoral, including Prince Charles, heir to the throne
Heir to the throne Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to Balmoral, according to Clarence House.
The Queen's other sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, are also on the way. Princess Anne was already at Balmoral.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex head to Scotland
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are traveling to Scotland to be closer to the queen, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex confirmed that they were heading to Scotland.
Prince Harry, the queen's grandson and Prince Charles' second son, was visiting Europe from his home California this week, their first public appearance in Europe since stepping down as senior royals in 2020.
Harry was previously in the U.K. for Prince Philip's funeral and the unveiling of the statue of Princess Diana in 2021. Meghan did not accompany him on the trip, then pregnant with their daughter Lilibet.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were scheduled to attend the WellChild Awards in west London on Thursday.
British PM Liz Truss makes a statement
On Tuesday, the Queen appointed her 15th prime minister, Liz Truss, from Balmoral.
"The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime. My thoughts — and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom — are with Her Majesty The Queen and her family at this time," Truss wrote on Twitter at 7:39 a.m.
Queen Elizabeth II's doctors are 'concerned' for health
Queen Elizabeth II’s doctors are “concerned” for her health, Buckingham Palace said in a statement issued on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. ET. Doctors recommended the monarch remain under medical supervision in Scotland.
“The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral,” the statement said, referring to the Windsor family’s home in Scotland.