The precise time of Queen Elizabeth II's death is unknown, but those close to her were expecting the worst.
Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at her Scottish castle of Balmoral after what appears to be a deterioration in her health, so rapid that two of her sons and her grandson William were unlikely to arrive in time. at his bedside.
It was 12:32 p.m. in London when Buckingham Palace's first brief but alarming statement told the world of the concern of doctors at the queen, concerned about her health.
In private, however, those closest to the queen have been expecting the worst for several hours already, the British press reported on Friday. The sovereign had to cancel a meeting by videoconference the previous evening and, as of 9 a.m., the doctors knew that she had only a few hours left to live, assures the >Sun, when the Daily Mail reported a turn for the worse early Thursday morning.
Those closest to him make urgent arrangements to travel to the Scottish highlands. First, the heir Charles and his wife Camilla who, according to the press, leave Dumfries House, in the south of Scotland, at the end of the morning on board the royal helicopter. At Balmoral, they reunite with Charles' sister, Anne.
The precise time of the queen's death, which occurred in the afternoon, is unknown, according to Buckingham. Prime Minister Liz Truss, officially appointed by the sovereign at Balmoral on Tuesday, is informed around 4:30 p.m. local time, according to her services, two hours before the official announcement.
If it is therefore probable that Charles and Anne were able to attend the last moments of the sovereign, this is probably not the case of her two other sons, Andrew and Edward, and of Prince William. Arrived in Scotland in a Royal Air Force jet, they did not pass the gates of the castle, faces closed, until after 5 p.m.
Prince Harry, at odds with the royal family, arrives later, alone, when the news has already gone around the world. He is also departing separately on Friday morning, on a scheduled British Airways flight.
Just six hours separated the first palace statement from the official announcement of the death of ;Elisabeth II, whose causes have not been revealed.
The 96-year-old sovereign's health had been declining visibly since months, in particular since the death of her husband Philippe in April 2021. She had spent a night in the hospital last October for examinations, the nature of which has never been communicated. The palace has since reported mobility issues.
In the latest photos of Elizabeth II at Balmoral, taken on Tuesday, the appearance of her right hand, bluish , raised questions. She appeared there smiling, standing, but more frail than ever.