Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96.

The news was announced in a brief statement by Buckingham Palace today.

Our nation's longest-reigning monarch spent her final days at Balmoral, her beloved Scottish castle.

The announcement came hours after Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying the Queen's doctors were concerned for her health and that she was being kept under "medical supervision".

Following that news, close family members including Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward headed to Scotland on Thursday afternoon. They included Prince William and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Her death also came just days after she invited Liz Truss to form a government - which saw her become the 15th prime minister leader of the Queen's reign.

Flags will be flown at half mast as our country grieves for its much-loved Queen.

Elizabeth was the only monarch most Britons had ever known and our longest-reigning.

She acceded to the throne at the age of 25 after her father, King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham on February 6, 1952.

In her first Christmas speech that December, from her study at Sandringham, the young Queen pledged to dedicate herself to her country and Commonwealth.

"My father and my grandfather before him worked all their lives to unite our people ever more closely and to maintain its ideals which were so dear to their hearts," she said. "I shall strive to carry on their work."

Elizabeth was our nation's figurehead for almost eight decades, in a reign which began when television was still in its infancy and would go on to see the advent of technologies not even dreamed of when she took to the throne.

She was our rock through conflict and crisis, never flinching in her love for a nation and global power whose values she epitomised.

Born in Mayfair, London, on April 21, 1926, Princess Elizabeth was the first daughter of George VI and Queen Elizabeth. A sister, the late Princess Margaret, followed on August 21, 1930.

Elizabeth's father was second in line to the throne but became King after his older brother Edward VIII abdicated soon after acceding to the throne, after his proposed marriage to divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson sparked a constitutional crisis.

Broadcasting to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday in 1947, she said: "I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

In July of that year, her engagement was announced to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, who she had first met in her teens.

Philip had served a distinguished naval career during the Second World War, in which he had been mentioned in despatches and was present in Tokyo Bay when the Japanese surrendered on September 2, 1945.

The couple's wedding on November 20, 1947, was broadcast by radio around the world. Behind the pomp and splendour just over two years after the war ended, Elizabeth had saved ration coupons to buy material for her gown.

Their first child, Prince Charles, was born on November, 14, 1948. He was followed by Princess Anne on August 15, 1950, Prince Andrew on February 19, 1960 and Prince Edward on March 10, 1964.

After her coronation on June 2, 1953, the Queen and Prince Philip set off on a seven-month round-the-world tour of 13 countries.

She would go on to make hundreds of state visits, holding court with world leaders as well as humbler engagements closer to home, such as attending Women's Institute meetings at Sandringham.

Over the decades to come, the new medium of television would bring the nation closer than ever to its rulers. TV crews reported on tours and engagements, following the Queen to foreign lands as well as offering a glimpse into life behind the scenes for the Royal Family.

The weddings of Elizabeth's oldest three children were grand state occasions, beamed into millions of living rooms at home and abroad in the 1970s and 1980s.

But the lows that followed sparked a feeding frenzy as media dined out on affairs and divorces.

Perhaps the lowest point of all was the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris, on August 31, 1997, just over a year after her divorce from Prince Charles was finalised. The Queen paid tribute in a live TV broadcast.

Diana's sons Princes William and Harry would see interest in the Royal Family soar to new heights as they married and settled down with their wives Catherine Middleton and Meghan Markle.

Yet, as the Queen began to step down from her punishing schedule, ongoing rows between Harry, the Duke of Sussex, and his family would overshadow the twilight years of her reign.

Her husband, Prince Philip, passed away at the age of 99 on April 9, 2021.

In October of that year, there were concerns for the Queen's health and she was told to rest by her doctors after spending a night in hospital undergoing tests.

She was then under doctors’ orders to rest for the next three months, missing the 2021 Remembrance Sunday Cenotaph service and Cop26 climate change talks.

The Queen caught Covid in February, and suffered from mild cold-like symptoms, but said the virus left her “very tired and exhausted”.

Buckingham Palace has declined to give an ongoing commentary on the monarch’s health, but in recent months she has gradually withdrawn from public life.

During her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Queen only travelled to Buckingham Palace twice, first for her Trooping the Colour balcony appearance and then for a finale after the pageant.

She also missed the Braemar Gathering highland games last weekend, which she usually attends each year.