U.S. President Joe Biden led tributes to the “incomparable” Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday aged 96.
The British monarch died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland Thursday, Buckingham Palace announced. Her eldest son Charles is now king.
Tributes to the late ruler came in from leaders around the world.
Biden — the 14th U.S. president Elizabeth II would meet — described the queen in a statement as a “steadying presence” who “defined an era” full of unprecedented human advancement. He said she was “the first British monarch to whom people all around the world could feel a personal and immediate connection.”
“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,” he said. The queen’s legacy would, Biden added, “loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.”
French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the queen as a figure who “embodied the British nation’s continuity and unity” during her reign.
“I remember her as a friend of France, a kind-hearted queen who has left a lasting impression on her country and her century,” Macron said.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said she was “admired worldwide for her leadership & devotion.”
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau described the late ruler as a “constant presence in our lives” whose “service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the queen’s “empathy and ability to connect with every passing generation, while remaining rooted in the traditions that truly mattered to her, was an example of true leadership.”
The queen was the first reigning sovereign to visit Australia when she did so in 1954. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese — a republican — said the queen was a “monarch who let her humanity show, performing her duty with fidelity, integrity and humor.”
The queen made an historic state visit to the Republic of Ireland in 2011 that represented the first by a monarch since 1911, when the entire island of Ireland was still part of the United Kingdom. Ireland’s head of state, Michael D. Higgins, paid tribute to the queen and said her visit was “pivotal” in improving understanding between Britain and Ireland.
“During those memorable few days eleven years ago, the queen did not shy away from the shadows of the past. Her moving words and gestures of respect were deeply appreciated and admired by the people of Ireland,” Higgins said.
Northern Irish First Minister-designate Michelle O’Neill — of the Irish republican Sinn Féin — said she was grateful for Queen Elizabeth II’s contribution toward Northern Ireland’s peace process in the 1990s.
“Throughout the peace process she led by example in building relationships with those of us who are Irish, and who share a different political allegiance and aspirations to herself and her government,” O’Neill tweeted.
Indian leader Narendra Modi, who described the queen as a “stalwart of our times,” said that he cherished one particular meeting with the monarch.
“During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture,” Modi said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his “sincere condolences” to the royal family, U.K. and Commonwealth.