Queen Elizabeth II: World leaders remember a ‘kind-hearted Queen’


(BBC) – World leaders and dignitaries have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who has died at the age of 96.

They have honoured her deep sense of duty and her resilience, as well as the Queen’s sense of humour and kindness.

France’s Emmanuel Macron led the tributes, remembering “a kind-hearted queen” who was “a friend of France”.

And former US President Barack Obama said the Queen had “captivated the world” with a “reign defined by grace, elegance, and a tireless work ethic”.

“Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humour and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance,” Mr Obama, who met the Queen on several occasions, said in a statement.

Current US President Joe Biden described the Queen as “more than a monarch – she defined an era”.

Describing his visit to the UK in 2021 as president, Mr Biden said “she charmed us with her wit, moved us with her kindness, and generously shared with us her wisdom”.

Queen Elizabeth II met 14 US presidents during her reign.

The Queen during a dinner reception at the G7 summit in St Austell, Cornwall, Britain 11 June 2021
The Queen with Joe and Jill Biden last year at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Britain

Former US President Donald Trump said he will “never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humour”.

“What a grand and beautiful lady she was – there was nobody like her!” he wrote on his online platform, Truth Social.

The Queen also reigned during the leadership of 12 Canadian prime ministers. Speaking shortly after the news of her passing was announced, an emotional Justin Trudeau said she had “an obvious deep and abiding love for Canadians”.

“In a complicated world her steady grace and resolve brought comfort to us all,” Mr Trudeau continued, adding that he would miss their “chats” where she was “thoughtful, wise, curious, helpful, funny and so much more”.

“She was one of my favourite people in the world, and will miss her so,” he said, holding back tears.

Queen Elizabeth II receives Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an audience at Windsor Castle, on March 7, 2022 in Windsor, England
Her Majesty met Canada’s Justin Trudeau several times, including earlier this year at Windsor

‘An extraordinary personality’

King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands – who is Queen Elizabeth’s fifth cousin – said he and Queen Maxima remembered the “steadfast and wise” monarch with “deep respect and great affection”.

And Belgium’s King Philippe and Queen Mathilde said she was “an extraordinary personality… who, throughout her reign, showed dignity, courage and devotion”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recalled his “memorable meetings” with the monarch during two UK visits.

“I will never forget her warmth and kindness,” he tweeted. “During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture.”

Queen Elizabeth and India's Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace in 2015
Queen Elizabeth II and India’s Narendra Modi at Buckingham Palace in 2015

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz paid tribute to the Queen’s “wonderful humour” and said in a statement that “her commitment to German-British reconciliation after the horrors of World War II will remain unforgotten”.

‘A reassuring presence’

As monarch for seven decades, Queen Elizabeth lived through times of extraordinary change, and this was reflected in several tributes.

As Barack Obama noted – she lived “through periods of prosperity and stagnation – from the moon landing, to the fall of the Berlin Wall”.

Irish President Michael D Higgins honoured the Queen’s “extraordinary sense of duty” which will “hold a unique place in British history”.

“Her reign of 70 years encompassed periods of enormous change, during which she represented a remarkable source of reassurance to the British people,” he said in a lengthy statement.

“This was a reassurance based on a realism of the significance of present events, rather than any narrow conception of history.”

Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin spoke of her reign as one of “historic duration” and described the Queen’s passing as “the end of an era”.

“Her dedication to duty and public service were self-evident and her wisdom and experience truly unique,” Mr Martin said in a statement. He also recalled her “many gracious gestures and warm remarks” during a state visit to Ireland in 2011.

António Guterres, the UN’s secretary-general, said Queen Elizabeth was “a reassuring presence throughout decades of sweeping change, including the decolonization of Africa and Asia and the evolution of the Commonwealth”.

In a statement he paid tribute to “her unwavering, lifelong dedication to serving her people. The world will long remember her devotion and leadership”.

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog also acknowledged the enormous change the Queen saw throughout her reign, but said throughout this she “remained an icon of stable, responsible leadership, and a beacon of morality, humanity and patriotism”.

While the Queen did not visit Israel, Charles, Edward, William and the late Prince Philip – whose mother is buried in Jerusalem – did.

“Queen Elizabeth was a historic figure: she lived history, she made history, and with her passing she leaves a magnificent, inspirational legacy,” President Herzog wrote.

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