Tributes flowed in from every corner of the United Kingdom and the world to express their deep sadness at the death this evening of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth IIwrites Maggie Pagano.

The Queen died with her family around her at Balmoral Castle. All four of her children had flown from around the country to be with her during her final hours at the royal estate near Aberdeen. 

Her grandson, Prince William, was there too. Prince Harry arrived shortly after her death.

Coming to the throne when she was just 25 years-old, the Queen has had the most astonishing 70-year reign: she was the world’s oldest reigning monarch, the longest reigning British monarch and only the second longest sovereign in the world. 

Her heir, Prince Charles, will be formally proclaimed as the new king at St James’s Palace tomorrow, which is when his formal title will also be announced. He will reign as King Charles III.

It was clear from early this morning that the Queen was in a critical condition after Buckingham Palace put out a statement saying that “the Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.” The palace does not usually run commentaries on the health of the Queen which is viewed as private. 

As the Queen has passed away at Balmoral, the royal funeral plans will now follow an elaborate protocol of mourning in Scotland as well as England. According to Operation London Bridge, the intricate plan drawn up by the royal family together with the government, Her Majesty will be taken to rest at Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, where she will be guarded by the Royal Company of Archers.

The coffin will then be carried up the Royal Mile to St Giles’s cathedral, for a service of reception, before being put on board the Royal Train at Waverley station for a slow journey down the east coast of the country. 

The Queen will then be moved to the throne room in Buckingham Palace, which overlooks the north-west corner of the Quadrangle, its interior courtyard. In the room there will be an altar, the royal standard, and four Grenadier Guards, with their rifles pointing to the floor, will stand guard. 

Following a period of lying in state at Westminster Abbey, giving the public the chance to pay their respects, the Queen will then have a state funeral at Westminster Abbey, the first such funeral since the death of Sir Winston Churchill.

Whatever your view of the royal institution, the Queen’s death is one of those moments that really does take your breath away in sadness for her family but also in awe of the extraordinary lifetime of service that she devoted to our country. She was the glue that binds the kingdom together.