Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at Balmoral Castle with her family by her side. She was aged 96 and took to the throne over 70 years ago. In 1952, she became sovereign to New Zealand, Canada and Australia when she took the throne in the United Kingdom.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has paid tribute to Britain’s longest-serving monarch. In a statement, she remembered Queen Elizabeth II as an ”extraordinary” and ”very human” monarch with ”courage, passion and humour.”
Ardern also told reporters in Wellington: ”Over her reign, she has come to define notions of service, charity and consistency and her role was without question and unwavering.”
A period of mourning has begun in New Zealand. It is understood a state memorial service will be held in New Zealand after the Queen’s funeral in the United Kingdom. Ardern is expected to attend the funeral. On Sunday, a proclamation ceremony will take place igniting King Charles III, who has become New Zealand’s head of state.
Condolences books are available around New Zealand for people who want to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after her death. Many libraries and councils are inviting New Zealanders to sign a message of condolence at their venues.
In Wellington, people can leave messages at Parliament where Ardern wrote: ”With our deepest gratitude for your love for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, and for your life of service.” She followed with the Māori words ”he kotuku rerenga tahi”.
Additionally, the National Library and Wellington Cathedral of St Paul have opened books. Meanwhile, all 56 council libraries and Auckland Town Hall are opened for New Zealanders to leave their messages. In Christchurch, flags have been lowered to half-mast where the Queen frequently visited during her reign. In addition, you can pay respect online with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lawmakers are expected to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at a sitting of parliament on Tuesday, September 13. It is understood that Auckland Tower Sky Tower will go completely dark tonight, September 9, as a tribute to the Queen.
News first broke that the monarch was under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, surrounded by family members, including Prince William and Harry, early on September 8.
The Queen took to the throne, succeeding her father King George IV, on February 6, 1952. She is the longest reigning monarch, has lived through WWII, reigned during the terms of 15 Prime Ministers, and was on the throne during the Covid-19 pandemic, which began in March 2020. Queen Elizabeth II came down with the virus in February this year, but recovered and resumed her duties after this, including being on hand to open the brand-new Elizabeth line in Paddington, London.
Earlier this year, the United Kingdom celebrated her Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne with an extended bank holiday weekend at the start of June.
Queen Elizabeth II, April 21, 1926 – September 8, 2022.
Edited by Jack Saddler & Megan Zara Walsh.