Touching tributes left outside Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor Castle

Thousands of people have left flowers and heartfelt notes for the Queen. Credit: PA

The gates of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Balmoral estate are lined with flowers, and earnest handwritten notes as Britain mourns the loss of its longest-reigning monarch.

Across the world, people are paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, described by Prime Minister Liz Truss yesterday as the "rock on which modern Britain was built".

Her death was announced at around 6.30pm yesterday, after having been put under medical supervision by doctors earlier in the day while staying at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Concerns for the 96-year-old monarch's health had been growing in recent weeks after she cancelled a number of key engagements.

But still nothing could prepare Britons for the end of her 70-year reign and the loss of such a unifying national symbol.

The Queen's death was compared to "losing the mother of the country", and thousands of mourners have gathered to say goodbye.

Yesterday mourners braved the heavy rain to pay their respects to the Queen outside Buckingham Palace, many of whom were overcome with emotion.

A tribute left outside Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland. Credit: PA
Floral tributes surround a wicker model corgi left at the gates of Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA
A Paddington bear soft toy and a card lay outside Buckingham Palace Credit: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

One man who made the journey to the Palace told ITV News he was "just heartbroken" at the Queen's death.

"We've lost the mother of the country, haven't we? Devastated. That's all I can say," he added.

Many events, from football matches to awards ceremonies, have been cancelled this weekend while the nation begins its period of mourning.

Shops, offices and tourists attractions have also closed their doors, with many more expected to shut for the Queen's funeral - expected to be held on September 19.

A tribute left outside Balmoral reads: "A mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, our Queen. Your job here is done - rest easy." Credit: PA
The Queen oversaw Britain's transition from a colonial power to a modern multi-cultural nation. Credit: PA
One of many tributes left for the Queen outside Buckingham Palace. Credit: PA

One note left outside Buckingham Palace read: "I am proud to move to England and work for your empire. We all love you and we will miss you."

Britain's colonial legacy has been an uncomfortable topic for the Royal family in more recent times. But this note demonstrates not only the length of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, but also how she oversaw Britain's transition from a colonial power to a modern multicultural nation.

Another note reads: "Thank you for welcoming me to your Kingdom and providing comfort and stability to my family during our most challenging times.

"Thank you for the tireless service until your last day. Rest in peace Your Majesty - the world's greatest Queen."

A touching tribute left outside the Queen's Balmoral estate reads: "A mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, our Queen.

"Your job here is done. Rest easy."

Queen Elizabeth II's death has been compared to "losing the mother of the country". Credit: PA
"Thank you for welcoming me to your kingdom and providing comfort and stability to my family during our most challenging times" Credit: PA
"We are here today because you gave so much to all of us. Thank you for every memory." Credit: PA

Britain may take some time to process the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, but her successor King Charles III was warmly received after arriving at Buckingham Palace with his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort.

The 73-year-old head of state even received a kiss from one member of the public, and there was an impromptu rendition of the national anthem from the crowd.

This evening he addressed the nation for the first time as monarch, pledging to serve the nation with loyalty, respect and love.

He ended his speech by saying: “To my darling mama as you begin your last journey to meet our late papa … I want simply to say, thank you. May flights of angels sing you to rest.”

A tribute left outside Windsor Castle for the Queen. Credit: PA
A note at Balmoral reads: "You carried out your vow of duty and service to the end - what a remarkable Queen - you will be sorely missed." Credit: PA
People of all ages have been paying respects to the Queen outside Windsor Castle Credit: PA

Will there be a national holiday declared after the Queen's death?

Once the date of the Queen's funeral is confirmed, schools could close if a public holiday is declared.

The government has the power to declare that the funeral day will be a public holiday in the form of a Day of National Mourning.

No statement on the matter has been issued at this stage.

The Queen's state funeral is expected to take place at Westminster Abbey in London, potentially on Monday, 19 September, concluding the 11 days of official national mourning.

However an exact funeral date has yet to be confirmed by Buckingham Palace.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To know...