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Boris Johnson and Liz Truss pay tribute as Britain mourns – follow live

Related video: Queen mourns her late husband, Prince Philip, in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in April 2021

Liz Truss, Sir Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson have all paid heartfelt tributes as Britain was plunged into mourning over the death of the Queen, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, who has died at the age of 96.

She reigned for almost seven decades between 1952 and 2022, overseeing huge political and cultural changes in the national life, from the end of the era of colonial rule to Brexit.

Her son, the Prince of Wales, automatically succeeds her as King Charles III, taking her place in ruling over the UK and more than a dozen Commonwealth nations, a role for which he has spent a lifetime in preparation.

Liz Truss, who became prime minister after an audience with the Queen at Balmoral on Tuesday, hailed the “rock of modern Britain” in a speech in Downing Street four hours after the death.

Former prime ministers, other political party leaders, heads of state and celebrities all joined in paying lavish tribute to the Queen.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the nation mourned the passing of “a remarkable sovereign” and that King Charles III would uphold her values.

Earlier on Thursday, the Queen’s children and grandchildren headed to Balmoral, her home in the Scottish Highlands, to be at her side.

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Rail and postal strikes called off as mourning begins

Planned strikes by Britain’s rail and postal workers have been called off as a result of the Queen’s death.

Union bosses paid tribute to the longest-reigning sovereign.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union had been due to walk out on 15 and 17 September.

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White House lowers flag to half staff

The White House lowers flag to half staff

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Ex-footballer prompts outrage asking why BAME people ‘should mourn’

A former England footballer has prompted uproar by questioning why BAME people should mourn.

Trevor Sinclair, who now works for TalkSport, tweeted: “Racism was outlawed in England in the 60’s & its been allowed to thrive so why should black & brown mourn!!”

Among the thousands of people responding, John Sinclair replied: “Trev, I’m black and I can’t believe my eyes when you said this and I mean THIS on a tweet. I’m absolutely disgusted with this & I expected better!!! Shame on you Trev & and I hope this poor tweet has cost your job as a pundit.”

Other users said it was a “disgraceful” comment and advised him to delete it.

In 2020, Trevor Sinclair wrote: “Our Queen looked so fragile when addressing the nation earlier but was so genuine with humility, her majesty still inspired.”

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Thousands mourn at palace

Thousands of mourners remained outside Buckingham Palace after darkness fell.

Some sang the national athem, and the Union flag on the palace was lowered to half-mast.

Black cab drivers lined up their vehicles in The Mall.

(REUTERS)

Britain Queen Elizabeth II

(AP)

(PA)

(Getty Images)

(Getty)

(REUTERS)

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Saddest day, says Boris Johnson, as former prime ministers pay tribute

Britain is enduring its “saddest day” following the death of “Elizabeth the Great”, Boris Johnson has said.

He was among the six living former prime ministers of Elizabeth’s reign to pay tribute, only two days after he met the monarch at Balmoral to resign from office.

He insisted the Queen spread “magic around her kingdom” for an “unrivalled” 70 years and she possessed a “simple power to make us happy”.

Mr Johnson said: “This is our country’s saddest day. In the hearts of every one of us there is an ache at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss – far more intense, perhaps, than we expected.

“In these first grim moments since the news, I know that millions and millions of people have been pausing whatever they have been doing, to think about Queen Elizabeth, about the bright and shining light that has finally gone out.

“She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I am afraid we had come to believe, like children, that she would just go on and on.

“Wave after wave of grief is rolling across the world, from Balmoral – where our thoughts are with all the Royal Family – and breaking far beyond this country and throughout that great Commonwealth of nations that she so cherished and which cherished her in return.

“As is so natural with human beings, it is only when we face the reality of our loss that we truly understand what has gone. It is only really now that we grasp how much she meant for us, how much she did for us, how much she loved us.

“As we think of the void she leaves, we understand the vital role she played, selflessly and calmly embodying the continuity and unity of our country.”

Mr Johnson praised the Queen‘s “deep wisdom” and her “seemingly inexhaustible but understated sense of duty”.

He added: “This is our country’s saddest day because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy. That is why we loved her. That is why we grieve for Elizabeth the Great, the longest-serving and in many ways the finest monarch in our history.”

Mr Johnson said he believes the new King will “amply do justice to her legacy”.

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No government policy news during 10 days of official mourning

Ms Truss was informed of the Queen’s death at 4.30pm by the Cabinet secretary while working in No 10, Downing Street has revealed.

She personally wrote the statement that she made outside No 10 shortly after 7pm.

The PM then spoke by phone with King Charles III after her statement in the street, and very soon she will chair a ministerial meeting with heads of departments most closely involved in the period of mourning, such as the Ministry of Defence, Home Office and leader of the Commons, as well as operational police leaders and members of the royal household.

The 10-day official period of mourning will begin tomorrow, Friday.

During the period of mourning there will be no government policy announcements or speeches, but the day-to-day business of government will continue.

Ms Truss is expected to lead tributes in the Commons tomorrow, if confirmed by the Speaker.

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What is a state funeral and who has had one in the UK?

Unlike Prince Philip, who had a royal ceremonial funeral, the Queen will have a state funeral, which is usually reserved for the sovereign.

But what exactly is a state funeral and who else has had one? Here’s everything you need to know.

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Enormous moment in British history, says emotional Sir John Major

Sir John Major choked back the tears as he paid tribute to the Queen.

“It is heartbreaking news – it’s news that one day we knew we’d have but we always hoped it would be delayed,” he told the BBC, adding: “This is an enormous change for the country and it’s a very big moment in history, a key, pivotal moment. And I think there will be many tears shed tonight and over the next few days.”

(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Tributes pour in from stars of screen, stage sport and TV

Celebrities from the worlds of the arts and sport are among those paying tribute to her majesty.

Apple chief Tim Cook said: “There is nothing more noble than to devote your life to the service of others,” while Piers Morgan remembered her as “dignified, humble, wise, stoic, and dedicated to duty”.

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Barack Obama and Michelle ‘grateful to have witnessed’ Queen’s reign

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle said they were grateful to have witnessed the reign of one of the world’s longest-serving monarchs.

“We are awed by her legacy of tireless, dignified public service,” said the former president.

“Michelle and I were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us,” he went on, adding that “she welcomed us to the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity”.

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