‘She was extraordinary’: Reactions to death of Queen Elizabeth II

The queen spent more than seven decades on the throne as the United Kingdom recovered from World War II.

Queen Elizabeth II
The UK's Queen Elizabeth II during Jubilee celebrations in London [File: Alastair Grant Pool via AP]

Tributes have been pouring in from around the world after Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-reigning monarch and the United Kingdom’s figurehead for seven decades, had died at the age of 96.

The queen’s reign, which began in 1952, was seen as bringing stability and continuity to the UK through the many changes of the last half of the 20th and into the 21st century.

The Palace said she died at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, where members of the British royal family had rushed to her side after her health took a turn for the worse.

Here are some of the reactions from across the world:

British Prime Minister Liz Truss

“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.”

US President Joe Biden

“She defined an era. 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.

“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.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping

“Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to visit China. Her death is a great loss to the British people.

“I attach great importance to the development of Sino-British relations and am ready to work with King Charles III to take the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level as an opportunity to promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.”

French President Emmanuel Macron

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years. I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

“As the United Kingdom’s longest-lived and longest-reigning Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II was widely admired for her grace, dignity, and dedication around the world. She was a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonization of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth.

“Queen Elizabeth II was a good friend of the United Nations, and visited our New York Headquarters twice, more than fifty years apart. She was deeply committed to many charitable and environmental causes and spoke movingly to delegates at the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow.

“I would like to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II for her unwavering, lifelong dedication to serving her people. The world will long remember her devotion and leadership.”

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani

“Sincere condolences to the British royal family and its people on the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, with whose passing the world lost a great human symbol.

“She was a source of inspiration and nobility and had solid and constructive relations with Qatar that strengthened the bonds of friendship and partnership between our two peoples.:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a stalwart of our times. She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people. She personified dignity and decency in public life. Pained by her demise. My thoughts are with her family and people of UK in this sad hour.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

“Deeply grieved at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Pakistan joins the UK & other Commonwealth nations in mourning her death. My heartfelt condolences to the royal family, people & government of the UK.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

“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.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

“As we grieve together, we know that, in losing our beloved Queen, we have lost the person whose steadfast loyalty, service and humility has helped us make sense of who we are through decades of extraordinary change in our world, nation and society.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II

“Jordan mourns the passing of an iconic leader. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a beacon of wisdom and principled leadership for seven decades. She was a partner for Jordan and a dear family friend. We stand with the people and leadership of the UK at this difficult time.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

“It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of the UA people, we extend sincere condolences to the @RoyalFamily, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

European Council President Charles Michel

“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.”

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland

“Her Majesty loved the Commonwealth, and the Commonwealth loved her. During her reign she travelled more than any monarch in history, visiting every part of our family of nations.

“The growth and vibrancy of our modern Commonwealth is a credit to her and testament to her dedication, wisdom and leadership.”

Pope Francis

“I willingly join all who mourn her loss in praying for the late Queen’s eternal rest, and in paying tribute to her life of unstinting service to the good of the Nation and the Commonwealth.”

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

“Queen Elizabeth was a major player in world history over the last seventy years. She represented the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with balance, wisdom, respect for institutions and democracy. She has been the most beloved symbol of her country and has garnered respect, affection and warm feelings everywhere.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Queen Elizabeth II “rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as authority on the world stage.

“I wish you courage and resilience in the face of this difficult, irreparable loss. May I ask you to pass on sincere condolences and support to members of the royal family and the entire people of Great Britain.”

Queen Elizabeth the second and then-prince of Wales with Commonwealth leaders
The UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the then-Prince of Wales, now King Charles III, pose for a formal photograph with leaders of the other Allied Nations before an event commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day, in Portsmouth, England, June 5, 2019 [File: Jack Hill/Pool via AP]

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese

“With the passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second, an historic reign and a long life devoted to duty, family, faith and service has come to an end.

“Australian hearts go out to the people of the United Kingdom who mourn today, knowing they will feel they have lost part of what makes their nation whole. There is comfort to be found in Her Majesty’s own words: ‘Grief is the price we pay for love’.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

“We mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II. She was a role model and inspiration for millions, also here in Germany. Her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten. She will be missed, not least her wonderful humour.”

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin

“On behalf of the Government of Ireland, I would like to convey my deepest sympathy to the British people on the loss of their beloved monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.”

“Her State Visit to Ireland in 2011 marked a crucial step in the normalisation of relations with our nearest neighbour. That visit was a great success, largely because of the many gracious gestures and warm remarks made by the Queen.”

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo

“The Ghanaian people have very fond memories of the two visits she made to Ghana during her reign, and, on both occasions, we remember the friendliness, elegance, style and sheer joy she brought to the performance of her duties.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her country offered its “deepest sympathy to members of the Royal Family at the passing of the Queen”.

“To us, she was a much admired and respected monarch, to them she was a mother and grandmother,” Ardern said in a statement.

“The Queen was a much loved and admired monarch, whose record reign of 70 years is an absolute testament to her, and her commitment to us all. She was extraordinary.”

Former US President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump

“Queen Elizabeth’s historic and remarkable reign 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.”

Former US President Barack Obama

“Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us.”

“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.”

Barack and Michelle Obama standing with the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in 2009
The Obamas, shown meeting the queen in 2009, paid tribute to her “warmth” and the “considerable humor and charm” she brought to moments of pomp and circumstance [File: John Stillwell/Pool via Reuters]

Former US President George W Bush

“Laura and I were honored to have known Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was a woman of great intellect, charm, and wit. Spending time at Buckingham Palace, and having tea with Her Majesty – and her Corgis – is among our fondest memories of the presidency.

“Queen Elizabeth ably led England through dark moments with her confidence in her people and her vision for a brighter tomorrow. Our world benefitted from her steady resolve, and we are grateful for her decades of service as sovereign. Americans in particular appreciate her strong and steadfast friendship.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

“Her majesty was a role model for leadership that will be immortalised in history.”

Iraqi President Barham Salih

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II. I extend profound condolences to the royal family and to the people of the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth will be remembered as a great icon of history who served with grace, dignity and fortitude.”

UAE’S President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan

“Her Majesty was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved & respected leader whose long reign was characterised by dignity, compassion & a tireless commitment to serving her country.”

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

“Queen Elizabeth … played an extremely important role in the peace and prosperity of the world. In 1975, she visited Japan and contributed greatly to the strengthening of Japan-Britain relations.

“(Her death) is a great loss not only to the British people but also to the international community.”

The queen in a peach coloured gown welcomes Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and his wife Ho Ching to Buckingham Palace in 2018
Queen Elizabeth greets Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and his wife Ho Ching, in the Blue Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace at a dinner for the Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2018 [File: Victoria Jones/Pool via Reuters]

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen

“Taiwan and the United Kingdom are united in their gratitude for the Queen’s lifelong contribution to world peace and prosperity; Taiwan will also work with the United Kingdom to continue to work hard for common ideals and values.”

Singapore Prime Minister  Lee Hsien Loong

“She performed her duties with devotion, grace, and humility. Her contributions to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and indeed to the world will be recorded in history, and she will always be remembered fondly as a great world leader.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol

“Deepest condolences to the people of the United Kingdom for the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She had a strong belief in the cause of human freedom and left great legacies of dignity. Her kind heart and good deed(s) will remain in our memory.”

Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo

“I send heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, the British people and the Commonwealth on the physical passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who honored Panama on a historic State Visit six decades ago. Peace to her soul.”

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her leadership will remain a legacy for humanity. We express our deepest condolences to the royal family and the British people.”

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo

“On behalf of the Peruvian people, we express our condolences to the royal family and the entire United Kingdom on the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of England, the British monarch. Her legacy of service and leadership will live on in history.”

Venezeulan President Nicolas Maduro

“The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II of England, British monarch. We express our condolences to the royal family, to the United Kingdom and to the British people. Peace to her Soul!”.

The Queen poses with with the Royal fathers of Nigeria during a reception in Abuja in 2003
Queen Elizabeth II poses for pictures with the Royal fathers of Nigeria during a reception in Abuja in 2003. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said she dedicated her life to making the entire world a better place [File: Russell Boyce/Reuters]

Barbados President Sandra Mason

“Just under one year ago Barbados took the decision to complete the course of independence by breaking constitutional ties with the British monarchy and establishing the world’s newest republic. Significant as that decision was, given the place Barbados has held in the British Empire for centuries, it did not in the least diminish the friendship between our two nations, or indeed with Buckingham Palace.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

“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. The Queen’s commitment and dedication during her 70 years on the throne remains a noble and virtuous example to the entire world.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Bahari

“The story of modern Nigeria will never be complete without a chapter on Queen Elizabeth ll, a towering global personality and an outstanding leader. She dedicated her life to making her nation, the Commonwealth and the entire world a better place.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

“On behalf of the Government and people of Ethiopia, I extend deepest condolences to the British Royal Family, the Government and the people of Great Britain on the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies