World mourns 'timeless' Queen Elizabeth II

By: AFP
Published: 07:19 PM, 9 Sep, 2022
World mourns 'timeless' Queen Elizabeth II
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Leaders from across the globe on Friday united in homage to Queen Elizabeth II, after the world's longest-serving monarch died at her Scottish home at age 96.

The tributes came from all over -- from countries she had ruled over to those Britain had been at war with, from tiny territories to the mightiest governments on the planet, and from centuries-old institutions to nations born during her reign.

Here are some of the accolades to Queen Elizabeth, who reigned since 1952 and was also head of state in 14 Commonwealth countries.

- 'Timeless decency' -

Global tributes were led by the Commonwealth, the association of countries that were previously part of the British empire, as well as its remaining overseas territories.

South Asia, where Britain was the colonial power until just before Elizabeth's reign began, paved the way. India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "pained" by her death.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa described how he and the queen had reminisced together about Nelson Mandela, who had been on rare first-name terms with the queen, according to the late anti-apartheid hero's foundation.

Kenya's president-elect William Ruto hailed her "admirable" leadership of the Commonwealth.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paid tribute to her "timeless decency" and said her death marked the "end of an era."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Elizabeth, who was Canada's head of state, was a "constant presence in our lives -- and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country's history."

The smallest Commonwealth members also paid tribute, with David Burt, premier of British territory Bermuda, hailing her "life of undimmed duty".

- 'Unmatched dignity' -

US President Joe Biden ordered flags at the White House and government buildings flown at half-mast in her honour.

"Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States. She helped make our relationship special," he said.

- 'Symbol of reconciliation' -

Others who have taken a less friendly view of Britain also sent tributes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to King Charles III -- despite Britain joining the West in imposing sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

"For many decades Elizabeth II rightfully enjoyed her subjects' love and respect as well as authority on the world stage," Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement.

Although "Russians respected her for her wisdom," Putin's attendance at the Queen's funeral "is not being considered," a Kremlin spokesman said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered his "sincere sympathies to the British government and people".

Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, which in the queen's lifetime went from Britain's greatest enemy to a powerful ally, said "her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten".

"She played a significant role in creating world peace and prosperity," echoed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Argentina -- which fought and lost a bitter war with Britain over the Falkland Islands in 1982 -- expressed its "regret" over Elizabeth's passing.

- 'Grace, dignity, and dedication' -

The UN Security Council held a minute of silence. Queen Elizabeth "was a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

- Pope prays -

Pope Francis said he was "deeply saddened" and would pray for the late queen and King Charles.

- 'Elizabeth the Steadfast' -

EU leaders expressed regret at the death of the queen, who was Britain's head of state throughout its entire EU membership and eventual departure.

"Once called 'Elizabeth the Steadfast', she never failed to show us the importance of lasting values in a modern world," said EU council president Charles Michel.

- Fellow monarchs -

Philippe, king of the Belgians, who has a close family link to the British aristocracy, hailed the queen as "an extraordinary personality".

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden called her "a good friend of my family" and Denmark's Queen Margrethe II scrapped some events to mark her jubilee following the death of her third cousin.

Spanish King Felipe VI said she was "one of the best queens of all time" and Morocco's King Mohammed VI said he had lost a "great and special friend who was deeply respected".

Japan's Emperor Naruhito hailed Elizabeth's "many achievements and contributions", saying he felt "deep sorrow" at news of her death, and Saudi King Salman noted that "Her Majesty was a model of leadership that will be immortalized in... history".

- 'Remarkable friend' -

Ireland's President Michael Higgins called Queen Elizabeth II "a remarkable friend" who had a "great impact on the bonds of mutual understanding between our two peoples".

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon, who supports independence from the rest of Britain, called her death "a profoundly sad moment for the UK, the Commonwealth and the world".

French President Emmanuel Macron said "we all feel an emptiness."

"To you, she was your Queen. To us, she was the Queen," he said.

The queen had visited France more than any other European country, and spoke French.

- Queen 'to all of us' -

Even far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, which does not have particularly close ties to Britain, paid homage.

Bolsonaro, seeking re-election next month, declared three days of national mourning and called Elizabeth "a queen not just to Britons, but to all of us".

Categories : World
AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.