World leaders pay tribute to The Queen as a 'chapter of history closes'

Leaders from across the world have been paying their respects to the Queen hailing her sense of duty and friendship - Robert Moore reports

World leaders have been paying tribute to The Queen after her death aged 96, describing her as an era-defining monarch and "extraordinary" public figure.

On the other side of the world, millions awoke to the news that the monarch had died while they were sleeping.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand's prime minister, said she first learned of Her Majesty's death when she awoken by a police officer shining a torch into her bedroom just before 5am. "I had a police officer shine a torch into my room at about 4.50am this morning. When that torch light came into my room I knew immediately what it meant," Ms Ardern said.

She added that the Queen was an "extraordinary" individual.

"Young or old, there is no doubt that a chapter is closing today, and with that we share our thanks for an incredible woman who we were lucky enough to call our Queen."

Adding to the tributes overnight, Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said that many people had never known a world without The Queen, who was monarch for over seven decades.

Following The Queen's death, her eldest son Charles became monarch, and the head of state of 14 other realms, including Australia, New Zealand, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

"Through the noise and tumult of the years, she embodied and exhibited a timeless decency and an enduring calm," Mr Albanese said of the Queen.

"She celebrated our good times, she stood with us in the bad. Happy and glorious, but steadfast too."

The Queen receiving flowers from members of the crowd in Central Park, Bourke, Australia, in 2000. Credit: PA

South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol tweeted his condolences on the death of The Queen, writing that her kind heart and good deeds will remain in people's memories. “She had a strong belief in the cause of human freedom and left great legacies of dignity,” he said.

Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida also expressed his sorrow at the news of The Queen's death, saying it was a "great loss" to the whole "international community".

On Friday, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. expressed his profound sadness, saying Her Majesty “exemplified to the world a true monarch’s great dignity, commitment to duty, and devotion to all those in her realm.”

“We, together with many Filipinos living and working in England, though not subjects of the Queen, have found ourselves having developed a great sense of affection for her as a Queen, as mother, and as a grandmother,” Marcos Jr. said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“The world has lost a true figure of majesty in what she demonstrated throughout her life and throughout her reign as Queen.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping also gave his condolences to the British royal family over the death of The Queen. He noted in the statement on Friday that she was the first British monarch to visit China, which she did in 1986.

“Her death is a great loss to the British people.”

Xi Jinping with Queen Elizabeth II during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in 2015. Credit: AP

Statements carried early on Friday in Saudi Arabia state media quoted King Salman as saying that The Queen was “a model of leadership that will be immortalized in the history.” He added: “We recall with appreciation the efforts of the deceased in consolidating the friendship and cooperation relations between our two friendly countries, as well as the high international status that Her Majesty enjoyed throughout the decades during which she acceded to the throne of your friendly country.”

Tributes to The Queen had also poured in on Thursday after she died peacefully at Balmoral, describing her as “kind-hearted” and with a “wisdom, compassion, and warmth” to be cherished.

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US president Joe Biden and his wife Jill said in a statement that “Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy” who “helped make our relationship special”.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday that he plans to attend the Queen's funeral.

Speaking to the press in Ohio, as he boarded Air Force One to return to the White House, Biden said, "I don't know what the details are yet, but I will be going."

Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement the queen’s “legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world.”

Every living former U.S. president - Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump - joined Biden in mourning her passing and sending condolences to her family.French president Emmanuel Macron described her as “a friend of France” in his tribute on Twitter.

"To you, she was your Queen. To us, she was The Queen. She will be with all of us forever," he said.

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau described the Queen as “a constant presence in our lives”.

Ukraine's president Volodomyr Zelenskyy also issued a tribute to the Queen, as he continues to lead his country in the battle against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion.

He wrote on Twitter: "It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On behalf of the people, we extend sincere condolences to the Royal Family, the entire United Kingdom and the Commonwealth over this irreparable loss.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you."

Putin also wrote to Charles, offering "sincere sympathy" following his mother's death.

The Russian leader wrote: "The most important events in the recent history of the United Kingdom are inextricably linked with the name of Her Majesty.

"For many decades, Elizabeth II rightfully enjoyed the love and respect of her subjects, as well as authority on the world stage."

Listen to reaction and extended news coverage following the Queen's death at 96