Queen Elizabeth II 'led always with grace': world leaders pay tribute to monarch

British monarch hailed as a beacon of reassurance during seven-decade reign

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Queen Elizabeth II dies - follow the latest news as the world mourns

World leaders have praised Queen Elizabeth II for her dignity and sense of duty in messages of condolence to the British royal family after the monarch's death on Thursday.

Many also referred to her 70-year reign as a reassuring constant through decades of change and global turmoil.

Buckingham Palace announced the queen's death at Balmoral in Scotland. She was 96.

"In a world of constant change she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her," US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden said in a message of condolence.

"Supported by her beloved Prince Philip for 73 years, Queen Elizabeth II led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example," they said.

"Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the queen as a "constant presence in our lives".

"As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion and warmth," he said on Twitter.

Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty's wisdom, compassion and warmth
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

French President Emmanuel Macron said the queen "embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity for over 70 years".

"I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century," he said.

Queen Elizabeth was "admired worldwide for her leadership and devotion", UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

"She was a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonisation of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth."

President Sheikh Mohamed said Queen Elizabeth "was a close friend of the UAE and a beloved and respected leader whose long reign was characterised by dignity, compassion and a tireless commitment to serving her country".

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, who knew the Queen for many years, said she was a "global icon who represented the finest qualities of her nation and people".

King Abdullah II of Jordan ordered seven days of mourning for the British monarch, who he said was a "beacon of wisdom and principled leadership", as well as "a partner for Jordan and a dear family friend".

Iraqi President Barham Salih said the queen would be remembered "as a great icon of history who served with grace, dignity and fortitude".

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said "she provided inspiring leadership" to the UK and its people.

"She personified dignity and decency in public life," he said, describing the queen as "a stalwart of our times".

Former US president Barack Obama said he and his wife Michelle "were lucky enough to come to know Her Majesty, and she meant a great deal to us".

"Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease and how she brought her considerable humour and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance," he said.

US Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said: “For 70 long years, from the aftermath of the Second World War well into the 21st century, across 15 different prime ministers, through great triumphs and great challenges, the queen’s steady leadership safeguarded the land she loved.

"Despite spending nearly three quarters of a century as one of the most famous and admired individuals on the planet, the queen made sure her reign was never really about herself — not her fame, not her feelings, not her personal wants or needs.

"She guided venerable institutions through modern times using timeless virtues like duty, dignity, and sacrifice. She offered our contemporary world a living masterclass it needed badly."

President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana said his country's people had fond memories of her two visits to the country.

Queen Elizabeth first visited Ghana in 1961, four years after it gained independence from Britain.

"On both occasions, we remember the friendliness, elegance, style and sheer joy she brought to the performance of her duties," he said.

Updated: June 20, 2023, 8:49 AM