World pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

LONDON – The death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday sparked a torrent of condolences from leaders around the world.

Presidents, prime ministers and fellow monarchs all paid tribute to the Queen, Britain’s longest-serving monarch. At 96, she remained one of the world’s most recognizable people, her image a symbol of the nation at home and abroad.

Her personality remained a mystery to many of her subjects, but she was known for her devotion to duty, taking part in hundreds of public appearances each year.

Queen Elizabeth II, who ruled the UK for 70 years, dies at 96

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he would never forget the Queen’s “warmth and kindness”.

“At one of the meetings, she showed me the handkerchief that Mahatma Gandhi had given her at her wedding,” he said. “I will always cherish that gesture.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also said on Twitter that he would “remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres mourned her loss in a statement, saying she was a “reassuring presence through decades of profound change, including the decolonization of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth.”

The Commonwealth is a group of states that includes the United Kingdom and many of its former territories.

In a statement addressed to the new king, Charles III, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed “his deep and heartfelt condolences” on the Queen’s death.

“Her Majesty was an extraordinary and world-renowned public figure who lived a remarkable life. Her life and legacy will be fondly remembered by many around the world,” Ramaphosa said.

Dickie Arbiter, a former Queen’s press secretary, said her legacy would be one of “stability and continuity” and that Britain’s long-standing stewardship has given Britain a monarchy that is “world-renowned”.

Elizabeth served for 70 years and for most Britons she was the only monarch they ever knew.

Robert Hardman, author of “Queen of the World,” said she may be remembered in the pantheon of British monarchs as the first to turn around 1,000 years of accepted royal practice that a monarch’s job is to consolidate territory, conquer or expand.

In the Queen’s case, she came to the throne “with the specific expectation that she would return stuff, retreat and reduce Britain’s footprint,” Hardman said. “It’s been a lifelong exercise in managed decline.”

She presided over the dramatic fall of the British Empire and during her reign several countries removed the Queen as head of state. Others, such as Australia and Jamaica, actively debated replacing her as their sovereign.

Queen Elizabeth II: A Visual Timeline of Her 70 Years on the Throne

In Jamaica, a Commonwealth realm, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, said the country prayed for Elizabeth’s family “and the people of the United Kingdom as they mourn the loss of their beloved queen and matriarch.”

When Prince William and his wife Catherine visited Jamaica earlier this year, they encountered protests about the legacy of colonialism and called for reparations from Britain for its involvement in the slave trade.

Elizabeth was the first British sovereign to visit Australia, another Commonwealth realm where approximately 1 million people greeted her in Sydney on her first royal tour with Prince Philip in 1954.

“She celebrated our good times, she stood with us in the bad,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins also paid tribute to “her warm and enduring friendship” in a statement, describing her historic visit in 2011 as “key to laying a firm foundation for an authentic and ethical understanding among our peoples. “

Hugo Vickers, a royal biographer, said the Queen “infused an air of calm in a very rapidly changing world” and was an “extraordinary conciliator”.

Amanda Coletta contributed to reporting from Toronto.