People worldwide mourn the death of Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. A look at her life, funeral plans and the future under Charles (and his new title) as he inherits the throne. Plus, what changes now that the queen is gone?
👑 Laura Davis here. We’re taking a look at the news from the United Kingdom today in this special edition of The Short List.
But first, is there life out there? Scientists discovered two “super-Earths” orbiting the same star, 100 light-years away. Even though it has longer days than Earth, one of them could be suitable for life.
The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.
Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96
The queen, a much-beloved symbol of stability in a turbulent era that saw the decline of the British empire and embarrassing dysfunction in her own family, has died after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. Elizabeth died peacefully Thursday afternoon at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. All four of her children and other members of her family traveled there to be at her side after her health took a turn for the worse. Read her obituary.
📸 A country united in sorrow: Britain mourns the queen’s death.
🌈 A rainbow appeared over Buckingham Palace after the flag was lowered to half-staff. The BBC played the national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” over a portrait of Elizabeth in full regalia as the second Elizabethan age came to a close.
In her unprecedented 70 years on the throne, Elizabeth guided the monarchy as the U.K. rebuilt from war, lost an empire, transformed its economy and endured a pandemic. She likely met more people than anyone in history, and her image, which adorned stamps, coins and bank notes, was among the most reproduced in the world.
A royal love story: Elizabeth was married to Prince Philip for more than 70 years before he died on April 9, 2021, at 99 years old. She famously described him as her “strength and stay” at the couple’s golden wedding anniversary in 1997. The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. A look back at their lives together.
Death mourned around the world
Condolences are pouring in from those united in sorrow all around the globe, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff. The world reacts.
- Prince Charles: The death of his mother “is a moment of the greatest sadness” for him and his family. “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
- President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden: More than a monarch, the queen “was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” the Bidens said. “She helped make our relationship special.”
- Sir Elton John, knighted by the queen: “She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth. Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.”
👉‘She defined an era’: Biden, past presidents mourn Britain’s queen.
A funeral fit for a queen
Operation London Bridge is underway. Because British monarchs typically die in office, plans for a suitably grand funeral happen far in advance. Plans for Elizabeth’s funeral, which have been in place since the 1960s, include a blend of ancient tradition and modern practicalities, featuring tolling bells, half-staff flags and social media accounts gone dark. More plans for the queen’s funeral (and why it’s called Operation London Bridge).
Charles ascends to the throne
Appointed by the queen just two days ago, Prime Minister Liz Truss said the country was “devastated” by the monarch’s death. “She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure,” Truss said, ending on words no British leader has said for 70 years: “God save the king.”
Charles has been preparing to be king his entire life. Now the moment has arrived. After his mother died, he automatically became king and will be known as King Charles III. Charles’ second wife, Camilla, will be known as the Queen Consort. No date has been set for his coronation. The ascension of Charles to the British throne promises to have a seismic effect on the roles of other royals orbiting the crown. The looming question: What happens to the other royals under a new slimmed-down monarchy?
Who is next in line for the crown? After Charles, the line of succession turns to his older son, Prince William, followed by William and Kate’s children. See the British royal family tree.
In other news
Mourning and anger enveloped Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday as police searched for a motive after a gunman’s daylong, livestreamed shooting spree that left four people dead and three people wounded. The crime scenes included seven shooting locations around Memphis as well as a carjacking in nearby Mississippi, police said. Keep reading.
An elected official was arrested on suspicion of murder in the death of Las Vegas Review-Journal investigative reporter Jeff German, who was found stabbed to death on Saturday. Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles had been the subject of a series of high-profile stories by the slain journalist. Keep reading.
Steve Bannon, an adviser to former President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Thursday to new criminal charges involving an alleged scheme of duping donors for contributions to a border wall fundraiser. Keep reading.
The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.
A break from the news
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send her an email at email@example.com or follow along with her adventures – and misadventures – on Twitter. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Subscribe to the newsletter here or text messages here.